In the heat of a bad situation, suing for emotional distress can seem like a good idea. You are distressed after all, so why shouldn’t you get what’s owed to you?
In reality, suing someone for emotional distress isn’t as easy as it might seem. You might even be advised against it outright by your lawyer.
Are you still considering it anyway? Let’s talk about it.
Here are a few things that you need to know about suing for emotional distress (after a car accident, altercation, or otherwise) before you pull the trigger on it.
What Is Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress, when used in the legal world, is emotional suffering brought on by an event perpetrated by another person.
Generally speaking, physical harm accompanies emotional distress, but some courts are more lenient on the issue and allow emotional distress to be a standalone suit.
There are 2 kinds of emotional distress you should know about.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress happens when the offending party purposefully caused distress or trauma. This includes things like abuse or harassment.
Negligent infliction of emotional distress happens when the offending party unintentionally caused the trauma. If the defendant caused an accident that harmed, disfigured, or even killed the plaintiff’s family member, the plaintiff has grounds for emotional distress.
Is Suing for Emotional Distress Easy?
It can be difficult to successfully sue someone for emotional distress.
Unlike physical harm, the scars of emotional distress are invisible. Witnesses need to verify your story, and you may be professionally evaluated. The whole ordeal can be even more traumatic than the event.
What Kind of Proof Do I Need?
If you have physical injuries that go alongside your emotional distress, ensure that you have documented medical records and any applicable photos.
All evidence should be documented. There’s no physical evidence of emotional distress, so if something needs to be (legally) recorded via audio or written down, make sure that you have the accurate dates and times on everything.
If you see a mental health professional, make sure that you’ve recorded their input. They may also be used in the court case (though their contribution may be limited depending on the privacy documents or release forms that you’ve signed).
You should take all of this evidence to a reliable legal firm so they can help put your case together.
Will My Case Be Successful?
It’s impossible to say whether or not any kind of case will be successful. Emotional distress cases are tricky.
If the evidence lines up, you have a solid case for an emotional distress lawsuit. It does need to be evident, though, that there are lasting emotional injuries that are likely to persist.
If you haven’t sustained a physical injury, it’s less likely that your case will be successful, but it’s worth an attempt.
Do You Need Help With Your Emotional Distress Lawsuit?
Suing for emotional distress is tricky. You need to know what evidence to gather, how to gather it, and how to prove that you’ve been harmed when those signs of harm are invisible.
It’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer who’s well-versed in emotional distress cases if you want the highest chance of success.
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