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When Can You Sue Someone for Emotional Distress?

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June 29th, 2023
Woman in an embrace crying on friends shoulder

Broken bones and other physical injuries aren’t the only damages you may endure after an accident. You could suffer emotional damage, requiring therapy and continued support to heal.

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress involves psychological trauma and loss that substantially impacts you. Your personal injury attorney must provide compelling evidence that shows the severity of your emotional distress so you can be compensated fairly.

Emotional distress is subjective. It is not as cut and dry as a hospital bill, co-pay, or the cost of prescription medication.

Instead, emotional trauma and distress can impact each person’s life differently depending on not only the type of accident you were involved in but the way you cope with the trauma of what you have been through.

Types of Accidents That Cause Emotional Trauma

Many accidents and incidents can result in emotional trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Examples could include:

When Can You Sue for Emotional Distress?

Anytime your life has been substantially affected by the emotional distress you experience after the accident, you may have the right to sue. Another party must be responsible for causing your accident or resulting injuries for you to have grounds for a claim.

Your lawyer must prove the defendant’s negligence for your claim to be successful. The elements of negligence in a personal injury lawsuit where you are seeking compensation for emotional distress include:

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation
  • Damages

Emotional damages may be available in any accident or incident. For instance, if your injuries are so debilitating, you are unable to enjoy activities and hobbies you previously loved, this may be considered emotional distress.

You might also have the right to compensation when dealing with considerable embarrassment associated with skin scars, mental anguish related to the fear you experienced in the accident, and your inability to maintain your relationships with friends, family, and your spouse or partner.

How Can You Prove Emotional Distress?

Your attorney must introduce compelling evidence that proves the extent of your emotional distress. Some examples of evidence that could support your case include:

  • Entries from your post-accident recovery journal that details your recovery and the mental anguish you have experienced
  • Affidavits and testimony from your friends and family
  • Statements from your physician after being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or PTSD
  • Your own testimony that gives the jury or judge insight into your mental state
  • Copies of your medical records that show your prescription medications, patient pain readings, and prognosis
  • An independent evaluation by a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist

Contact a Lawyer to Recover all Your Losses

You have the right to be compensated if another party is responsible for causing your damages. Get help recovering maximum compensation for your emotional distress and other losses. Contact an experienced Michigan personal injury lawyer at Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC. Please fill out our quick contact form or call us at 313-462-7979 to schedule your free case evaluation as soon as today.