What To Know About Emotional Distress In A Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you are suing an individual for a personal injury lawsuit, there are many factors that will add to the total compensation that you can receive. While medical bills, personal property damage, and pain and suffering are common elements of a personal injury settlement, you may be wondering if emotional distress is something that you can sue for as well. Here is what you should know about this possible form of compensation for your personal injury case. 

Emotional Distress Is Uncommon For Many Simple Personal Injuries

When you have a relatively simple accident, such as a car accident or a slip and fall, do not expect to be awarded emotional distress damages for your injury. This is because in a simple accident like this, it is not common for a judge or jury to award emotional distress compensation based on a history of previous verdicts in cases like these. The injury is typically not serious enough to consider awarding emotional distress, and if it is awarded, it is for a very small amount. 

Emotional Distress Can Be Diagnosed By A Doctor

One of the problems with emotional distress is that it can be hard to prove to an insurance adjuster, judge, or jury. If you are simply saying you have emotional distress, that may not be enough for it to qualify for compensation. You'll need to visit a doctor that can diagnose you with emotional distress so that you can provide that documentation to others. 

For example, you may be suffering emotional distress after a car accident where it has made you afraid to get behind the wheel of a vehicle again due to high levels of anxiety. You would need a doctor to diagnose you with an anxiety disorder to help give some credibility to your emotional distress. Without that diagnosis, you are not providing any proof that your emotional distress is credible. A doctor would likely give you medication to help deal with this anxiety, which further adds to your proof.

Emotional Distress Should Be A New Ailment 

A common problem with receiving compensation for emotional distress is that you had some level of anxiety prior to the accident. In this situation, it could be argued that existing anxiety is causing you emotional distress rather than anxiety caused by the accident. Having an existing prescription for anti-anxiety medication and a previous diagnosis of an anxiety disorder may be harmful to your claim of emotional distress related to your personal injury. 

If you have questions about suing for emotional distress, contact your personal injury attorney.