Imagine going about your day, and suddenly, something unexpected happens – a car accident, a workplace injury, or a slip and fall at a store or restaurant. These kinds of incidents can leave you dealing with injuries and may also leave you feeling emotionally shaken. This emotional turmoil you experience from an accident is known as “emotional distress.”
Physical injuries are often easier to spot and diagnose than emotional damage. But emotional distress can significantly impact your life – sometimes worse than a bodily injury. The Law Offices of Chip Forstall explains the types of emotional distress people face following accidents and how you can seek justice and support for your emotional suffering.
What is Emotional Distress in a Personal Injury Case?
If you are in an accident, such as a car crash, or you slip and fall at a store, you may get physically hurt. But, sometimes, the impact of an accident goes much deeper than just cuts, bruises, or broken bones.
Emotional distress is all about the feelings and emotions you experience from the accident. It can be a wave of emotions that hits you suddenly or something that continues and impacts your life over time.
Feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, or even anger may be painful emotions that affect your life. When someone else’s negligence or carelessness causes an accident that leads to your emotional distress, you may have the right to seek compensation for it in a personal injury case.
In other words, you can hold the responsible party accountable for both the physical harm and emotional suffering you’ve experienced.
The Emotional Toll of Personal Injuries
When people get injured in an accident, it causes more than just physical wounds. Being hurt can cause deep emotional pain and distress for all kinds of reasons.
For example, imagine the fear that may grip someone after a car accident, the worry about paying medical bills and being out of work, or the sadness of being unable to pick up your child or enjoy your favorite hobbies.
Unlike physical wounds that typically heal with time, emotional scars may linger and impact a person’s well-being for weeks, months, or even years.
Types of Emotional Distress
Emotional distress is a personal experience and doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all explanation. It can vary depending on your personal life and injury. Here are some common types of emotional distress people may experience after an injury:
- Anxiety, Fear, and Worry: One of the most common forms of emotional distress in personal injury cases is anxiety. Worries about medical bills, health complications, or the ability to return to a normal life can weigh heavily on the mind.
- Sadness and Depression: A personal injury can drastically change your life. Dealing with physical pain, loss of mobility, or the inability to enjoy the things you once loved commonly leads to deep sadness or depression.
- Post-Traumatic Stress: Some personal injury incidents are so traumatic they can lead to PTSD. This often occurs after severe injuries, violence, or life-threatening situations. Intrusive memories, flashbacks, and severe anxiety are all symptoms of PTSD.
Proving Emotional Distress in Your Personal Injury Case
Proving your emotional distress in a personal injury case is a critical step to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. While it may not be as simple as presenting physical evidence or proving physical injuries, it’s still a major aspect of personal injury law.
Evidence to support your claim may include medical records and documentation about your symptoms from your doctors. Statements from people who’ve seen a change in your behaviors and your own testimony about your experience are vital. Keeping a daily journal to record your emotions, thoughts, and experiences can also be very useful for your case.
Expert witnesses (such as mental health professionals) can be extremely valuable in some cases. Their testimony, combined with any evidence you provide, can go a long way in proving your claim.
It’s always a good idea to seek professional help for your emotional distress. Doing so will help you cope with the event and also show the court you’re taking the matter seriously. An experienced personal injury attorney will guide you on the best steps to build your case and prove your emotional distress.
Understanding Damages: Compensation for Emotional Distress
Most people have questions about compensation when it comes to their personal injury cases. The money you’re awarded due to an accident is known as “damages.” Damages are meant to help you recover from the accident’s physical, emotional, and financial impacts.
When dealing with emotional distress, damages are either economic or non-economic. Both types of damages deal with compensation for a negative impact on your life, but they cover different things.
Economic damages are measurable financial losses due to the accident—for example, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. The cost of therapy or counseling for your emotional distress also falls under this category.
Non-economic damages are sometimes harder to measure but are just as important. Pain and suffering, and emotional distress are examples of non-economic damages.
When the court awards damages, they will consider the severity of your emotional distress, its duration, and its impact on your daily life. That’s why building a strong case is so important to maximize your damages.
The Importance of Legal Representation in Your Personal Injury Case
Getting injured in an accident can cause more than just physical pain and suffering. Emotional distress is common, and you may be entitled to compensation for your experience. Having the right legal advocate is critical to achieving justice and protecting your interests.
The experts at the Law Offices of Chip Forstall are standing by to guide you through the legal process. We will carefully review your case and help you get the justice you deserve for your all your injuries – physical and emotional.
Don’t wait to pursue your case. Louisiana has a strict statute of limitations on how long you can file suit against someone for a personal injury. You typically only have one year to file, so the sooner you get started with a skilled attorney, the better your chances are for a successful case.
Contact us today for a consultation so you and your family can be on the road to recovery without worrying about navigating the legal system alone.