Can I Sue for Emotional Distress: What constitutes emotional distress in legal terms? Generally speaking, you can only bring an emotional damages claim if the incident in issue caused you physical pain. Suits involving emotional suffering are more difficult to win than other lawsuits. Before attempting to bring a case, it's crucial to have a thorough understanding of the many sorts of emotional distress claims.
What Is Emotional Distress?
In a broad sense, emotional anguish is simple to understand: it is just mental suffering. But the legal definition is a little trickier. Although the terminology varies from state to state, the core concept of emotional distress is mental pain brought on by someone else’s acts, whether they are deliberate or unintended.
There are various signs of emotional distress, such as:
- Guilt or shame
- Nightmares or inability to sleep
- Headaches that are persistent
- Gaining or losing weight
Can I Sue for Emotional Distress?
A lawsuit for emotional anguish may be possible in some circumstances, yes. Typically, you must demonstrate that someone acted outrageously with intent to cause you great emotional anguish. If someone was irresponsible and caused you to experience extreme emotional distress, you may be able to file a lawsuit, but there are a lot of requirements you must meet.
Whether you can overcome these obstacles will depend on your situation and the state you live in.
Even though emotional distress claims seem simple, they can be challenging. State rules on the exact components of an emotional distress claim vary greatly, and proof is always a problem.
What kind of Damages can be Claimed with this suing?
Damages may be recovered if you prevail in your tort lawsuit. This phrase describes financial aid meant to make up for losses you suffered as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing. Damages can be divided into two broad categories:
- Economic harm
- Non Economic Harm
Economic damages are measurable, objective costs that are simple to assess and compute with a little maths. If you take your regular paycheck and deduct the amount you were actually paid, you may determine the amount of money you lose from taking time off from work – your lost income. Similar to that, you can demonstrate how much money you are owed for medical care using medical records.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are subjective, non-financial losses that are impossible to quantify. Non-economic harms consist of:
- Distress and suffering
- loss of friends and social interaction
- Loss of consortium (the absence of the advantages of a marriage)
- The inability to enjoy life
Another class of non-economic damages that can be available if your tort claim is successful is emotional injury.
Examples and Types of Common Emotional Distress Claims
Cases involving emotional distress may be founded on either negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress. The distinction between the two types of circumstances that the word “intentional” most strongly conveys. It may be sufficient to file a case if the defendant intentionally causes distress.
Intentional Causing of Emotional Distress
The first is referred to as deliberate infliction of emotional suffering. In general, if someone intentionally behaves outrageously so as to greatly pain you emotionally, you can recover from them. In order to be demonstrated, several aspects of intentional infliction of mental distress must be present.
Although they vary from state to state, the following are typically among the elements:
Someone acts in an exaggerated and outrageous manner towards you; they do it purposefully or carelessly. As a result, you experience intense emotional distress.
The Lawsuit of Bystanders:
The “bystander” type of case is a subcategory of instances for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Let’s revisit the accident example at this point. Although you were never personally in danger and were not present when the motorist passed through the junction, you saw the driver strike your parents as they crossed the street.
In this situation, even if you didn’t experience any physical symptoms and weren’t hurt or even touched, you might still sue the driver for causing you emotional distress. This would also be true if you had just arrived on the scene. But if you heard about it afterwards, it wouldn’t be a case you could pursue.
What You Must Show to Win a Case for Intentional Emotional Distress
- In order to demonstrate emotional suffering, you must be able to demonstrate:
- The defendant has a duty to act fairly and refrain from acting out of line or in an extreme way that could upset others.
- The defendant violated that obligation by acting grossly, whether willfully or carelessly.
- You were upset and hurt by the defendant’s actions.
How to File a Lawsuit for Emotional Distress
You should be aware that each state has a different statute of limitations on when to file an emotional distress claim if you’re thinking about doing so. While statutes of limitations can last up to six years, most states only allow two to three. You may only have a year in some states to file.
Finding a lawyer you can trust and feel at ease with is crucial. You might start by asking friends, relatives, or other contacts for referrals for personal injury lawyers as many of them have some expertise dealing with emotional discomfort.
The local bar organisation may also be able to provide a recommendation.
Keep Track of Your Emotional Distress
Documenting your stress, along with any physical symptoms, is the first step in filing a lawsuit for mental distress. The fact that your emotional pain has physical manifestations strengthens your argument, as was already mentioned.