a woman displaying emotional distressImagine you’ve been injured in an accident and you hired a personal injury attorney to represent you. In addition to physical injuries, many people suffer emotional distress as a result of an accident. However, unlike physical injuries, where broken bones and x-rays are concrete proof of injury, emotional distress can be difficult to prove. To vet emotional distress, you must first prove the following[1]:

Duration of Emotional Distress

The amount of time you have suffered from emotional distress is important in proving your claim. You cannot make a claim for emotional distress if your suffering is only contemporaneous with the accident. Fear or nervousness at the time of an accident or immediately after is one thing, but if you are experiencing symptoms for a period of time long after the accident, this could be considered emotional distress. For example, if you are having trouble sleeping as a result of nightmares, or struggling with driving again because you are afraid to get behind the wheel, these are clearly symptoms that have continued as a result of the accident.

Severity of Symptoms

In addition to the length of time you have suffered from emotional distress, the severity of your symptoms is just as important. If your emotional distress is manifesting itself through physical symptoms, this can be an important factor in proving your claim. Physical symptoms of emotional distress can include chronic back pain, tension headaches, neck pain, gastrointestinal problems (including pain and diarrhea) or palpitations.[2]

Severity of Accident

The severity of the accident is another factor that is taken into consideration. Severe accidents are more likely to cause emotional distress than a fender bender. A court will look at the specific accident you experienced, and the likelihood that it caused a reasonable person emotional distress.

Who is at Fault?

Whether the symptoms are a result of the accident or not also factor in. Are your symptoms actually the fault of the adverse party? This is something that must be determined if you are trying to get a recovery for emotional distress. Mental anguish that is a result of something other than the accident you are trying to recover from will not be considered when calculating a recovery. The distress and the accident must be certifiably linked.

Health Care Professional Testimonies

One of the most important ways to prove emotional distress is through the testimony or evidence from a doctor or health care professional. Testimonies and records from a doctor that show you are suffering from emotional distress can go a long way in proving your claim. Not only that, but showing that you received treatment because of this distress is also strong evidence for your case.
Besides physical injuries that you may be suffering from as a result of an accident, your mental health can be affected too. Although it is more difficult to prove emotional distress, it is possible to recover! If you or a loved one is experiencing emotional distress due to a car accident, contact the offices of Morris Bart – we’re here for you 24/7. Chat with us today!

[1] Emotional Distress, FindLaw.com

[2] Warning Signs of Emotional Stress: When to See Your Doctor, Cleveland Clinic

September 21, 2017 | Categories: Legal Tips |