Emotional distress has the potential to be a huge component in a personal injury case. If a person files a lawsuit which proves to be successful, he or she can receive compensation for pain and suffering. How much to be awarded for emotional distress damages depends on the nature of the injury and which jurisdiction a claim was filed. The emotional impacts due to a personal injury can last for a long period of time after the injury event occured. Especially in the circumstances where fear or trauma was associated with the injury, there can be prolonged severe mental anguish. Here we have answered some common questions associated with emotional distress in a personal injury case.
What Exactly are Emotional Distress Damages?
The goal of emotional distress damages is to provide monetary compensation for the psychological impacts that happened as a result of the personal injury. Emotional distress can cover a large range of symptoms, including the following:
- Newly diagnosed psychiatric condition (depression, anxiety, etc.)
- Loss of sleep, insomnia
- Mental anguish & loss of enjoyment for life
- Damages to reputation
- Strained family & friend relationships
What Are the Factors when Evaluating Emotional Distress?
There are some key aspects to consider when assessing if damages for emotional distress are warranted. The factors which contribute to the evaluation include:
- Severity of harassment and/or discrimination
- Duration of harassment and/or discrimination
- Duration & severity of emotional harm
- Whether a professional was sought for help with emotional distress (from counselor, therapist, psychiatrist, etc.)
How Can Emotional Distress Damages Be Proved?
Depending on how much financial compensation the person with emotional damages is asking for, he or she may need more or less proof. If seeking damages of a higher amount, a testimony from a doctor or a therapist can prove useful. Testimonies from family and friends can be helpful too, as they are the ones closest to you. They know who you are, and can explain what they witnessed about your mental health because of the injury, and even if there were personality changes. Ways to show the jury you suffered emotional distress can include:
- The treating therapist, psychiatrist or counselor testifies about the level of emotional distress.
- Have an expert witness go into detail about how the personal injury contributed to the negative emotional impact.
- Present evidence of a newly diagnosed condition due to the personal injury.
- Providing proof that medications were prescribed in order to help deal with mental pain.
Proving emotional distress damages can be complex. The two things someone can do in order to create a foundation for a lawsuit include 1) preserving evidence that represents the emotional harm suffered (through emails, texts, journaling and friends or family statements), and 2) consulting with an attorney who can assist in navigating through legalities. Many law firms offer a free consultation for new clients, which is a no-cost way to help decide if a lawsuit is the right decision. Consult with an experienced attorney such as the such as the personal injury attorney Bristol TN locals turn to.
Thank you to the attorneys at The Law Offices of Mark J. Hurt for providing information on Personal Injury Law.