The Effect of Car Accidents on Relationships & How to Recover Compensation | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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One of the more insidious effects of an injury-causing auto accident is its impact on the personal relationships of those involved.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
August 17, 2023

After a car accident, you’re aware of the painful physical injuries and property damage. However, one of the more insidious effects of an injury-causing auto accident is its negative effect on the personal relationships of those involved.

At KNR, our Ohio injury lawyers have seen how the resulting harm of a collision can impact relationships – be it marriages, friendships, or between family members. We’ve seen relationships break, become strained, and people come together. Still, in that turmoil, many fail to realize that diminished or damaged personal relationships can factor into your settlement.

A Car Accident Can Be a Burden on Relationships

Car accidents can lead to physical injury, pain, lost income, and an overall disruption in life. This can affect the victim’s personality, behavior, or emotional well-being. This upheaval may then strain their relationships. For example, if a drunk driver hurts someone, the victim may experience depression, heightened irritability, or anxiety. Any of these can affect their interactions with other people.

Consider a father who suffers from chronic back pain after a crash. His condition might restrict his ability to participate in activities or perform chores. This could strain his marital relationship, causing emotional distress to the whole family.

A car accident might also strengthen some relationships. Surviving a traumatic event and healing could foster a sense of unity with friends and family rallying around them. But regardless of how much support and care you receive, there is no denying the effect of a life-changing injury.

Possible Compensation for Damaged Relationships

As part of a legal claim for compensation after a car crash, the psychological and emotional toll on the victims and their relationships fall under ‘non-economic damages.’ These losses aren’t as straightforward as medical bills or lost wages, but they are significant and recoverable.

Pain & Suffering/Emotional Distress

When car accident victims experience strain on their personal relationships, they may have a legal argument for compensation. The losses they can recover are usually classified as their “pain and suffering” and “emotional distress.” These non-economic damages are generally seen as personal, but also encompass the detrimental consequences on the victim’s relationships.

  • Pain and Suffering: This includes the physical pain and discomfort suffered by the victim and their associated mental anguish. So, if your physical injuries prevent you from engaging in activities you once enjoyed with friends and family, it will contribute to your overall pain and suffering.
  • Emotional Distress: This covers the negative emotional responses often attached to a car wreck, such as fear, anxiety, and depression. Emotional distress can strain your relationships, especially if it causes you to withdraw from social interactions or behave differently.

Proving that a car accident caused you emotional stress or led to your pain and suffering may seem daunting. However, it is a more manageable task than you might suspect. While these damages are more subjective, they can be effectively demonstrated with medical records, psychiatric evaluations, personal journals, and even testimony.

Loss of Consortium

In Ohio, non-economic damages can also include ‘loss of consortium.’ This refers to the negative effects on the relationship between the injured party and their spouse or partner. Unlike emotional distress and pain and suffering, if a spouse can demonstrate that their marital relationship suffered due to the other spouse’s injury, they may recover damages.

Loss of consortium covers the following:

  • Loss of income if your loved one was the primary breadwinner.
  • Loss of guidance if you are a child whose parent was killed or seriously injured
  • Loss of services your loved one used to perform, such as childcare, cleaning, etc.
  • Loss of sexual relationship
  • Loss of affection

Articulating and proving that these non-economic damages apply often requires the assistance of an experienced lawyer. These damages can be challenging to quantify. A lawyer can better explain your situation and advocate for a fair valuation.

For instance, they can present evidence such as medical records indicating your post-accident struggles, testimonies from psychologists, or even personal anecdotes and photos demonstrating a change in your relationships. They can also bring in experts to substantiate your claims.

Work with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

The damages from a car accident aren’t always visible or straightforward. Yet, the emotional turmoil in your personal relationships is genuine, and you deserve to be fully compensated. Calculating and presenting these damages is hard, but with experience, compassion, and a keen understanding of personal injury law, you can paint a vivid picture of the strain on your relationships after a car crash.

In Ohio, like in many other states, there is a cap on non-economic damages. This means there is a limit to the amount you can recover. However, an experienced lawyer can effectively argue your case to ensure you receive the maximum amount available under the law.

KNR Offers Free Consults & Zero Risk

Ohio car accidents have far-reaching effects beyond just physical injuries and vehicle damage. They can dramatically impact your personal relationships. But you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Having an experienced injury lawyer from KNR on your side can allow you to focus on recovering from your accident and mending your personal relationships. Don’t let the negative impact of a car crash ripple through your life without the proper acknowledgment and compensation.

For a free, no-obligation consultation about what a legal claim can secure, call KNR at 1-800-HURT-NOW.