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Is Emotional Distress Enough to File a Personal Injury Claim?

stressed man

Whether you were harmed in an accident, or witnessed such an event, you are going to be emotionally affected. Emotional distress can be a valid enough reason to file a personal injury claim, however; how do you prove emotional damage? As emotional distress claims can be subjective, it is important to secure the legal counsel of an experienced lawyer before attempting to sue someone for emotional damages.

Emotional distress is what is called a noneconomic damage and varies according to the circumstances of the case. However, if you did experience emotional distress after a car accident or other traumatic event (in some cases witnessing something traumatic is reason enough for a claim), you may be able to recover compensation. Today, we discuss whether emotional distress itself is a valid reason to file a personal injury claim.

What Is Emotional Distress?

Pain and suffering and emotional distress are the most common noneconomic damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. If you are a survivor of a personal injury accident in California and you suffered emotional anguish, you deserve appropriate compensation.

Emotional distress refers to the emotional response you had because of the accident. It is typically due to severe injuries and causes mental anguish, which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mental torment
  • Humiliation/embarrassment
  • Insomnia
  • Distress over an injury/disability
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Diminished quality of life

Emotional distress also encompasses more than pain and suffering. Emotional distress could be a result of intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

Proving Your Emotional Distress Claim

To have a valid emotional distress claim, you must show proof that the defendant’s conduct directly caused the distress and that the emotional distress was not fleeting and medically significant. These emotional damages must be backed up with evidence. It is also important to show the extent of the emotional distress you endured. Here is a list to refer to when considering the impact emotional distress may have had on your life:

  • Intensity and duration of pain
  • Bodily harm
  • Underlying cause of pain
  • Psychological symptoms

The first step to proving an emotional distress claim is to gather all your evidence, including witness testimonies, medical documents, photographs, doctor’s notes, prescription notes, and other relevant information. It may be helpful to ask your doctor and/or psychologist for a letter that includes detailed notes about your condition(s). Then, draft a demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company. As personal injury claims require a detailed understanding of the law, it is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney before pursuing a personal injury claim.

Intentional & Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

An emotional distress personal injury claim can be based on intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress. An intentional infliction of emotional distress claim is a result of reckless or dangerous behavior where the individual responsible for the harm is almost certain to cause emotional distress.

A claim based on negligent infliction of emotional distress happens when an individual did not intentionally mean to cause harm, but their actions resulted in harm regardless.

Do You Have a Valid Emotional Distress Claim? Contact Our Firm.

If you have suffered emotionally after an accident, do not discount your pain and suffering. You can file a personal injury claim due to emotional distress, and, with the help of the right attorney, potentially collect a large settlement. With over three decades of experience and millions of dollars won, our experienced attorneys at Eliot Reiner, APLC can help you maximize your settlement.

Secure an appointment online with a highly qualified attorney at our firm or call our office at (916) 778-3228 to get started on your emotional distress claim.

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