DWI Personal Injury Lawyer FAQ: What should I know about mental anguish in a DWI personal injury case?
DWI personal injury cases tend to be rife with complexities. That is not to say they should not be pursued, but rather that you should only retain an experienced DWI personal injury lawyer to guide you through the legal process.
If you do have a case, a good DWI personal injury lawyer will likely seek compensatory damages for your medical care, lost wages, pain, suffering, emotional and mental anguish and more.
Understanding Mental Anguish in a DWI Personal Injury Case
Mental anguish is often difficult to prove, even though it tends to be prevalent in a majority of these cases. In fact, proving that mental anguish is an element in a case can help to remind the jury that the driver was intoxicated and even sway a jury in awarding more damages to the victim.
Mental anguish might not always be physically viewable, but it is certainly real. Many victims who were injured by an intoxicated driver become very upset after learning about the cause of the accident. It is not uncommon for victims to become paranoid about driving and even believe that any car swerving or following to close behind, for example, is driving intoxicated.
Some victims will relive their accidents every day for the rest of their life. They may have fears about being around intoxicated people or become anxious when seeing another person drink. Advertisements or images in the media might contribute to flashbacks. These symptoms, and others, usually are attributed to distress, anxiety, and PTSD. Years of therapy may be required just so the victim can function.
These are only some of the mental effects that can result from a DWI accident, and they represent examples of mental anguish damages that may be available under the state’s law.
That being said, if the case goes to trial, the defense may try, tooth and nail, to exclude the fact of intoxication from the trial altogether. This is done because if a jury understands that the defense was intoxicated, they will be more likely to side with the plaintiff and award him or her more damages. A good DWI personal injury lawyer should work hard to be able to present the intoxication evidence. This may be done as long as the victim has expressed their anxiety, fears, concerns, worries, and so forth to their doctor, family, friends, and therapist.
Anything that can be shown to the judge and jury to demonstrate how the accident has given rise to mental anguish, and how the mental anguish has affected your life, will be important. This means you should not hide your thoughts and feelings from anyone, especially a medical doctor.
Signs of Mental Anguish after a DWI Accident
If you’re experiencing any of the following, you might be mentally distressed:
- You are afraid to drive
- You are scared that other drivers on the road are intoxicated
- Advertisements, TV shows, and movies remind you of the accident
- You feel very upset that intoxication was the cause of your injuries
- You get anxious or upset when you see other people drink or use drugs
- You are overly concerned or worried about children, family members, and friends
- You have nightmares about the accident
If any of the above apply to you, please consider speaking to a psychologist, counselor, or social worker. You should also consult a DUI lawyer in Bloomington, IL for more advice and to find out your legal options.
Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into personal injury claims and DWI accident injuries.