Lawrenceville, VA asked in Personal Injury and Car Accidents for Virginia

Q: My teenage son was in a wreck where one friend died. Should he get a lawyer?

He was,the only one wearing his seat belt and performed CPR on the one boy. He returned to school to keep his mind off of the accident and his friend, however, this was very traumatic and he was in shock for a month. Would he be eligible for any type of compensation? He was not driving and speed was the determining factor in the accident. There was no alcohol or drugs involved

3 Lawyer Answers
Jan F Hoen
Jan F Hoen
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Hampton, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: If he suffered a physical injury, he would have a claim for compensation.

Absent an injury, there is probably not a legally cognizable claim.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Wyomissing, PA

A: First, he should take care of himself. There's a new form of PTS treatment called EMDR he would find useful--google : Psychology Today, EMDR therapist, _____________ ________ (your city state or nearest large town).

Second he may well have a claim depending on the circumstances. Most states limit "bystander distress" to relatives, but why not contact a member of the Va.Trial Lawyers Assn in the county where it happened? They give free consults.

Finally, congratulations to him on having the presence of mind to administer CPR. And wear his seatbelt.

All the best.

Jay Braddock Jackson
Jay Braddock Jackson
Answered
  • Personal Injury Lawyer
  • Fredericksburg, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: I agree with Mr. Munsing's response. In order to maintain a claim for emotional distress in Virginia, your son must have suffered some physical injury as well. If he did not, the claim is likely not going to be recognized in the Commonwealth. Virginia is a bit hesitant to embrace new causes of action (even though many other states already recognize both intentional and negligent emotional distress as their own causes of action). As an interesting note, this issue was addressed in the Legislature this year (2018) in a bill introduced by Senator Creigh Deeds proposing the establishment of a cause of action for both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. See Va. Senate Bill 694. The bill did not pass this year. I recommend that you discuss the details of your case with me or any other Virginia personal injury attorney so that all of the important facts can be analyzed, just to be sure.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.