Firm Logo

Suing for Emotional Distress: Can You Do It? How Much Compensation Can You Expect?

By: Anapol Weiss

Suing for emotional distress can be complicated. While a physical injury, such as a broken bone, is easily demonstrated through x-rays, a mental trauma offers little to no outward evidence and creates very different symptoms and consequences from one person to the next, much like physical pain and suffering.

That doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to compensation for emotional distress. On the contrary, you have suffered a very real injury, and with help from a Philadelphia personal injury attorney, you can get an emotional distress settlement that helps you put your life back together.

What is Emotional Distress?

When you’re the victim of an injury, you may suffer from lingering psychological damage long after you’ve recovered from any physical injuries. Psychological damage can have a dramatic effect on your life, limiting your activities and the enjoyment you get from them. Much as with any other injury, recuperating can take weeks or months of treatment, including doctor’s visits, therapy, medication, and a lot of work on your own before you are recuperated enough to resume your normal, day-to-day life that you enjoyed pre-injury.

When you’re suing for emotional distress, you’re suing for the financial damages related to the pain and suffering from the emotional distress. This can include both easily proven expenses, like medical bills and lost wages, as well as harder to quantify damages, such as embarrassment and loss of joy. With a psychological injury, it’s important to work with a lawyer who can help you build and collect the evidence to demonstrate the true extent of these damages in court.

Symptoms Of Emotional Distress

Emotional distress can present in different ways from person to person and injury to injury. This is part of what makes suing for emotional distress so challenging. There is no set pattern. However, there are some symptoms that are commonly seen alone or in combination with each other when someone is suffering from emotional distress.

Anxiety, Fear, or Nervousness

From being hesitant about situations relating directly to your injury, such as driving after being the victim of a car accident, to a general feeling of unease, anxious thoughts can keep you from enjoying a normal lifestyle.

Anger, Frustration, or Bitterness

Lashing out at the world around you or the people in it can be a sign of distress. These symptoms can ruin relationships both personally and professionally.

Guilt, Shame, or Humiliation

Even if you were injured through no fault of your own, it’s not uncommon to feel like you should have been able to do something to avoid it. Others may feel embarrassed about being hurt physically or psychologically and the amount of time it takes to recover.

Depression, Insomnia, or Lethargy

When you feel helpless or have your comfortable life taken away by an injury, you can end up feeling low, missing sleep, or even find yourself struggling to find the energy to get out of bed.

When Can I Sue For Emotional Distress?

Suing for emotional distress is far easier if it’s accompanied by a physical injury. Generally, you must prove three things to earn compensation for emotional distress:

  • You Have Been Harmed – An injury needs to have occurred for you to be compensated for the damages resulting from it.

  • The Other Party Is At Fault – The defendant needs to have committed an act that they knew or should have known could result in an injury.

  • The Other Party’s Liable Action Led Directly To Your Injury – Without the defendant’s action, you would not have been harmed.

The Emotional Distress Claims Process

Suing for emotional distress is similar to suing for other types of pain and suffering. It all starts with getting the professional legal help you need.

  • Consult A Personal Injury Attorney – Having a lawyer in your corner who has fought and won personal injury cases is one of the most important steps toward getting the emotional distress lawsuit settlement you have a right to. Your lawyer will help you file the necessary paperwork, negotiate on your behalf with the other party or their representative, and represent you in court if your case goes to trial.

  • Focus On Your Treatment – It’s important that you work to address your symptoms even while suing for emotional distress. This not only shows a good-faith effort to improve but helps create additional documentation of the psychological injury you’re suffering.

  • Keep Copies Of Documentation – Your medical records, bills, and session notes serve as the unbiased view of an impartial expert for your condition as well as providing documentation of the financial damages treatment has caused.

  • Create Documentation From Your Point Of View – Personal records, such as journals, photos, and home videos can give a glimpse into your frame of mind as you handle emotional distress while also demonstrating, in conjunction with pre-injury resources, the change in your lifestyle.

Your lawyer will start by issuing a demand letter and filing a claim with the defendant or their representative. Your case will be filed in court within the statute of limitations to make sure your rights are protected.

During the process, you may receive settlement offers, requests to visit doctors affiliated with the defendant, or other communications. Your attorney will work with you to understand each one, how it may affect your case, and how it stacks up against your case’s likely outcome. In the end, if your case goes to trial, your lawyer will help present your evidence and fight to get you the compensation you need for the financial and psychological hardships you’ve endured.

You can find out more about your legal options without any cost to you. Contact Anapol Weiss to schedule a free consultation with one of our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys. They’ll talk to you about your case and how you can get compensated for the emotional distress you’ve endured. Suing for emotional distress recoup the money you’ve spent on medical bills, missed out on through lost wages, or need to continue your treatment. Don’t let your emotional distress define you. Call today.