Can You Sue for a Car Wreck with No Injuries?
Heart picture being ripped.


If you’ve been in a car wreck, you know first hand just how traumatic the crash can be. Even if you were not physically injured, you may have seen your life flash before your eyes. Or, perhaps you’ve witnessed the death or injury of another person due to the car accident. Though you were fortunate enough not to have the overwhelming burden of medical bills, you may still suffer from psychological conditions after the accident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Because of this many people are wondering, if you were in a car accident, and you were not physically injured, can you sue for emotional distress alone?

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

You do not need to have physical injuries from a car accident in order to file a personal injury claim in Utah. If you were injured in a car accident, you may be able to sue the defendant for negligent infliction of emotional distress.  The requirementsor elementsof many negligent infliction of emotional distress claims depend on whether the plaintiff was a direct victim or a bystander. First, the defendant must have engaged in conduct that they knew, or reasonably should have known, would have caused the emotional distress of others. Also, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff to fear for their physical safety. If the plaintiff is a bystander, they must prove that the defendant engaged in conduct that they knew, or reasonably should have known, would have caused the emotional distress of others. And, the defendant’s conduct caused physical harm to the third party. If the plaintiff is a bystander, they must also prove that they witnessed the third party’s harm, that they were in the zone of danger with the third party, and that the defendant’s conduct caused the plaintiff to become emotionally distressed.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Depending on the circumstances, you may also have a case for intentional infliction of emotional distress. However, such circumstances would be extraordinary. To prove intentional infliction of emotional distress in Utah, you would have to prove the following:

  • The defendant’s conduct was outrageous and intolerable.
  • The defendant intended to cause emotional distress, or recklessly disregarded the possibility of causing emotional distress.
  • The plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress due to the defendant’s conduct.

Here’s the problem with these cases: you have to not only prove intent, you have to prove that the defendant’s conduct was outrageous and intolerable. Whether or not the defendant’s conduct meets the definition of outrageous and intolerable is often decided by a jury. Though intentionally causing a car crash would likely be considered as outrageous by most juries, you’d likely also have to prove that the defendant intended to emotionally distress the plaintiff.

When Should Emotional Distress Be Compensated?

Are uninjured people involved in minor fender benders entitled to compensation for their emotional distress? Are uninjured people who witnessed their children die in severe car accidents entitled to compensation? Where is the line when awarding compensation for emotional distress alone? Well, for the most part, it will depend on what a jury decides is reasonable. Personal injury lawyers often work on contingency, meaning that they don’t get paid if you lose your case. For this reason, most personal injury lawyers don’t take cases if they don’t think that juries will be sympathetic to the plaintiff. Because the laws in Utah for emotional distress claims can be complex, you may need to meet with a Utah car accident lawyer in order to decide on whether or not to move forward with your claim.

Calculating the Value of Your Claim

Normally, a personal injury claim settlement, or judgment, is based on the economic damages along with pain and suffering. However, many people wonder how you can accurately calculate compensation for pain and suffering, or emotional distress. How do you financially compensate someone for witnessing their loved one pass away in a fatal car accident? No amount of money can bring a loved one back, but financial compensation can help someone move forward with their life and recover from a traumatic event. Similar to deciding whether or not a person is entitled to compensation, a jury will likely decide how much compensation a person is entitled to.

Contact the Best Car Accident Lawyer Utah Has

If you have been injured in a crash, you need the best car accident lawyer Utah has. Though you may be offered a check from the defendant’s insurance company, a Utah car accident lawyer can tell you whether or not you’re entitled to additional compensation. If you have questions about your claim, contact Moxie Law Group today for a case evaluation at no cost to you. Our expert legal team can help you decide whether or not you have a claim, and whether or not to take the check from the insurance company. If you have been injured, do not hesitate to get a second opinion; contact Moxie Law Group today.