A person who has been hurt due to another’s negligence or wrongful action has a right to “pain and suffering” damages. In Alabama, “pain and suffering” refers to reimbursable damages for physical harm or mental agony caused by a personal injury. Emotional suffering is a form of mental distress. In Alabama, an injured party may recover damages for dread, nervousness, sadness, stress, anxiety, shock, mortification, shock, contempt, indignity, embarrassment, panic, or trauma.
Understanding Emotional Distress Claims
When involved in a personal injury accident, you may suffer physical injuries and psychological harm such as emotional distress. Mental suffering is just as compensable as physical damage, but it’s more challenging to prove. Your non-physical injury isn’t visible externally, and putting a price on therapy is difficult.
Several specific elements must be demonstrated in emotional distress lawsuits before monetary damages can be recovered. Since emotional distress lawsuits can be hard to ascertain, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced personal injury attorney to strategize the best possible results for your claim.
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How Alabama Deals with Emotional Distress Claims
Generally, courts have not sought to distinguish between the individual concepts of “pain” and “suffering .”The phrase “pain and suffering” has long been used as a convenient term for a person who has been wounded and is seeking general damages. These incidents are so ubiquitous that they are rarely questioned as genuine accident symptoms.
The state of Alabama acknowledges that you have experienced more than just medical expenses and other financial damages after a medical error, an automobile accident that renders you incapacitated, or other forms of personal injury that leave you in constant apprehension.
Alabama does not have a fixed financial benchmark for compensating for bodily and emotional suffering. In each instance, the jury must use its best judgment and discretion to determine what sum would fairly and reasonably compensate the injured person for both physical suffering and emotional distress they endured due to the damage. As there is no fixed monetary standard in Alabama, injured persons must precisely explain the frequency, intensity, and duration of their pain.
Navigating Challenges in Presenting Emotional Distress Claims
Unfortunately, an injured person may fail to document what is going on in their life because they are preoccupied with the unexpected outcomes of the accident, the suffering, and the deterioration of their quality of life. If a lawsuit is imminent, anticipated, or ongoing, compensable elements of emotional stress must be documented. Many injured persons struggle with reconstructing all of the challenges that afflicted them as they struggle to live day by day after injury.
Whether it’s presenting to your insurer or a judge during trial, a thorough and precise account of the emotional anguish is critical to maximizing compensation. One simple option is to keep a daily journal of how you’re feeling, your thoughts and emotions, and your concerns about your injuries, healing, and financial standing while you’re recovering.
You can do this in a journal designated “For My Attorney” to maintain attorney-client privilege and secrecy of your thought processes. Of course, these parts of “pain and suffering” will have to be thoroughly disclosed and investigated during discovery, trial, or settlement. You may maximize your compensation when you maintain a contemporaneous record of your physical and emotional injuries.
What Is the Zone of Danger?
A person filing an emotional distress claim in Alabama must be within the “zone of danger.” The zone of danger, in legal terms, is the zone within which a person is at actual physical risk due to the negligence of another party. This indicates that you must have been physically hurt or in danger of being physically injured to claim emotional anguish.
For example, suppose you and your family were in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver’s irresponsible driving. In that case, you may file a claim for the emotional distress you experienced due to your physical trauma or that of your family.
Negligence-Based Emotional Distress
When you suffer a work-related accident, it is usual for emotional distress compensation to be a component of your personal injury claim due to negligence. In this case, in addition to medical expenditures, lost pay, and physical pain, emotional anguish is one of the numerous losses you want to be reimbursed for.
To win a negligence case, you must show that the person who contributed to your injuries had a duty of care and that they breached that duty by acting recklessly. If you can prove negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for any harm you suffered, including emotional damage.
The Statute of Limitations on Emotional Distress Claims in Alabama
A lawsuit for general personal injuries caused by an accident must be brought within two years. On the other hand, the victim has up to 6 years to launch a claim if the injuries were intentionally inflicted. You must file medical malpractice claims within two years.
Damage Limits for Emotional Distress Claims in Alabama
Noneconomic damages such as those resulting from emotional distress are limited to $400,000 by statute.
Special Considerations for Filing Emotional Distress Claims
In Alabama, there has to be intentional infliction of emotional distress before a claim can be filed outside of an accident context. Intentional or deliberate infliction refers to any intentional behavior that is so extreme and absurd that it generates severe emotional anguish. It’s vital to remember that a “mere insult” won’t suffice to establish intentional infliction of an emotional distress claim.
Not all offensive behavior will reach the level of being so outrageous and extreme as to cause emotional distress. If a third party commits the action, additional requirements must be met to validate an emotional distress litigation case in Alabama. Consequently, it is best to seek legal advice to craft the best way forward.
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Make Your Emotional Distress Claim with an Alabama Attorney
Calculating the sum of pain and suffering damages you are awarded can be difficult. Instead of doing it alone, contact an Alabama personal injury lawyer to help you throughout the process. The Morris Bart law firm prides itself on being an experienced group of dedicated attorneys who battle for personal injury clients across Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
We’ll lead you through a range of methods for proving your emotional distress. This includes your personal evidence, observations from friends and family, and expert opinion from mental health professionals. Reach out to us today.
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