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We are a San Diego personal injury law firm with a strong business dispute litigation department. We specialize in personal injury, wrongful death, eminent domain, condemnation, construction defects, medical malpractice and other ar…

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Personal Injury Blog Post

The Ripple Effects of Suffering

An experienced personal injury attorney here in San Diego can help if you are suffering emotional distress after seeing a loved one injured or killed due to someone’s negligence. For example, a father watches proudly from his yard as his daughter begins walking to school. She is suddenly struck and killed by a speeding car. Unfortunately, witnessing these types of events is traumatic.

Have you been traumatized by witnessing an accident?

Often, the suffering in a personal injury case is not limited to the person who was injured or killed. For a bystander close to the victim, there may be unbearable mental anguish that accompanies the accident. California courts recognize that seeing a loved one injured or killed can have lasting and traumatizing effects. This may entitle such a bystander to compensation.

As a bystander, you may be able to gain compensation to help you pay for treatment to overcome the emotional distress you have suffered after the event as well as your pain and suffering. In Dillon v. Legg, the California Supreme Court set out the factors to take into account when considering bystander compensation. These were affirmed and refined in Thing v. La Chusa. Generally speaking, the three factors include whether you:

  • Were located near the scene of the accident
  • Actually observed the accident and were aware it was causing injury to the victim
  • Were emotionally close to the victim

The court’s approach in Dillon and similar cases has since been adopted by many jurisdictions. However, speaking with an experienced Southern California personal injury attorney is the best way to understand your options if you have witnessed a traumatizing accident involving someone close to you.

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Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire
2550 Fifth Avenue, 11th Floor
San Diego, California, 92103-6612 USA