5 Ways to Prove Emotional Distress

Bruises, cuts, broken bones, and crippling disabilities are all obvious signs left behind after an accident or other traumatic incident. The medical bills and lost wages associated with these types of injuries are tangible, making them easy to prove and put a value on. However, injuries that are not of a physical nature can be very complicated and much more difficult to prove and quantify. Emotional distress is the emotional damage caused as a result of an accident or a traumatic incident.

Years ago, it was extremely difficult for people to seek damages for injuries that fell outside of the scope of physical and emotional harm. Over the years, laws have changed regarding what constitutes a legitimate emotional distress claim, but what you have to prove to collect damages for these claims has remained fairly consistent. With that in mind, we're going to discuss 5 ways to prove your case and win a fair settlement. #1: Duration of Injuries The amount of time you've suffered with your pain can make a huge difference when it comes to proving emotional distress to a court. Recurring pain that stays with you for a long time and affects the way you live your life, and the things you do and don't do, is often the centerpiece of an emotional distress claim. Particularly in cases involving long-term injuries, people tend to experience a loss of enjoyment during activities they used to spend a great deal of time participating in. You shouldn't have to suffer as a result of your injuries and, if you do, you should be compensated accordingly. #2: Intensity of Mental Pain If your emotional distress is particularly intense, your odds of proving that it justifies compensation increase significantly. In cases where someone intentionally inflicted pain upon you, emotional distress can often be proven whether or not any physical injury occurred. However, if your injuries are a result of someone's sheer negligence, most courts will require that some type of physical injury is present. #3: Physical Signs of Emotional Distress Emotional distress can be one of the most difficult things to prove in a personal injury claim, but being difficult doesn't mean that it's impossible. There are often physical signs of emotional injuries, such as headaches, ulcers, and other health conditions related to stress or mental anguish. Assuming that you weren't experiencing these symptoms prior to your accident, it may be easier than you might think to prove your emotional distress. #4: Underlying Cause of Emotional Distress Not all emotional distress claims have the same odds of being successful, as the type of incident you were involved in can be a huge factor. For example, being a victim in a run of the mill car accident is unlikely to support a claim of emotional distress. On the other hand, the victim of a violent attack will likely be able to substantiate the pain and suffering that emotional distress claims are made of. #5: Doctor's Note A note from a medical physician can go a long ways toward proving emotional distress, but the written opinion of a psychologist can be invaluable as well. Medical doctors can provide a professional opinion about your physical injuries, and psychologists can speak to your mental and emotional state. When to Sue for Emotional Distress The success of your emotional distress claim can depend largely on the facts of your case and your state's laws. Most states only allow emotional distress claims to move forward if there is a physical injury that is causing the emotional distress. However, there are a few states that acknowledge emotional distress claims that are based on negligence, even if no physical injury occurred. Emotional distress can be claimed in many types of cases. If you witness the injury or death of a friend or family member, it causes an emotional injury that rivals any physical injury. Sometimes, even being a bystander to an event that causes you to fear for your safety can be the grounds for an emotional distress claim. Certain people are more likely to recover damages due to emotional distress, including children, pregnant women, and the elderly. There are also individuals, known as eggshell plaintiffs who are generally not entitled to make an emotional distress claim. Conclusion Laws concerning emotional distress are complicated and vary depending on where you live. If you believe you may have a legitimate claim, it's never too soon to talk to a personal injury lawyer to see what your options are. There are many ways to prove and win an emotional distress claim, and if you've experienced mental anguish at the hands of someone else's negligence, it's time to take action.

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