Can I Sue for Emotional Distress in a Personal Injury Case

In most cases, an injury victim will have to prove that their psychological suffering was a direct result of the incident. This may involve medical records or fitness trackers that show changes in heart rate and sleep patterns.

Emotional distress can take many forms, from being hesitant about situations relating directly to your accident to experiencing anxiety disorders. A personal injury lawyer can help you collect reliable evidence to support your claim.

  1. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Emotional trauma can cause a host of symptoms that may be difficult to pinpoint. That’s part of what makes these claims so challenging to bring forward, especially when a victim seeks compensation for their distress. Often, victims of emotional distress need psychiatric care and counseling to overcome the trauma they have suffered.

For IIED to occur, a victim must prove that the defendant’s outrageous or reckless conduct caused them severe emotional distress and mental trauma. This is different from negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED), which typically requires that physical injury accompany a plaintiff’s emotional harm.

An experienced car accident attorney in Carrollton GA will have the resources to properly document a person’s emotional distress and related medical issues. This can include medical records, testimony from a qualified healthcare provider about the nature and severity of the symptoms, and other proof. A qualified attorney can also find corroborating witnesses to testify about the extent of the distress and its long-term effects on the victim’s life.

  1. Negligence

When pursuing damages in a negligent infliction of emotional distress case, you must prove that the defendant’s actions directly caused your mental suffering. This is more difficult than in other negligence cases because it requires showing that the alleged incident caused specific symptoms and how they have impacted your life.

To show this, your attorney may use a variety of evidence. For example, presenting copies of any psychiatric treatment bills or an expert witness who can testify to your mental health diagnosis can be very helpful. A daily diary or health tracker may also help demonstrate how your symptoms have impacted your quality of life and your ability to perform everyday activities.

Your attorney may also invoke the Latin phrase res ipsa loquitur, which means “the thing speaks for itself,” to establish that the defendant’s actions were negligent. However, res ipsa loquitur is not available in all states, and there are many other elements that must be proven to win your claim.

  1. Causation

Proving emotional distress can be more difficult than proving physical injuries. You will need a mental health diagnosis to support your claim, along with copies of bills for psychiatric treatment or counseling sessions and other documents demonstrating the impact that the incident has had on your life. It’s also helpful to have a journal or diary of how you have been feeling as proof.

It is important to note that not everyone can make an emotional distress claim because not all incidents cause trauma. This includes bystander cases where you witness an accident without being harmed physically or directly. For example, if you witness a driver hit your parents, you cannot sue for emotional distress because it is not clear that you were personally affected by their behavior.

  1. Damages

When filing a personal injury claim, it is vital to gather and present evidence that supports your claims. In emotional distress cases, this can include photos of your injuries, documentation including invoicing from doctors and medical visits you have had to undergo, and expert witness testimony.

For example, a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, can offer their professional opinion on the nature and severity of your emotional distress. This can include a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as how the incident has impacted your life. The courts can also weigh testimonies from family, friends, and doctors who have seen your behavior since the accident.

The more extensive and prolonged your emotional distress, the higher the damages you may receive. The most important thing is to document everything in detail. This can be done through a journal, electronic health trackers that monitor your heart rate and sleep habits, and other methods.