After a car accident, many of my clients report a "fear of driving" - a fear they're going to get into another accident, especially when circumstances are similar. As a result, they want to be compensated for this as part of their overall claim.
Many clients seem to have some degree of post traumatic stress disorder because they are frightened when it comes to driving an automobile. Every time they approach a similar scenario while driving, their body tightens up, and they fear they're going to get hit again. This is very common when it comes to car accidents. People are afraid to drive through an intersection if they got hit in an intersection. People are afraid to stop at a stop sign for fear they will get rear-ended. This can go on for weeks or sometimes months. Unfortunately, this fear is not really compensable when it comes to accident cases. With respect to the person actually undergoing the stress, it is very real and very disheartening.
The truth is "fear of driving" (while certainly a real side effect of accidents) isn't worth very much when it comes to personal injury cases. Most juries don't award very much for this kind of fear. Unless you have serious psychological damage (i.e., you went to doctors etc), it's just expected as "part of life," so most juries and judges will not award much compensation for this fear of driving. It is a very real fear, and there is no denying its existence after many car accidents. However, when it comes to compensation, don't place too much value on it.
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by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.