Personal Injury: Proving Emotional Distress

Understanding emotional distress in personal injury cases

Emotional distress, though invisible to the naked eye, is as real and debilitating as any physical injury. Victims of accidents or negligent acts often find their lives upended not just by physical pain but by profound psychological turmoil. 

But the complexity of the human psyche makes emotional distress one of the most challenging elements to prove in personal injury trials. Despite its intangibility, however, compensation for emotional distress can be significant, not just recognizing the full scope of the victim's suffering but also serving as a deterrent against negligence.

Proving emotional distress can be challenging

Unlike physical injuries, which you can quantify through medical bills or a clear prognosis, emotional distress encompasses a range of symptoms such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and loss of enjoyment of life. These consequences, while real and deeply felt, require a nuanced approach to prove in court. 

If you suffer emotional distress from an injury

Taking immediate and thoughtful steps is important for your recovery and any potential legal claims if you've been injured. 

1.    Seek professional help

Prioritize your mental health by consulting with a psychologist or psychiatrist. Professional diagnosis and treatment of any emotional distress symptoms can provide you with the care you need and serve as critical evidence should you decide to pursue legal action.

2.    Document everything

From the moment the injury occurs, keep a detailed journal of your experiences. Record how your injuries affect your daily life, including work, social interactions, and your ability to enjoy activities you once loved. This personal account can be powerful evidence in demonstrating the extent of your emotional distress.

3.     Understand your legal rights

Consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in cases involving emotional distress. They can guide you through the legal system and work to ensure that your emotional suffering is acknowledged and compensated appropriately.

4.    Gather evidence

Beyond your personal account, evidence such as witness testimonies, expert statements from mental health professionals, and any relevant medical reports can bolster your case. Documentation from experts can provide a credible picture of your emotional distress for the court.

5.    Practice self-care

While pursuing legal remedies, don't neglect your well-being. Engage in activities that promote mental health, such as exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones. Healing is a priority that runs parallel to legal proceedings.

6.    Be patient and prepared for challenges

Proving emotional distress is a complex process that requires patience and resilience. The defense may argue that your emotional distress is exaggerated or unrelated to the incident. Being prepared for these challenges, with the support of your legal team and documented evidence, is critical to overcoming them.

While the path to proving emotional distress in a personal injury trial can be challenging, it is a journey worth undertaking primarily for the sake healing but also to obtain justice.

personal injury emotional distressBy Brian Weber, Personal Injury Lawyer at Johns, Flaherty & Collins, SC. For a personal injury lawyer in La Crosse and Holmen, call him at 608-526-9320.

Please Share Me On