My daughter, who is 16, was in a gas station when a vehicle drove into the store. She was not physically injured but she was only inches away from being hit and is badly shaken up. The driver backed out of the store, got out to remove the debris from his car and attempted to drive away. Witnesses say he appeared drunk or on drugs. This happened today so I don't know for sure. I'm worried she will suffer from post traumatic stress. Do we have a chance for suing for mental anguish?
2 Answers from Attorneys
A personal injury case requires that a personal injury occur. If there are any injuries, mental or physical, a competent independent doctor has to first examine and then render a diagnosis and a treatment plan along with the costs that will be incurred.
I hope this helps.
I am sorry to hear this happened to your daughter. It certainly would be a frightening experience that, sadly, could have consequences. Let's hope and pray that she handles it well and that there is not any need for further discussion of the legal issues. That said, it is far too early to say whether she would have a claim.
Most important, if she experiences any concerns, seek treatment immediately (or seek some precautionary treatment regardless how she seems to be doing, even if that means you will incur some expenses of your own). A gap between the incident and treatment will impact her claim even if it is valid.
It sounds like she did not have any physical injuries. If she did, even minor, document them (photos, notes, seek treatment if appropriate).
While the gas station is probably already boarded and cleaned, get photos from various perspectives, inside and outside, (particularly where she was standing in relation to the vehicle entering). Get copies of any reports, photos taken by the authorities. Confirm the availability of insurance (the business's and the driver's).
If it appears that a claim should be made, having counsel on board right away will be important. A claim for emotional distress is not one that can be navigated with representation and anything said without representation may turn out to be damaging. Keep further information offline and for attorney discussion.