Visitor Question

Drunk Car Crash Causes Flashbacks…

Submitted By: Jill (Wisconsin)

My 7 yr old daughter was in a truck that was involved in a drunk car crash. The other at-fault driver was intoxicated. My daughter was not injured badly but is having flashbacks.

Is my daughter having flashbacks and emotional distress grounds to sue? Are there any other consequences this man will get? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Jill,

Wisconsin laws allow a person to recover compensation for emotional distress, also referred to as “mental anguish” or “pain and suffering”. Doing so is a daunting task. Recovering compensation for emotional distress is difficult enough with accompanying physical injuries. Without accompanying physical injuries, proving emotional distress will take substantial medical and psychological evidence.

The burden of proof in such a case is always on the plaintiff. To begin acquiring evidence take your daughter to your medical doctor. Explain what happened. Your doctor may ask your daughter some questions she believes necessary to prove emotional distress.

If, after speaking with your daughter the doctor believes the collision did indeed inflict emotional distress, she will give you the name of either a psychiatrist or psychologist. Follow through and see what the psychiatrist or psychologists’ diagnosis and prognos for your daughter is.

Your daughter will need strong supporting evidence to rise to the degree necessary for the Court to rule in her favor.

If the intoxicated driver is found guilty by the court or enters into a plea bargain with the prosecutors, the Court will sentence him accordingly.

Call the prosecutor in the case as soon as possible. Tell her about your daughter’s flashbacks and nightmares. Doing so will probably result in the driver’s sentence being more severe.

It’s doubtful the Court will order the driver to pay for your daughter’s emotional distress unless another court has already decided she has indeed suffered emotional distress.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 21, 2011

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