Building Your Case: What You Need to Know About Suing for Emotional Distress


Following an accident or act of negligence, it’s common to experience some form of emotional distress. The symptoms of emotional distress vary and can be hard to quantify.

Whether you’ve suffered an accident injury or mistreatment on the job, you may be entitled to compensation.

Suing for emotional distressis complicated. Compared to physical injuries, emotional ones are harder to prove. You’ll want a skilled personal injury lawyer leading the way.

Here’s everything you should know about suing for emotional distress. 

What Is Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is lingering psychological damage as a result of an accident or mistreatment. Long after victims recover from physical injuries, psychological injuries often remain.

Like any injury, it takes time to recover. The emotional damage can take its toll on your life, affecting your job, family, and finances.

When you sue for emotional distress, you’re suing for financial compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced. This may include lost wages and medical bills or harder to quantify symptoms such as loss of joy or embarrassment.

It’s important to find an attorney who’s experienced in this area of law to fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve.

Suing for Emotional Distress

Emotional distress cases can be tricky. Your attorney must prove you’ve experienced an emotional injury that’s impacted your life.

Physical injuries are obvious. But emotional ones are more subtle and less easily recognizable. You must show evidence of emotional injury and have the documentation to back up your claim.

Evidence could include a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition. You’ll need an expert witness like a doctor or therapist to testify on your behalf.

Using expert witnesses can be expensive. In most situations, personal injury attorneys take on these types of cases on a contingency fee basis.

That means you pay nothing until you receive compensation.

Proving Emotional Distress

To receive compensation for emotional distress, you have to prove it. Unfortunately, your testimony isn’t enough. The court recognized two types of emotional distress.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

With this type of claim, the defendant’s actions are accidental or unintentional. This may apply to auto accidents, wrongful death, or other types of emotional distress claims.

To prove this type of emotional distress, there must be a connection between the defendant’s actions and your suffering. For example, if you witness the death of a loved one due to a drunk driver’s negligence, you may have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Intentional emotional distress occurs when the defendant causes harm through intentional or reckless actions. For instance, if you’re continually harassed or humiliated on the job, you may have a valid claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

On the other hand, if you’re escorted out of the building after your boss fires you, you may not have a valid claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Evidence of Emotional Distress

In an emotional distress case, the evidence is key. Evidence may include expert witness testimony, medical records, or other relevant documentation.

You may also provide your own account of psychological issues, including insomnia, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, or other issues. Friends and family members may testify about the trauma you’ve experienced and how it has impacted your daily life.

If you’ve suffered a serious accident, your physical and emotional injuries may be severe. Presenting the evidence of what you’ve endured helps to paint a picture of your emotional distress.

For accident injury victims, suing for emotional distress allows you the chance to receive compensation for your physical and emotional injuries.  

Pursuing a Claim

If you think you may have a case for emotional distress, your first step is to contact a personal injury lawyer. You want an experienced lawyer in your corner who understands the complexities of these types of cases.

Your lawyer can help file the proper paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary. If you plan to pursue an emotional distress claim, you should follow the recommendations of your doctor.

Addressing your issues and following a treatment plan shows you’re working towards recovery. This also provides documentation of your psychological distress.

Be sure to gather medical records, medical bills, doctors’ notes, or any evidence of counseling or treatment. Personal records such as photos, journal entries, or videos can provide a glimpse into your life and frame of mind as you recover from your injuries.

The Legal Process for Emotional Distress 

Your personal injury lawyer may begin the process with a demand letter to the defendant or their lawyer. Your lawyer must file your case within a certain amount of time to proceed.

Your lawyer should work with you, explaining each step as you move through the legal process. If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will present evidence of emotional distress and fight for your rights and the best possible outcome for you.

Winning a Case of Emotional Distress 

Your request for financial compensation for emotional distress must be included in your legal filing. Your lawyer will prepare and present the evidence to back up your claim. 

You must prove you’ve suffered emotional distress and that it impacts your life in a profound way. Generally, the courts award compensation for emotional distress that reflects the seriousness of the injury that took place.

Factors a court may consider include the defendant’s behavior, the extent of the harm you’ve suffered, and if the distress is ongoing.

Finding the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Suing for emotional distress is possible, but it requires the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you’re a victim of emotional distress due to someone else’s negligence, you have options.

We understand this is a difficult time for you, and our personal injury lawyers are here to help. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and your options moving forward.

If we represent you, we’ll fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. You’ll pay nothing unless we win your case.

Contact us today to learn more.

Related Posts

Step By Step What To Do After a Personal Injury

Every year, tens of millions of people have to go to the emergency room or another medical provider for treatment due to accidental injuries. From auto accidents to workplace injuries to defective products, accidental injuries and deaths are far too common. If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence or actions of another person, […]

How To Tell Who Is at Fault in an Auto Accident

Every year, about 3 million people are injured in auto accidents. In 2019, there were 36,096 fatal crashes on the roads. With all these accidents and injuries, police, insurance companies, and even auto accident lawyers are working overtime to figure out fault. Once you’re involved in a car accident, one of the first things you do […]

Documents for Motorcycle Accidents to Have When Meeting Your Lawyer

Were you recently injured in a motorcycle accident? If so, an experienced lawyer can help you recoup some of the damages you’ve suffered. When you meet your legal team for the first time, it pays to be prepared. The right documentation can help your lawyer understand what happened and could strengthen your case. Not sure […]

9 Common Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Disability Lawyer

Do you have an endocrine disorder, cancer, respiratory illness, or cardiovascular illness? Are you unable to work as a result of this condition or illness? If the answer to these questions is yes, you may qualify for Social Security disability. Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is meant for those who have a medical condition that […]

Help Is Here

We have answers. Tell us about your situation.

Call (800) 674-7854 or request a callback below
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Police Report Request Form

Police Report Request

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
Sweet Lawyers has my permission to help provide a free police report.*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.