What is Emotional Distress?

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If you or somebody you love sustains an injury caused by the actions of another individual, you should be able to recover various types of compensation for your losses. In general, this means coverage of your medical bills, property damage expenses, and lost income if you cannot work while recovering. However, you may also be able to recover various types of pain and suffering damages, including compensation for emotional distress. Here, we want to properly define emotional distress and how this relates to personal injury cases.

Understanding Emotional Distress

Emotional distress can occur in a variety of ways after a traumatic incident. In many cases, those who sustain actual injuries also suffer from various types of emotional distress. This can be caused by the incident itself, the injuries, as well as the recovery process. Emotional distress can also be caused by an injury victim’s inability to enjoy life in the same way that they could before the injury.

However, emotional distress can also occur even if a person does not sustain an actual physical injury. In some jurisdictions across the country, individuals can recover compensation for emotional distress even if they did not sustain physical trauma. For example, witnessing a severe accident that caused the death of a loved one will certainly cause some type of emotional distress. In California, individuals can recover emotional distress damages even if they did not suffer from physical injuries, but only if there was negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress from a defendant.

Proving Emotional Distress in a Personal Injury Claim

There may be various types of evidence that can be used to prove emotional distress after an accident occurs. Unlike other types of damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, there are no direct bills or receipts that can show pain and suffering or emotional distress.

However, individuals can provide testimony about flashbacks, anxiety, inability to sleep, and various other emotional injuries that they have associated with the incident. In many cases, injury victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Aside from personal testimony, friends and family members may also be able to testify about the injury or accident has affected the injury victim.

It is strongly recommended that any person who sustains an injury keep a journal that logs the emotional distress that they experience after the incident occurs and throughout the recovery process.

Emotional distress evidence can be supplemented by other types of evidence related to the underlying accident. For example, the more severe an accident or injury, the more likely it is that an insurance carrier or personal injury jury will believe that emotional distress is present. A jury is much more likely to believe that a spinal cord injury paralysis victim is suffering from emotional distress than they are for a person who sustained only a sprained wrist in a vehicle accident.

Working With an Attorney

It is crucial to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer in Long Beach, California who can help properly calculate all total losses after an injury incident. This will include not only calculating economic losses but also calculating various types of non-economic losses such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. An attorney can use their resources to work with trusted medical and economic professionals who can provide testimony to the insurance carriers or a personal injury jury if necessary.