Georgia Personal Injury Trial Attorneys

Car Accident

Fry | Goehring successfully helps the injured recover the compensation they deserve.

Settlement over twenty times the prior offer
We filed a law-suit, and shortly thereafter we obtained a settlement over twenty times the prior offer.
A driver that was illegally taking opioids
Our Firm helped a gentleman that was hit by a driver that was illegally taking opioids, which affected his driving. This caused serious injuries to our client. We had multiple depositions, worked with a toxicologist and other experts, and were ultimately able to obtain a very large, and confidential settlement, for our very deserving client.
Five times the initial offer
We received a referral case from another attorney. It was a hit and run case with a low offer, which is common for these types of cases. After our firm filed suit, we were able to take the case to mediation and settled for 5 times the initial offer.
Five times the initial offer
Following mediation, the insurance company ended up agreeing to pay 2.5 times the amount of its prior statutory offer of settlement to resolve the case and avoid a jury trial.
Recently settled at mediation for a confidential, but significant amount
We represented a very nice Hispanic lady that was severely injured when a thermos she was carrying blew up causing her eye damage. We spent significant time and resources on this case, and working with another Firm, recently settled at mediation for a confidential, but significant amount. Our client and her family were thrilled that we took the time, and the risk, to assist in this very serious matter.
Settlement over six times the previous offer
We recently represented a man that was bitten by a dog, that was not on a leash and not restrained as required by the applicable laws and ordinances. The initial offer to this gentleman did not even cover his medical bills. Our firm took over his case, and we secured a settlement of over six times the previous offer. We were happy to secure a great settlement for one of many dog bites cases that we handle every year.

Recovering Compensation for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident in Georgia

Suppose you are involved in an Atlanta car accident due to someone else’s negligent or intentional acts. In that case, you may have questions regarding your personal injury case, including: “Can I sue for emotional distress in Georgia?” “How much can I sue for emotional distress in Georgia?” If you experience emotional distress after an accident, you may file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for damages.


But what happens if you suffer emotional distress yet don’t sustain any physical harm during the accident? For example, what happens if a car crash catastrophically injures your child in front of you, leaving you unscathed?


At Fry Goehring, our Atlanta lawyers are well-versed in how Georgia laws apply to emotional distress compensation in car accident cases. We are here to offer you legal guidance on this subject to help you understand whether you qualify for emotional distress compensation.


Understanding Emotional Distress Compensation in Georgia Car Accidents

In personal injury cases, emotional distress, also known as mental anguish, happens when someone’s actions or inactions cause you to suffer mental harm. It may manifest as stress, anxiety, humiliation, and depression that result as a response to a traumatic event, such as a horrific car accident.


Under Georgia law, emotional distress falls under the pain and suffering category. Emotional distress may be divided into two categories: intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.


Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is a tort action where an individual intentionally causes distress of an enduring or substantial quality that no reasonable individual should endure. The person must suspect or know that their actions would result in such distress.


For example, if someone lies to someone else that their dad has been killed in a car crash, this can be considered intentional infliction of emotional distress. Such a horrible lie can be regarded as deliberate and reckless. However, it’s important to note that not all outrageous behavior rises to this level.


Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

This occurs when you suffer emotional or mental harm due to another party’s negligence. Some examples of this type of negligence in a car accident claim include speeding, texting while driving, and drunk driving. To establish a claim based on this tort action, you and your Atlanta car accident lawyer must prove three elements:


  1. The defendant was negligent
  2. The claimant suffered severe emotional distress
  3. The accused’s negligence led to or was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s emotional distress


Mental health professionals’ testimonies and medical documentation are needed to prove these claims.


Eligibility Criteria for Emotional Distress Claims in Georgia

To be eligible for emotional distress compensation in Georgia, you must prove that you suffered a physical injury due to the car accident and “serious and severe” emotional distress. You will need to prove you’ve suffered mental anguish before receiving damages. Some of the factors to consider when evaluating your case include:



The severity of your emotional distress can strengthen your car accident case when filing an emotional distress lawsuit in Georgia. Keep in mind that mental anguish must be severe and beyond what a reasonable individual would experience in a similar position. Courts consider factors such as duration, intensity, and impact on your life when awarding damages. The more severe your mental anguish, the better the chance you have to prove you deserve compensation.


Duration and Progression

Recurring and persistent suffering that lasts, like post-traumatic stress, may also come in handy when proving severe emotional distress. Brief emotional reactions are less likely to meet the severity threshold compared to drawn-out distress, significantly disrupting your day-to-day life.


Evidence of ongoing therapy, changes in your professional or personal life due to emotional distress, and medication use can showcase your condition’s long-term effects. Also, finding the progression and pattern of your mental anguish can be convincing. For instance, the initial shock from the crash resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression over time can shed light on the ongoing harm caused by the defendant’s negligence.


Related Bodily Harm

Related bodily injuries can help to substantiate your claim. Evidence of physical symptoms such as weight loss, insomnia, headaches, and panic attacks can help show how severe your emotional distress is to a judge and jury. This physical evidence can be vital to proving your psychological injury is severe.



You must establish a clear link between your emotional suffering and the defendant’s actions. You must prove that their actions, whether negligent or intentional, directly led to your emotional distress. The more extreme the underlying cause of the psychological injury, the more probable it is that a court will award emotional distress compensation. For example, a court may deem surviving a car crash where you sustained third-degree burn injuries more severe than surviving an accident where you sustained minor cuts.


Accident victims in Georgia should gather evidence to prove the above factors. Having a journal where you record your mental or emotional health progress is a great idea. Such a journal may be used as evidence. Some other pieces of evidence can include:


  • Videos and photos of the accident scene
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Proof of missed time at work due to emotional distress
  • Documentation from therapists and doctors
  • Testimonies from family and friends about your behavior changes
  • Documentation of what you’ve done to deal with your emotional distress, such as enrolling in meditation classes


Proving emotional distress can be difficult, but it is possible. This is because it’s difficult to really establish the intangible suffering that a victim has endured. Insurance companies are usually skeptical about these claims. They will try to dismiss such claims since emotional distress can’t be quantified, the symptoms can also be challenging to verify, and damages are subjective.


To determine whether you are eligible for emotional distress damages after an accident, you need the help of an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney to gather and analyze evidence proving your psychological injury.


Legal Precedents Supporting Emotional Damages Recovery in Georgia

In 2014, John McDade was riding as a passenger on his truck along I-16 with his friend Matthew Wood. They were involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer driven by Jerome Oliver that instantly killed Matthew Wood, while McDade suffered physical and emotional injuries. McDade saw his friend’s lifeless body, which had been crushed during the accident. He went on to file a negligence lawsuit against the truck driver, seeking compensation for emotional distress exhibited through anxiety, insomnia, depression, and flashbacks. The Court of Appeals allowed McDade to file the claim for emotional distress after witnessing his friend’s death under the pecuniary loss rule.


Lee v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

In this case, Bridget Lee sued State Farm Insurance Company for her physical injuries and mental anguish after the death of her young daughter since the insurer attempted to void coverage benefits under her uninsured motorist policy. The plaintiff pursued the claim after a hit-and-run accident led to her injuries. Lee also experienced emotional distress after witnessing her daughter pass away an hour after the accident. The trial court ruled in favor of Lee, awarding compensation for her emotional distress.


The Process of Filing for Emotional Distress Compensation in Georgia

Suppose you are considering filing a car accident claim seeking emotional distress compensation. In that case, you should know that Georgia has a statute of limitations on when a claim must be filed for emotional distress compensation. A statute of limitations is a time limit that restricts plaintiffs from filing claims after a certain period has passed. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for car accident claims is two years from the date of the accident.


It’s critical to seek the help of an experienced car accident lawyer you trust and feel comfortable with to help you file an emotional distress lawsuit. Here are the steps to take when filing a claim for emotional distress compensation in Georgia:


Documenting Your Emotional Distress

If you are suing for emotional distress in Georgia, the first step is documenting your emotional distress, including any physical symptoms. Keep in mind that the physical symptoms of your mental suffering can strengthen your personal injury case.


Suing for Emotional Distress Compensation

Once your car wreck attorney has gathered and analyzed evidence about your case, they will determine whether or not you have an emotional distress case. If you have a valid claim, your attorney will prepare for trial.


Pre-Trial Preparations for a Lawsuit

With the help of a Fry Goehring personal injury attorney, your next step is to file a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Once the case is filed, the negligent driver — or any other liable party(s) — is served, and the trial preparation begins. Discovery — the formal process of exchanging information and evidence before trial — takes place during this stage.


Trial and Settlement of Your Case

Once the court sets a date for trial, your personal injury lawyer will groom you on how to respond to questions in case you are called to the stand. Your attorney will build a compelling case and present evidence, including medical records, to support your claim. They will push to undermine any defenses raised by the negligent driver’s side.


A personal injury trial ends once a verdict is reached, either by a judge or jury.


At any time, however, the defendant and their insurance company may offer a settlement. A settlement circumvents the lengthy and costly personal injury lawsuit process. The defendant and their insurance company representatives may approach you to negotiate a settlement during the pretrial phase, during the trial, or while the jury is deliberating.


How Georgia Law Approaches Emotional Distress in Car Accident Cases

As we have established, it is possible to sue for psychological and emotional distress after an Atlanta car crash. These types of damages are referred to as non-economic damages and are common in many personal injury claims.


Georgia is one of the few states that follows the Impact Rule. This law doesn’t allow plaintiffs to seek emotional distress compensation after a car accident if they did not suffer physical injuries. Under Georgia law, accident victims may not recover emotional distress compensation unless:


  • They sustained a physical impact during the accident
  • The physical impact caused physical injury to them
  • The physical injury led to mental suffering or emotional distress


The Impact Rule presents a problem for many plaintiffs in personal injury cases who may wonder, “Can I sue for emotional distress in Georgia?” Perhaps you were not severely injured in the auto accident, but you were still traumatized nonetheless. Can you still file a lawsuit against the defendant? Yes. As long as you were physically injured and have evidence documenting your mental anguish, you can file a lawsuit seeking emotional distress compensation.


It’s important to note that your physical injuries don’t have to be painful, long-term, or even severe for you to sue for emotional distress damages. It’s not uncommon for accident victims who have sustained minor injuries to experience significant psychological turmoil. Take, for example, a driver who isn’t severely physically hurt but gets to watch his daughter burn while trapped in the vehicle. The psychological effect of such an accident is unfathomable.


However, if you watched your spouse get into a crash that you weren’t involved in, you cannot be eligible for emotional distress compensation. Georgia courts can’t allow you to file for compensation if you weren’t physically hurt in the crash.


Understand Your Options for Emotional Distress Compensation

While cuts and bruises may heal quickly, the psychological impact of a car accident can be far-reaching. If this is the case, contact our attorneys today by calling 404-969-1284 to schedule your free case review with our top-rated Atlanta lawyers.


Our legal team will review your case and help you understand your legal options. Get started now to receive the compensation you deserve for damages, including emotional distress, medical bills, and lost wages.

Our Client Stories

Friendly and Professional
Michael Nelson
Good Law Firm in Helping You No Matter What
Darlene Mack
Extremely Helpful and Quick
Claudia Barret
Previous slide
Next slide

Our Values

What Our Work Means

Free Consultations Available

Contact Our Offices

Whether you have questions or you’re ready to get started, our legal team is ready to help. Complete our form below or call us at (404) 969-1284.