How to Prove Emotional Distress in a Personal Injury Case

While physical injuries get a lot of attention in a lawsuit, they aren’t the only consequence of an accident or other traumatic event. Often, someone escapes with only minor cuts and bruises, but they can’t stop thinking about what happened. They lose sleep, stop going to work, or withdraw from friends and family.

Symptoms like this are collectively referred to as “emotional distress,” a term for the non-physical suffering that can result from another person’s negligent, reckless, or malicious actions. Emotional distress can range in severity and may lead to depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder.

Why emotional distress is different

While often just as debilitating, psychological injuries are harder to prove than physical ones. They’re not visible like cuts and bruises, and they don’t show up on an x-ray like broken bones. Because of this, victims may face skepticism. They may even be accused of exaggerating or even faking their injuries.

There’s also the task of quantifying something that’s usually seen as subjective and intangible. Missing work or seeing a psychiatrist can add to the costs, but they aren’t the whole picture, as victims know all too well.

Proving emotional distress in court

It’s true that proving emotional distress is more challenging than some other injuries. However, you may have more evidence than you realize. Take these steps to strengthen your personal injury case:

  • Get a check-up. There’s no such thing as a purely non-physical injury. Emotional distress can cause headaches, upset stomach, and blood pressure problems. If you experience any of these, get medical documentation.
  • See a psychiatrist. If you’ve developed a psychological disorder from the incident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or panic attacks, a specialist can diagnose and treat it. Keep records of this treatment, as they can carry a lot of weight in court.
  • Ask your boss. If you’ve received negative employee evaluations or write-ups since the incident, keep any documentation of this.

Many other factors can affect your case. In the State of Florida, you will usually need to prove that a physical injury caused your emotional distress. In rare cases, emotional distress may be the only claim under consideration.

If you’ve suffered emotional distress or another invisible injury, contact our offices. We can help you understand your situation and how the law pertains to it. Reach out today!