Everyone has moments when they are almost injured or worse. The question is if they can sue someone for almost causing bodily injury. Most of the time the answer is no, but there are exceptions.
How Injury and Tort Law Generally Works
Someone must suffer an actual injury in the vast majority of cases. Courts almost always dismiss a case as lacking standing if there is no injury. The reason is they have limited time and don’t want the system clogged up with frivolous lawsuits.
Exceptions When There Is No Bodily Injury in an Accident
Mental anguish is a form of injury in the eyes of most courts. A near-miss accident may cause mental anguish instead of bodily injury. This is when someone suffers anxiety, depression or another form of mental pain.
There are two types of cases:
- Near-miss cases
- Bystander cases
A doctor will need to verify the event has negatively impacted a plaintiff. To win, there will need to be a physical injury. Other states require you or your vehicle to be physically struck. Some examples are weight loss, hair loss or some other condition.
Some cases win based on testimony alone. It is better to have tangible forms of evidence to back up the testimony. Juries and judges must believe things beyond a preponderance of the evidence. This means they should be more than 50% that the claims are true.
This will make the effect of the close-call more tangible. Other things should be collected:
- Camera footage
- Witness testimony
- Police reports
- Cell phone records
These will document that you were there when the near-miss occurred. It will also help if you were a bystander to a sequence of events that injured someone else.
Bystander cases are when seeing someone’s injury causes mental trauma to the witness. Typically these cases involve gruesome or callous scenes.
These are difficult cases to prove. You will still need a doctor to verify the physical impact on your health. If the person you saw get hurt was a family member it will add to your perceived mental anguish. Some states require it to be a family member to sue.
If you depended on this person it will also open up to suing for other damages. This would allow you to sue for the lost income of the injured or deceased.
How Rare Are Near Miss Cases?
A near-miss case is one of the most difficult cases to win. Most lawyers are not willing to take these cases. It will be critical to find an experienced attorney since one slip-up can sink the case.
Other Legal Damages That Can Be Sought
Sometimes it is provable that a driver acted recklessly. They may have been under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This can result in them getting charged for a crime.
Driving too fast or texting and driving is another form of negligent driving. Most states have made these crimes or finable offenses. It will be up to prosecutors to do anything. But, a sense of justice can help someone recover.
What if Someone Witnessed a Crime?
Some people will do something callous to another person right in front of others. This action must be far worse than the typical person is able to handle. Being rude or disrespectful is not enough.
Most of the time it will require some sort of intentional violence. It will also have to be inflicted upon someone close to the witness. Most states have laws against strangers suing for witnessing something gruesome.
Doctors will also have to verify the presence of physical symptoms of mental pain in these cases too. Many times it will have to be long lasting.
Witnessing something disturbing happen to someone else can result in mental trauma. Some people become so anxious they lose hair or gain weight. Physical symptoms from seeing the accident are typically required. Make sure to get as much documentation as possible and seek legal guidance as needed.