Can You Sue For Emotional Damages After An Injury? is our today’s topic. After suffering a personal injury, you may experience severe emotional distress. In addition to feeling subjective pain and suffering, you may struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other mental health symptoms.
Is it possible to sue someone for emotional damages as part of a personal injury claim?
Can You Sue For Emotional Damages After An Injury?
Talking To A Lawyer
First, we need to stress the importance of talking to a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been the victim of a personal injury. Nothing in this article constitutes official legal advice. Only a properly credentialed, experienced lawyer can help you understand your case. On top of that, every case is different, so it’s very hard to make broad assessments or recommendations. Your lawyer will help you understand your compensation eligibility – and they’ll help you fight to get what you deserve.
It’s also worth noting that most personal injury lawyers offer an initial consultation for free, and you won’t have to pay for their services unless you win the case or a settlement. Because of these aspects, talking to a lawyer is virtually risk-free.
Emotional Distress: The Basics
Emotional distress is considered a type of damage that fits into the umbrella of “pain and suffering.” It’s not considered to be a form of economic damage, so it can’t be assigned monetary value directly. However, in states where victims can pursue both economic and non-economic damages, it’s possible to sue for damages related to emotional distress.
Types of Emotional Distress
Different people experience emotional distress in different ways, but usually manifests in one or more of the following forms:
- Fear and anxiety. You might feel fear or anxiety, especially in situations that bear similarity to the situation that led to your injury. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you may be reluctant to get into another vehicle.
- Humiliation. Some victims experience emotional distress in the form of humiliation. They don’t like being rendered vulnerable and feel deep emotional tumult as a result.
- Panic. For some victims, emotional distress manifests as full-blown panic. They may have panic attacks in even calm, routine situations.
- Depression. It’s also possible for victims to feel depressed or lethargic following the accident. They may no longer find joy in things they used to love, or may find it difficult to get motivated every day.
Proving Emotional Distress
The tricky part is finding a way to prove your emotional distress. Because emotional distress is hard to quantify, and hard to tie directly to the injury, this can sometimes be difficult for lawyers to establish. However, there are some things that can make it easier to demonstrate your emotional distress.
- Medical records. Your medical records may establish emotional distress in the wake of your personal injury, documenting a decline in your mood or other emotional symptoms.
- Therapy records. Similarly, therapy records could indicate the mental and emotional damage done by the accident.
- An official medical diagnosis. If you’ve received an official medical diagnosis for a mental health issue in the wake of this accident, this can also be valuable evidence.
- Witness accounts. Statements from people close to you, including friends, family members, and even coworkers, can help establish just how much this accident has affected you.
- Expert testimonies. If you lack hard evidence, you may be able to establish emotional distress with the help of expert testimony. Doctors, therapists, and other health professionals can discuss the nature of your symptoms.
- Your personal journal. If you keep a journal, some of your entries may indicate a decline in your mental health.
- Photographs and video evidence. In some cases, photos and video evidence can indicate your levels of emotional distress.
Damages From Emotional Distress
So how much could you conceivably win in damages because of your emotional distress?
That depends on several variables, including:
- The severity of the injury. The more severe your injury is, the more emotional distress you’re likely to suffer, and the more compensation you’ll ultimately be in a position to win.
- The severity of the symptoms. Obviously, the severity of your symptoms also plays a role. Being sad for a day isn’t the same as being depressed for a year.
- The length of recovery. How long did it take you to initially recover from your injuries? The longer your recovery is, the more compensation you’ll likely win.
- The long-term trajectory. What are your long-term prospects like? Are you a couple of weeks away from a full recovery, or will you be dealing with pain and symptoms for years?
Every personal injury case is different. While it’s conceivably possible to win damages for your emotional distress, this is far from a given, and the amount of compensation you receive will depend on several variables. Make sure you hire a seasoned, talented lawyer to maximize your chances of winning the compensation you deserve.