When most people think about the damages they can recover through a personal injury lawsuit, they usually think of compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Most people do not even consider mental, emotional and physical distress.
If you’re a victim of the negligent or intentional actions of someone else that caused you emotional distress, you may be able to recover for your damages. The extent of your recovery for emotional distress is usually limited by the amount of damage you suffer as well as the severity of the distress that was inflicted upon you.
While it may be easy to prove that a victim of a car accident suffered physical injuries, proving mental and emotional distress is a bit more difficult. If you are suffering from emotional distress due to the injuries you’ve sustained in a motorcycle accident or another similar event, you could feel fear, dismay, anxiety, isolation, sorrow, depression, loss of self-confidence due to your injuries and/or humiliation due to the trauma you’ve been through.
Types of Emotional Distress Lawsuits
There are two types of emotional distress lawsuits: Those involving the negligent infliction of emotional distress and those involving the intentional infliction of emotional distress. If you are claiming that someone negligently inflicted emotional distress on you, it is necessary that yo show evidence that the person was negligently acting (or not acting) in a manner that caused you to endure emotional pain. In order to succeed with your lawsuit, the emotional distress must result from a physical injury or your emotional pain must be so extreme that it has caused you to have actual physical symptoms.
If you are claiming that someone intentionally inflicted emotional distress on you, it is necessary that you show evidence that the person’s conduct was intentional or reckless. You also must show that the person’s conduct was intolerable and outrageous. To succeed in winning your case, you must prove that your emotional pain or distress was/is extreme.
Even though it is most often challenging to prove mental and emotional distress claims, it is possible to prove your claim. You stand a better chance of succeeding if you can successfully demonstrate to a court that your emotional distress is debilitating, intense, long-term and related to the physical injuries you’ve suffered due to the negligent or intentional actions imposed by someone else.
Documentation from a physician or mental healthcare provider is vital to supporting your claim. You have a greater chance of gaining the compensation you deserve if you experience intense mental anguish and have been suffering from it for a long period of time.
Without a doubt, proving a mental distress claim can be difficult. However, a personal injury attorney who has experience in handling such cases can help you recover compensation for the mental and emotional distress you suffer from.
If you’ve been injured due to a negligent or intentional action of someone else and you’ve suffered some form of physical distress because of it, you could claim compensation. For instance, you may have a disability because of the accident such as a limp that affects your mobility, a lost finger or limb or perhaps a bodily disfigurement such as a severe scar. Your personal injury attorney will help you gain the compensation you need to cover any costs associated with the medical treatment or cosmetic surgery you may require.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a serious condition that can develop after someone has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event in which serious physical harm occurred. A PTSD sufferer may have reactions such as shock, anger, nervousness, fear, helplessness and guilt over the severe injuries they sustained in an accident that was caused by someone else. For instance, a car accident victim who lost a limb can develop PTSD due to the physical, emotional and mental trauma he or she experienced as a result of the accident.
In order to succeed with a PTSD claim for compensation, you must prove that the reckless or negligent behavior of someone else caused you to develop PTSD. In order to prove you do suffer from this debilitating condition, your personal injury attorney will call on an expert witness such as a psychiatrist to testify. This expert will attempt to convince the court that you do indeed have PTSD that was caused by a specific traumatic event such as a vehicular accident. In most PTSD claims, psychological treatment costs are recoverable.
Mental and Emotional Distress Caused by Workplace Accidents
Many victims of serious workplace accidents suffer from severe physical injuries and serious mental distress. Many very serious work accidents occur at construction sites and are the result of the employers’ negligence in providing a safe work environment. Accidents at work also can be the result of mechanical flaws, falling debris and the distribution and use of improper safety gear.
If you have suffered severe injuries as a result of a workplace accident, you should speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are rightfully compensated for your medical expenses and the emotional trauma you’ve gone through. Whether you fell from defective scaffolding or lost a finger in a piece of malfunctioning equipment wherein you’re fearful of returning to work, an experienced workplace accident lawyer can help you recover compensation for both your physical injuries and the emotional pain and suffering you have endured.
Wrongful Death and Emotional Distress
Losing a loved one is always difficult but it can be more devastating when your loved one dies as the result of the negligent or intentional actions of someone else. Wrongful death claims may be brought by surviving family members who are seeking compensation for unpaid medical expenses, loss of consortium, loss of future earnings, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship, loss of services and funeral and burial costs.
Generally, courts do not award plaintiffs of wrongful death cases any damages for emotional distress caused by the death. However, in some cases such as when an immediate family member witnessed a negligent action and consequent death, that family member’s resulting emotional distress may be recoverable.