In an attempt to get all of their grievances on paper, the injured party may forget about an important, but often overlooked, aspect of their health – the emotional distress experienced because of their accident, illness, or injury. However, just like any other part of our health, caring for our psychological selves is of the utmost importance, and is deserving of recognition in a court of law. This guide will explain the types of emotional distress, how they are legally defined, and what forms of emotional distress can be claimed in your suit.

After an accident or trauma, the body undergoes a great deal of stress, which often continues as it heals. This stress can lead to psychological problems that can take a severe toll on ones ability to function normally, and requires medical treatment to overcome. Some signs that you may be experiencing emotional distress as a result of a trauma or unwanted life change, include any or all of the following:

  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Changes in mood or temperament
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Memory problems
  • Mood swings;
  • And many others.

These symptoms can indicate a more severe problem, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or panic disorder, that while treatable, is more difficult to quantify, and therefore often overlooked when making a legal claim.

As a result, seeking assistance from a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure that all aspects of your trauma are recognized in court. Emotional distress can have tangible financial costs, including lost wages, the need for attendant care, and housekeeping and home maintenance costs that you may be unable to cover. A lawyer will work with a team of mental health experts, doctors, and psychologists to assess your level of emotional distress, which will help prove your need for compensation to the courts. Further, you may be eligible for punitive damages if you are able to prove that there was intent to cause emotional harm, which is particularly necessary if you have been harassed or discriminated against.

After a trauma or major life change, it can often be difficult to differentiate between normal stress and abnormal emotional distress. Therefore, it is important to ensure you are receiving adequate medical treatment psychologically as well as physically. It is equally important that any emotional issues that occur as a result of the trauma is addressed in your civil suit or insurance claim, so as to prevent the emotional distress from becoming more severe, and potentially crippling your way of life.