Our law firm deals with some unfortunate laws. While many states allow a plaintiff to recover for mental anguish and emotional distress after an automobile accident, in Texarkana, Arkansas plaintiffs have fewer rights.
Arkansas laws regarding compensation available to victims can be confusing. Our law firm can help accident victims recover damages for their pain and suffering, both physical and mental. We can explain laws that impact your claim and walk you through your legal options.
Causes of Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress
An accident can cause more than just physical harm. The mental anguish associated with a collision can be triggered by any number of events, including:
- Seeing your brand new car totaled
- The stress of taking family medical leave from work to heal
- Going back and forth to doctor visits
- The worry and anxiety of wondering when you will feel like yourself again
In Arkansas, a plaintiff can recover for mental anguish arising out of a bodily injury claim. An Arkansas personal injury attorney can help you address the cause of your trauma and determine if it should be part of your claim.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
You Cannot Claim Mental Anguish from Property Damage
Under Arkansas law, a plaintiff cannot recover damages for mental anguish resulting from property damage. For example, if your 1967 Chevy convertible is hit by a produce delivery truck, you can only collect the fair market value of the car. You can’t collect extra damages for mental anguish, no matter how attached you may feel to your car.
The same rule applies to pets. Although you may consider your pets to be furry family members, they are legally considered to be property.
You Cannot Claim Emotional Distress Caused by Negligence
Arkansas does not allow you to claim damages for emotional distress caused by negligence. This law has been adopted by multiple states and is sometimes referred to as “Lejeune” damages. This situation arises when a plaintiff is not physically injured but witnesses a close relative’s accident.
For example, other states may allow a mother to claim damages if she sees a car injure her baby and suffers extreme emotional distress. In Arkansas, she would not have this legal claim.
When Negligence Causes a Death
Your emotional trauma may be compensated if your loved one died in an accident caused by negligence. Arkansas allows for beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit to recover for their mental anguish incurred upon the death of a relative.
When Emotional Distress Is Inflicted Intentionally
If a plaintiff’s emotional distress was inflicted intentionally rather than negligently or accidentally, the law will allow financial recovery. You may recover for resulting emotional distress if you can prove that the defendant’s behavior was:
- Robbing you of your rights
For example, if a defendant pulls a prank that goes too far, the plaintiff may sue to recover the resulting mental anguish. Even if there is no resulting physical injury, the emotional distress was caused intentionally. The defendant’s action must be extreme and beyond all possible bounds of decency.
When do Plaintiffs Claim Emotional Distress?
Mental anguish and emotional distress are non-economic damages commonly claimed in cases of personal injury, medical malpractice, or defamation. It generally refers to emotional suffering, such as:
The nature of your emotional distress must be so extreme and long-lasting that no person can be expected to tolerate it. You can discuss your situation with a team of Arkansas personal injury lawyers to learn if your case warrants an emotional distress claim.
How Much Compensation do You Get for Emotional Distress?
In Arkansas, mental anguish and emotional distress fall under non-economic damages. The maximum a plaintiff can recover for non-economic damages in Arkansas is $500,000.
How much compensation you receive for your emotional distress will depend on your case and the severity of the distress you suffered. Your personal injury lawyer in Arkansas can total your economic and non-economic damages to calculate the total value of your case. Due to the nature of your case, you may also be awarded punitive damages.
How do You Claim Mental Anguish?
To successfully bring your mental anguish or emotional distress case to court, you must provide proof. As the plaintiff you will have to prove:
- The defendant’s actions were outrageous
- The conduct was reckless or intentional
- You suffered severe emotional distress as a result
Working with a team of Arkansas personal injury attorneys may help you determine what evidence you need to provide in your case.
How Long do You Have to File a Mental Anguish Claim in Arkansas?
Mental anguish and emotional distress are typically part of a lawsuit subject to time limits. Statutes of limitations in Arkansas that may affect your mental anguish claim include:
- Personal injury: Three years to file
- Wrongful death: Three years to file
- Sexual assault: Three years to file
- Medical malpractice: Two years to file
How long you have to claim mental anguish will depend on the lawsuit you are filing. Your personal injury attorney in Arkansas can ensure your case is filed before the applicable deadline passes.
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