The short answer is, yes, you can sue for emotional pain and suffering. Emotional distress is considered when a person suffers significant physical or mental harm.
The actions leading to the harm can be accidental or intentional. However, awards for pain and suffering vary greatly from case to case. Emotional distress is only awarded in very specific situations. Usually, emotional distress is easy to win when you also suffered physical harm, but it harder to win when you suffered mental harm alone.
The biggest factors in determining whether you can be compensated for emotional pain in suffering is how much harm you have endured, and whether or not you can prove the damages.
Not every injury will award you compensation for pain and suffering. Usually, damages can be awarded for past, present, and future harm in an injury case. The jury will consider a variety of factors when deliberating your case. For instance, the jury will consider the age of the victim.
Younger victims might get larger compensation for their injuries since they will have to endure the pain and suffering for the rest of their lives. The type of injury will also be taken into consideration- injuries that cause chronic physical pain or brain injuries are more likely to get rewarded.
The jury will also consider how the harm affects the victim in the past, present and future, especially future suffering. Again, rewards vary greatly depending on a variety of factors.
Unlike physical injuries, there are no x-rays or scars you can point out to prove your emotional harm. Emotional distress is psychological, and though it can be just as severe as physical harm, plaintiffs often have a hard time proving the damages.
There are a few things you can incorporate into your claim to prove your emotional distress.
First of all, evaluate the intensity of the suffering. The more intense the suffering, the more likely you are to get rewarded. However, the court often requires some sort of physical harm to accompany the emotional harm, especially in cases where the harm was caused by alleged negligence (rather than intentional).
The jury will also consider the duration of the harm. Chronic pain that stays with you, like post traumatic stress, will help prove emotional suffering.
You will also want to inform the jury of the underlying cause of your mental suffering. For example, if someone threatens or assaults you, that is grounds for emotional distress.
The more outrageous or extreme the offending party’s conduct was, the more likely you are to get compensated. Still, it is easier to prove your claim when there is some kind of physical evidence to support it. For instance, if you were threatened or assaulted, and then went on about your day as if nothing happened, the jury might not award you.
However, if you were threatened or assaulted and then miscarried your baby, or were hospitalized because of a panic attack, your mental and emotional anguish is more apparent. Other physical signs of emotional distress might be ulcers or headaches. Also, it’s best if a doctor’s note is provided, from a doctor or psychologist, to support each claim.
You will want to incorporate as many of these factors into your claim as you can. In addition, you will want to consult a personal injury attorney. Proving these types of cases can be very difficult, and an attorney can help guide you through the process and strengthen your case.schedule a free consultation with a personal injury and accident law firm.