Emotional Distress Definition in Personal Injury Law
Emotional distress is a type of damages plaintiffs can often collect in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Pain and suffering and other emotional damages are a natural side effect of suffering almost any personal injury, no matter if it occurs because of negligence or if the act was intentional.
If you suffered emotional injuries and distress because of your accident and injuries, the personal injury lawyers at Berger and Green can make a case for recovering compensation. In some cases, often including assault, battery, and some types of injuries, damages for emotional injuries may surpass the amount of compensation we recover for your physical injuries.
Call us today at 412-661-1400. We can discuss your case and your damages during a free case evaluation.
How Do Courts View Emotional Distress Claims?
In most cases, emotional distress damages occur in conjunction with other types of damages, including those for physical injuries. For many years, this was the only way most courts would award damages for emotional distress—in conjunction with damages stemming from actual physical harm.
More and more, however, courts have been willing to award emotional distress damages in cases where there was no actual physical injury. Imagine, for example, you were the victim of an assault. The perpetrator held a gun on you and threatened you with physical injury unless you cooperated with their demands. You feared for your life and now suffer anxiety when walking alone in your neighborhood. Even though they never touched you and you suffered no physical injuries, a judge might award you emotional distress damages.
How Can We Prove Emotional Distress?
It is much more difficult to prove emotional distress than it is to document actual physical damages. The courts are aware of how easily someone can exaggerate emotional damages, so we need to do everything we can to provide evidence of your emotional distress. We may ask you to keep a journal about your pain and suffering or we may call in a professional psychiatrist to testify about your distress. This helps us prove the serious nature of your emotional damages and supports our request for a fair payout based on these damages. We can then use one of several methods to put a monetary value on your emotional distress and ask for a settlement from the insurer or award from the court.
We will need to show that the defendant acted in an intentional or careless way, that they caused your emotional injuries, and that your emotional distress is above and beyond what you normally experienced before the injury occurred.
Berger and Green: Your Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have questions or concerns about the emotional damages you suffered in a personal injury accident or incident, Berger and Green are here to help. Call our office in the Pittsburgh area today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a time to review your case. We can discuss the types of damages you may be able to recover.