AL Law: Can I Sue Over Nightmares?

Oct 9, 2020 | Allen A. Ritchie

Allen's Answers


If you suffer from nightmares after an accident or other personal injury, you can sue and potentially receive money. Called mental anguish, it can be one of the most difficult areas of Alabama law to collect maximum dollars.

First, proving the severity of mental anguish is difficult. If you are physically hurt, your injuries are usually obvious — some examples include a broken leg, bruises, or an injury requiring an operation. But if you are suffering from anxiety, fear or even nightmares, this is impossible to see directly.

In my experience, proof often requires expert testimony from a doctor … and many times more than one. I have also found that the cumulation of different aspects of an injured person’s life can provide the proof that a jury needs. What would you think if it were shown that a person suffered through multiple surgeries, couldn’t work, and may have lost friends because of his or her long recuperation? The reasonable conclusion would be that the person had also suffered a great deal of mental anguish in addition to the physical pain and misery of recovery.

Now, the most difficult part of this type of case — how much is mental anguish worth?

There is no universal formula, but here are 3 ways that can be considered.

  • An established amount of money no matter the actual severity. So, a broken hand is worth a certain amount for mental anguish.
  • A per diem rate covering the length until maximum medical improvement. So, the number of days times the rate.
  • A multiplier of the actual medical costs. For example, x times the cost of the surgery and therapy.

Some clients are reluctant to discuss the emotional aspects of their injuries, however,  if you can overcome that fear the law has a way for you to be compensated.

If you suffer a personal injury like an auto accident, slip and fall or nursing home abuse, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet. We are working remotely mostly but are always available.

Also, join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We are taking a fall break and will offer 5-minute segments for the rest of the year and a live call-in segment every Monday on NBC 15 at around lunchtime.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer