Can You Sue for Emotional Distress After an Aviation Mishap?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Michael E. Trauscht with The Law Office Of Michael Trauscht.
Any kind of mishap that occurs in an airplane, helicopter, or other aircraft may have catastrophic consequences, and the resulting stress can be damaging on a long-term basis. Whenever one or more parties experiences severe and emotional distress as the result of an avoidable aviation mishap, they may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party. Severe emotional distress such as that which typically occurs in an airplane crash or emergency landing may result in symptoms that do not go away with time; in some cases, these stress symptoms may be so debilitating that they interfere with the quality of the passenger(s) everyday life.
Situations in which someone fears for their life may result in the following symptoms:
- Symptoms of shock
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Intrusive thoughts/visual images of the event
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The above symptoms are some but not all of the physical and psychological symptoms which are known to occur for some people after experiencing a life-threatening event. Catastrophic motor vehicle accidents and unexpected aviation events are two common types of traumatic events which could result in some or all of the above. These symptoms can range from practically inconvenient to wholly debilitating, and they may leave the victim in extreme emotional distress, which is known to negatively impact physical health.
Whenever someone suffers due to the potential negligence of another party, it may be possible to sue for damages.
Emotional distress lawsuits in the event of an aviation mishap may be possible; these lawsuits are extremely particular and can be hard to litigate, so it’s important to find an attorney with experience handling aviation accident cases. Whenever a pilot or airline is negligent in their maintenance or operation of an aircraft, putting the occupants in fear for their lives, the resulting distress may call for a lawsuit to compensate damages including mental health services, therapy costs, ongoing emotional distress, and more. However, proving these damages can be tricky. This is why it’s important to find an attorney who is familiar with these cases.
Keep track of your symptoms.
If you or a loved one experienced severe emotional distress during an aviation mishap and are continuing to experience symptoms of trauma, it’s important to document them. Unlike physical injuries, proving an emotional injury may require testimonies from friends and loved ones, mental health professionals, and even medical records if the distress manifests in physical symptoms. If the stress prevented someone from returning to work or made them unable to work in the same capacity as before, these lost wages also need to be recorded and documented.
Aircraft operators and maintenance providers are required to meet much stricter safety regulations than other industries due to the significantly higher potential for death and catastrophic injury when negligence occurs. If you suspect an aviation mishap occurred as the result of negligence from the pilot, airline, or operating party, it’s a good idea to look into your options for recovery. Emotional injuries can last just as long if not longer than physical ones, and they should be taken seriously.
To learn more about your options after an aviation mishap or for help filing an emotional distress claim, reach out to an aviation injury attorney in your state.