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Can You Sue an Airline for Emotional Distress After an Accident?

An accident or injury on an airline can be terrifying. Even experienced air travel passengers can feel anxious when there is a bumpy takeoff, air turbulence, or a hard landing. If a passenger suffers an injury involving a plane accident, they may be able to recover money to pay for their losses. Not all injuries are physical. Some accidents result in emotional injuries.

Proving emotional distress damages can be more challenging than physical injuries because they may not be visible. However, mental health is just as important as physical health. If you or a loved one suffered an injury involving an airplane, you can take legal action to get money for emotional distress. Contact an aviation accident attorney in your area for legal advice after an airplane crash.

What Is Emotional Distress?

It is common to feel stress, especially after serious events or disasters like airplane accidents. Most stress symptoms are temporary, but when the victim continues to suffer for weeks or months after the event, it may be more serious emotional distress or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Emotional distress can also cause problems in your personal relationships and affect your work.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, signs of emotional distress can include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Low energy
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Feelings of hopeless
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Difficulty readjusting to everyday life

Triggering events can worsen symptoms. Triggering events for victims of an aviation accident can include being in confined spaces, the sounds of airplanes overhead, or even certain smells. If you believe you may be suffering emotional distress after a plane accident, contact a mental health provider for help.

Is the Airline Responsible for Emotional Distress?

If an airline passenger suffered physical injuries after an airplane crash, they can recover damages through a personal injury claim. If there were no physical injuries, the injury victim may have to file a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. If you have questions about how to hold the airline responsible in an emotional distress claim, talk to an aviation personal injury attorney.

To hold the airline accountable for causing mental anguish or emotional distress, the injury victim may have to show that the airline was negligent in causing their injuries. Negligence is a breach of the duty of care by the airline or an airline employee.

Commercial airlines are known as “common carriers.” Airline common carriers are held to a high safety standard by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If a pilot, member of the flight crew, or the aircraft company failed to follow aviation law regulations and it caused an injury to the passenger, the airline may be liable for damages.

Proving emotional distress can depend on state law. For example, under California jury instructions, “emotional distress includes suffering, anguish, fright, horror, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, shock, humiliation, and shame. Serious emotional distress exists if an ordinary, reasonable person would be unable to cope with it.”

What Other Damages Are Available After a Plane Accident?

If the airline is found liable for causing your physical and emotional injuries, they should compensate you for your losses. Compensation covers economic and other types of damages caused by the catastrophic injury. Types of damages available after a plane accident can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Property damage

In fatal airline accident cases, the surviving family members may be able to get damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death claim can help the family recover damages for loss of support, funeral expenses, burial costs, and other losses.

How Does an Aviation Accident Lawyer Help Recover Emotional Distress Compensation?

Personal injury cases can be complicated. The airlines and their insurance companies won’t want to pay for your injuries, even if you can prove you suffered emotional distress. An experienced aviation attorney understands how to deal with major airline companies so that they will take your case seriously.

Find an aviation personal injury lawyer who can file your case in court, get the evidence to prove your damages, and negotiate with the airlines to get compensation for your mental and physical injuries.

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