Many people don’t realize that the emotional trauma of an accident can be just as damaging as their physical injuries. You could have suffered serious emotional harm after a car accident, medical malpractice incident, or dog bite. Some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety, which impacts all aspects of their lives. Paying for therapy and medications can get expensive. As part of your personal injury case, you could seek compensation for your mental anguish. Skilled personal injury attorneys can help you demand compensation for your emotional distress.
What Is Emotional Distress?
You may have heard your personal injury lawyer talk about suing for emotional distress, but what exactly is it? Emotional distress refers to several types of mental suffering or anguish. Some of the ways that it can manifest include:
- Situational anxiety
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Disputed sleep, like insomnia or sleeping too much
- Panic attacks or fear
- Embarrassment or humiliation
- Trouble regulating your emotions
- Flashbacks to the incident or reliving it
Many people have difficulty concentrating on work or school due to their emotional distress. Your career could be impacted because you’re unfocused or overly emotional. Or, your relationships with friends and family could suffer. Depression often causes people to isolate themselves. Many people can recover with the right mix of therapy and medication, although these treatments can be costly.
Types of Emotional Distress Claims
Georgia personal injury laws permit plaintiffs in personal injury cases to only file for emotional distress if the distress is due to the physical injury they suffered. However, many kinds of personal injury cases result in injuries that cause mental suffering. For example, you could be temporarily or permanently disabled. This change in your abilities could trigger depression or cause you to be distressed because you’ve lost independence. Emotional distress can take the form of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, extreme insomnia, or a variety of other conditions.
Some common causes of emotional distress claims include:
- Slip or trip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Car wrecks
- Semi-truck collisions
- Motorcycle accidents
- One-the-job injuries
- Burn injuries
- Construction site accidents
- Nursing home negligence or abuse
These aren’t the only types of accidents that can cause emotional distress. If you have another situation in which the wrongdoing of others injured you, contact Chris Hudson Law Group. You may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the party that caused the accident to seek compensation.
Calculating Compensation for Emotional Distress Claims in Georgia
Georgia’s Impact Rule requires plaintiffs seeking compensation for emotional distress must also have experienced a physical injury in the accident. Personal injury lawyers must prove that their client suffered physical impact in the accident or incident and that the impact caused physical harm. Then, they must demonstrate that the injured person experienced emotional distress as a result of their physical injuries.
However, valuing emotional distress can be subjective. An experienced personal injury lawyer may use the total amount of the injured party’s economic losses to calculate the amount they seek for emotional distress. Economic compensation includes lost wages from work, medical bills, a hospital stay, and property damage.
One way to calculate non-economic compensation for emotional anguish is to use a “multiplier” method. The total economic losses are multiplied by a number from 1 to 5, depending on how serious the injuries were. More serious injuries often result in more serious emotional distress, especially if someone is rendered permanently disabled.
There are other means of calculating non-economic compensation. Your attorney will choose the method that provides the best benefit for you.
How to Prove Emotional Distress
Your medical records are a significant part of your claim for compensation for emotional distress. The medical records from the accident show that your physical injuries were caused by the accident. If you develop PTSD, anxiety, or any of the above-listed types of emotional distress, your therapy records can link your mental health struggles to your physical harm.
Some ways your lawyer may prove emotional distress include:
- Psychological diagnosis. You may need to present your doctor’s diagnosis of your mental disorder. These records should note that your injuries triggered the mental illness.
- Expert witness testimony substantiating your doctor’s diagnosis.
- Your own testimony, an accounting of your symptoms, and the effect of your emotional distress on your quality of life.
Why a Lawyer Is Important to Establishing Emotional Distress
Emotional distress is an inherently subjective experience. To secure the compensation you deserve for what you’ve suffered, you’ll need to make the insurance company or court understand just how much you suffered because of the at-fault party. This is where an experienced personal injury lawyer can prove invaluable. They can:
- Thoroughly investigate the underlying injury to establish fault
- Work with experts to establish both the nature and dollars-and-cents costs of your emotional distress
- File legal paperwork and litigation to pursue the compensation you deserve
- Argue eloquently at the negotiating table or in court on your behalf
What’s more, they can do this all at no upfront cost to you. Most personal injury lawyers take cases on contingency, which means they only charge a fee if they win for their clients. This way, an accident victim’s tight finances are never an impediment to their pursuing the full and fair compensation they deserve. Moreover, it further motivates the attorney to secure as much money as they can for their client, since their own payment comes as a percentage of their total recovery.
Do You Need Help Suing for Emotional Distress After an Injury?
If you’ve been harmed in an accident you didn’t cause, we can help. The legal team at Chris Hudson Law Group can help you demand the compensation you deserve for the effect the mental anguish has had on your quality of life. You can call (706) 863-6600 today for a free consultation with an Augusta personal injury lawyer. We look forward to hearing your story, learning how your injuries have affected your emotional state, and helping you demand the full range of compensation you’re entitled to.