What Does Emotional Distress Mean in an Accident Lawsuit?

Emotional distress can have a serious impact on a person in a car accident. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, it’s because you’ve sustained injuries due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act. These injuries are often physical, like broken bones and traumatic brain injuries that necessitate medical expenses. Other times, they include property damages and financial losses. These types of injuries are all covered under economic damages in personal injury lawsuits and claims.

However, that’s not all. Many personal injury victims experience trauma that transcends the physical. They suffer pain and anguish that, sometimes, lasts way longer than their physical injuries. They deserve compensation for such pain and suffering too, and this compensation comes under emotional distress damages in a lawsuit.

Getting compensation for emotional distress depends on a lot of factors; your Maryland personal injury attorney will evaluate your case and let you know if you should expect any. First, however, we’ve discussed all you need to know about emotional distress damages in this article. Read on to learn more.

What’s Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress, also called mental anguish, refers to the psychological effect of an injury. It’s the mental harm that comes as a result of a traumatic situation. The following are symptoms of emotional distress:

  • Anxiety and fear
  • Depression
  • Humiliation and frustration
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Mood swings
  • Memory loss and inability to concentrate
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Stress and headaches
  • Shock
  • Chronic pain disorder
  • Uncontrollable crying spells
  • Exacerbation of preexisting mental conditions, etc.

While emotional distress is difficult to quantify, it can become severe and cause life-altering disabilities. Also, mental anguish almost always follows physical injuries from accidents. However, in some cases, you don’t have to be an accident victim to suffer emotional distress from the accident. Sometimes, merely witnessing a severe accident or a violent act can cause you mental anguish.

Types of Mental Anguish Claims 

Usually, mental anguish can either be the result of negligence or intentional harmful action:

  • Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress 

Negligence, in personal injury lawsuits, connotes a careless action that caused the plaintiff some harm. That is, the defendant acted in a way that showed disregard for the plaintiff’s safety. Usually, the defendants must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care breached by their negligent conduct.

For example, a motorist owes every other road user a duty of care to drive carefully. As such, every driver must obey traffic safety rules and regulations on the road. Therefore, anyone who causes an accident due to disregard for traffic rules is negligent. In addition, such a person would be liable for the physical and emotional pain the accident inflicts on others.

  • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress 

Intentional infliction of emotional distress refers to conduct that is too terrible to be mere negligence. It means that the defendant purposefully and recklessly caused emotional anguish to the plaintiff.

How Can I Sue for Emotional Distress?

If you wish to sue someone for emotional distress, you can do so by taking these steps:

  • Document Your Distress 

You can only get compensation for your mental anguish if you can prove that you suffered one. Therefore, you must document your distress as evidence of your pain and suffering. You can start by letting your doctor know about your psychological symptoms. They will enter it into your medical records. You can also update your personal journals regularly as a backup.

  • Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

You can hardly progress in your emotional distress lawsuit without a competent lawyer by your side. Your attorney will access your case, review your documents and offer you top-notch legal representation. Your personal injury attorneys will also prepare you for your case and offer you quality legal advice.

  • File a Personal Injury Lawsuit 

Your personal injury lawsuit commences when you file one. Your lawyer would see to it that the filing follows the prescribed procedure.

  • Prepare for Trial 

After filing a lawsuit, you must start pre-trial preparations immediately. First, you’d go through the discovery stage, where you’d exchange information with the defendants. You may also decide to opt for settlement if your attorney approves of it. If the case progresses to trial, the court will hear arguments on both sides. After that, the judge will give a binding verdict.

Contact a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney Immediately!

Filing a personal injury lawsuit for emotional distress isn’t an easy thing to do. That’s why our Maryland personal injury attorneys at Pinder Plotkin, LLC, are here for you. We’d access your case’s strength and come up with the best possible personalized legal solutions for you. Contact us for a free case review now!

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