Man with hands on head in distress.

Emotional Distress Damages in a Personal Injury Case

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Suffering an injury because of someone else’s fault can leave you with not just physical harm but emotional trauma as well. In particular, emotional distress can severely impact your work, your relationships, and your quality of life. 

Have you suffered property damage, injury, or emotional harm in an accident that wasn’t your fault? If so, you have the chance to get compensation for the emotional distress you’ve suffered. 

Understanding Emotional Distress Damages

The purpose of emotional distress damages is to reimburse victims for the emotional and psychological toll that the event has taken on their lives. An accident could affect you emotionally in many ways, potentially leading to:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Depression
  • Severe mood swings
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Changes in appetite
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Fatigue

Emotional distress damages are subjective because everyone who goes through an accident reacts differently. This makes proving that you’re experiencing them a complex process. You have to demonstrate that the distress came about as a direct result of the accident and that it has significantly impacted your life.

There are two main types of emotional distress: negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

Negligent infliction of emotional distress 

Negligent infliction of emotional distress occurs when the defendant commits an act that unintentionally causes you harm. In this case, people who were in the vicinity of the accident could also file a personal injury claim, even if they were not physically injured.

For example, suppose that a married couple was out walking, and a drunk driver hit one of them, causing their death. The other person could file for emotional distress damages even though they weren’t hit. 

Intentional infliction of emotional distress

This type of distress occurs when the defendant recklessly or intentionally inflicts emotional distress on someone else. Examples include constant racial slurs, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and any conduct that threatens your physical safety. 

Providing the Right Evidence

To substantiate your claim of emotional distress, you will need to provide evidence. Gathering evidence is not always easy, especially if you’re dealing with physical and psychological trauma. That is why turning to a personal injury lawyer is the right step. 

A personal injury lawyer will guide you on what kinds of evidence could make a difference. For most people, witness testimonies from family, friends, coworkers, employers, and others who knew you before the accident and who have contact with you now can help. 

Expert testimony is also important. You can turn to mental health professionals like therapists, psychologists, counselors, and more for this purpose. In some instances, your personal injury lawyer may help with upfront fees for these professionals if you can’t afford them. 

If you’re taking any kind of medication to manage the psychological damage you’ve experienced, getting medical records that show this is also important. Another option is to offer a journal or diary that records the moods, thoughts, and emotional distress you’ve experienced since the accident. 

A new type of evidence that can help is your fitness and sleep tracker. They can show how your heart rate and sleep patterns have changed since your accident. 

Working With Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers

Because proving emotional distress damages is such a complex process, it is always important to reach out to a personal injury lawyer who has experience with these kinds of claims. With the right lawyers by your side, you have the chance to get the compensation you deserve.

At Hunt Law Firm, we have 20 years of experience helping those who’ve suffered because of someone else’s negligence. You shouldn’t have to foot medical bills, repair costs, lost wages, and the costs of any other damages you have suffered. Get a free consultation in Northern New Mexico by turning to us at the Hunt Law Firm.