Is Emotional Distress A Personal Injury?

A personal injury occurs when someone is injured or suffers some other type of personal loss because the negligence of another person, business, government entity, etc. has caused an accident that was not their fault. This could be a car crash, slip and fall at work or on public property, medical malpractice – anything that causes physical harm to you. But what about emotional distress?

Personal injuries are not always physical in nature. Many people often suffer emotional distress following an accident. And while it might seem like these are less severe than physical ones, emotional distress can cause significant pain and suffering for victims over time. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if your psychological trauma qualifies as an ’emotional injury’ that warrants compensation.

What is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress is a personal injury that occurs when you suffer from psychological trauma or mental stress following an accident or traumatizing events. It can range in severity depending on the individual and circumstances surrounding that particular situation. This can often cause the victim to be debilitated and affect their daily lives.

Psychological anguish is a common problem that often affects people in many different ways. It can take many forms, including:

  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Anguish/Bitterness
  • Guilt
  • Sleeplessness
  • Fear
  • Stigma/Shame
  • Humiliation

A person’s recovery can be affected by emotional distress. This can be due to the mental anguish and suffering one has to endure following a personal injury incident. This, in turn, causes physical suffering to the victim. An individual suffering from emotional distress might also experience weight loss/ gain, fatigue, and other symptoms.

While physical injuries heal quickly, it can be difficult for accident victims to come to terms with the emotional impact of personal injuries. Fear of judgment or a lack of awareness could make these individuals unable to access care and support that would help them move on from their trauma.

Emotional distress can be difficult to quantify or in legal terms, noneconomic damage. This means that there is no specific way of quantifying the victim’s suffering and thus compensation amounts are based on how much it has impacted their life.

Pain and Suffering vs Emotional Distress

While seemingly similar, pain and suffering is different from emotional distress. Pain and suffering refers to damages that can be claimed by accident victims for physical pain or discomfort caused as a result of personal injuries sustained in an accident. Emotional distress encompasses actual emotional and mental anguish experienced by someone after experiencing a traumatic event.

While pain and suffering is often considered in most personal injury claims, emotional distress, on the other hand, can be treated as a separate claim on its own. However, due to it being difficult to prove and quantify, emotional distress claims are often challenging to pursue. This is why it is crucial to have the help of a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim.

Emotional Distress Claim

A thorough evaluation is necessary to prove emotional distress. The victim must assess how the accident affected their emotional state. This may include many of those feelings and symptoms mentioned above. Additional evidence such as testimony from witnesses and personal testimony about the severity of an accident are useful. Your lawyer may also ask your friends and family for testimony–especially if they’ve been around you a lot since the accident and have an understanding of how you’ve changed.

Emotional distress claims are only valid if the claimant has experienced physical harm or other tangible harm. This does not include near misses and the like.

Getting Legal Help

Emotional trauma is often a price an accident victim pays. It’s difficult to prove and unfortunately, not everyone understands how debilitating it can be for those who go through it. The emotional distress that results from the traumatic experience can be difficult to prove, but it does exist and deserves compensation for its effects on your life. Our personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Leigh understand your situation and we are here to help. We will help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us at (212) 843-0907 for a free consultation to know more about emotional distress claims.

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