Is Emotional Distress Considered a Personal Injury?

October 7, 2022

Is Emotional Distress Considered a Personal Injury? Post Image

Personal injury claims can often go beyond property damage and physical injuries. Another type of damage that might be considered in your claim is emotional distress.

Is emotional distress considered a personal injury? In short, yes. However, it becomes a little more complicated when you try and sue for this type of injury. When you are involved in an accident you can suffer from mental anguish caused by the change in your life from the physical injuries. Mental suffering is very common from the stress of an accident and can be considered a personal injury in some circumstances.

What is Emotional Distress?

Emotional Anguish or Distress is often distinguished as a non physical damage incurred from your accident or injury. Mental suffering is subjective and can vary from person to person. It is an experience that arises from the effect or memory of a particular event, occurrence, pattern of events or condition. Emotional distress is usually recognized from its symptoms (ex. Anxiety, depression, loss of ability to perform tasks, or physical illness). 

When Is Emotional Distress Considered a Personal Injury? 

With Physical Injury

Distress compensation often accompanies the legal damages that a victim will claim from physical injury. This claim is due to the stress and anguish caused by injury.

Without Physical Injury

Emotional damage alone is typically difficult to claim without a related physical injury. The law does provide for such damages under certain circumstances, such as an injury to a close relative.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

While an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim is not as common as a claim for emotional damages, it can be filed as a separate claim during a personal injury lawsuit. This claim will require proof that the defendant intended to cause emotional harm or was negligent to a certain degree.

How Can You Prove Emotional Distress in Court?

Mental suffering compensation is very subjective and will vary from victim to victim. It is hard to prove mental suffering in court because it can not be seen by the courts. Despite it being difficult there are some ways to prove distress in courts, they are as follows:

  • an evaluation from a mental health professional,
  • testimony from loved ones,
  • first-hand accounts from the victim (such as from a journal, diary, and other ways to record your life and feelings).

The amount of money you claim for such distress will vary depending on your case and the circumstances surrounding it. This is why it is extremely important to communicate to your doctor, lawyer and loved ones about your mental and emotional distress symptoms. In addition to being communicative you will want to keep detailed records for evidence in court.

How Much Compensation Can You Receive for Emotional Distress? 

As mentioned before, the monetary compensation for mental suffering varies greatly from victim to victim. Some factors that can affect your monetary outcome are: 

In cases where the action by a wrongdoer is intentional or with reckless disregard, you may have a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). Under California’s statute of limitations, you have two years after the incident to file this type of personal injury lawsuit in court.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) claims in California

In the State of California in order to receive compensation for an IIED claim you will need to be able to prove several things.

  • The party responsible for your distress had outrageous conduct.
  • The acts committed by the responsible party was either reckless or was intentional in order to cause emotional distress for the victim.
  • The misconduct by the at-fault party led you to suffer severe emotional distress.

When defining “severe emotional distress,” California law will refer to long term harm and how substantial the trauma was. Minor or harm that was limited in duration will not be sufficient for IIED claims. In order to establish a claim you will need to prove that you have experience feelings as described above (anxiety, depression, shock, anguish, etc).

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer For Emotional Damage Claims

Emotional distress can be overwhelming and can be all consuming in your life. If you have recently been a victim of a personal injury and have emotional and mental suffering don’t hesitate to reach out to B|B Law Group.

At B|B Law Group, our goal is simple: preserve and protect the legal rights of the people of Southern California. Our award winning team of attorneys are experienced in the fields of personal injuryemployment and habitability law, and it is our mission to provide our clients with the best legal representation.

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