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What Are Emotional Distress Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Submitted by amm on

Emotional distress damages are designed to compensate you for the psychological impact your injury has had on your daily life. Emotional distress is considered a non-economic damage. Compensation amounts are based on the impact the distress has had on the person’s life. It is an important part of any personal injury claim as emotional distress can have a financial impact as the victim often cannot return to work until fully recovered from the emotional effects of the accident and injury.

Common Types of Emotional Distress Damages

In a personal injury claim, common types of emotional distress damages include anxiety, depression, guilt, insomnia, fear, sham and humiliation. When a person experiences emotional distress, their recovery is often extended which often means they are unable to work until they have fully recovered from the emotional distress caused by the personal injury. The amount calculated for emotional distress helps to make up for the financial loss due to the inability to work while suffering from emotional distress.

How to Prove Emotional Distress Damage

Proving emotional distress starts with an evaluation. The victim needs to determine the ways they’ve been emotionally impacted by the accident. This involves many of the feelings and symptoms discussed above. Personal testimony and additional evidence about the severity of the accident are useful. The victim needs to determine the ways they’ve been emotionally impacted by the accident. This could include negative changes in how they interact with family and friends or even the way they communicate with others outside home and work.

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 often only successful if physical harm or another form of tangible harm has taken place. An emotional distress claim is unlikely to be successful for near misses, such as if you were traumatized by a car that almost hit you, but you were not actually hit.

When filing your personal injury claim you'll need to show that your emotional stress is ongoing, and that it affects the basic way you go about your life, and that it is directly related to the physical injuries the defendant caused you to suffer.

Get Help Today

If you have emotional distress damages included in your personal injury case, then you should work with a personal injury attorney. A PI attorney will be able to help you to file your claim, gather all of your evidence and information you need in order to get the compensation you deserve. Because there’s no specific formula for calculating non-economic damages, some states, such as Mississippi, have caps in place on the amount of compensation you can receive for damages such as emotional distress. The sooner you file your personal injury claim the better as you also have to consider that your state has a statute of limitations in force which limits the time after your injury you have to file your claim.

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