IS THERE A CASE TO BE MADE FOR YOUR EMOTIONAL DISTRESS?
For many of our cases, when we represent a client, we will present as evidence examples of physical distress they experienced by the defendant. There would be little room to argue against someone who suffers a lacerated liver along with a fractured leg, hip, and elbow, among other injuries resulting from an accident, that they are not entitled to some compensation. While physical distress is the most obvious, it is not the only distress claim one can make.
In a very traumatic experience, one may experience emotional distress. A terrifying car accident may produce intense flashbacks of the event. Perhaps the accident happened alongside a loved one who was even more severely injured or died, and the survivor experiences severe depression, anxiety, or even survivor’s guilt.
There are two types of emotional distress to define–Negligent Infliction (NIED) and Intentional Infliction (IIED). Let’s retake the above example. You survive a car crash without physical injury to you or anyone else with you, but the terror of the experience leaves you with severe anxiety. Usually, to file a claim for NIED, some states require some form of physical causality due to emotional distress. Depending on the state, this can range from losing appetite or insomnia to developing a tremor.
Filing a claim for IIED is done with far more severity than NIED, limited to instances where the defendant’s conduct is considered extreme. If simple evidence of bullying were enough to make an IIED claim successfully, everybody would have their day in court. Physical causality is all the more critical in these cases. Take, for example, two coworkers that do not get along. The tension escalates, and Coworker A begins to be making false accusations, horrible rumors, and other forms of harassment toward Coworker B. This severely impacts Coworker B’s ability to do his job, constantly experiencing panic attacks, depression, anxiety, and eventually a heart attack due to the added stress. This impact would often help make for an IIED solid case. Successful IIED claims typically require strong evidence of extreme conduct and the resulting emotional harm.
Emotional distress does not always neatly appear after the initial brush of trauma. While it can develop immediately, it may be slowly compounded over time or suddenly appear. Anyone who has grieved the loss of a loved one knows about the odd moments when a sudden pouring of grief occurs. Taking action as soon as possible is crucial when experiencing emotional distress due to an accident or other traumatic event. This includes seeking a psychiatric evaluation, documenting all manifestations and symptoms of the distress, and filing an insurance claim.
If you have experienced emotional distress from a traumatic situation, please get in touch with us for a free consultation. Your suffering should not go unnoticed, and we will fight to bring you the compensation you deserve.