What is Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress, which is also referred to as “pain and suffering,” is frequently included as a type of injury that the victim of a personal injury claim has endured and may be eligible to receive compensation for. When it comes to awarding damages for pain and suffering, however, the courts adhere to strict standards, which can make it complicated for plaintiffs to seek compensation for emotional distress.
Emotional distress can be caused by a wide variety of emotional or psychological effects, including the following:
- Mental Anguish
- Uncontrollable Crying Spells
- Loss of a Partner
Is It Possible to Recover Money for Emotional Distress?
In general, if you have suffered a loss that would qualify for damages in its own right, such as an injury, you can recover money for emotional distress if it is directly related to that loss.
Claims of emotional distress are supported most strongly by evidence of a physical injury. There must have been a physical impact to the body, the impact must have caused an injury, and the injury must be the source of the emotional distress for this to be considered a valid claim for emotional distress under Georgia law. This is referred to as the “impact rule.”
In Georgia, claims of emotional distress must comply with a rigorous standard known as the impact rule. Damages can only be awarded to those people who have been directly harmed by the incident. By doing this, random bystanders and passersby won’t be able to file a claim for emotional damages simply because they witnessed a horrific accident. The only emotional suffering that matters is that of the victim.
Do You Still Have the Right to File a Claim Even Though You Didn't Sustain Any Physical Injuries?
Even if there was no risk of physical injury, it is still possible to file a claim for emotional distress based purely on financial loss, such as a damaged vehicle, although doing so will be much more difficult.
Examples of how these rules function include:
With a Physical Injury: After being involved in a car accident, a woman sustains severe burns to her face. She is not only suffering from a physical injury, but she also finds that people stare at her and whisper about how she looks. The humiliation contributes to emotional distress and is directly associated with the physical injury. Her claim that she experienced emotional distress would most likely be compensated.
Without a Physical Injury: A man is in the process of transporting the ashes of his late father to a lake, where he plans to disperse them in accordance with the wishes of his late father. On the way, his vehicle was involved in a collision with a truck. The man suffered only minor injuries, but the car is a total loss, and his deceased father’s ashes were scattered in the collision. The man is overcome with sorrow and begins to seek help through psychotherapy or counseling. Because this establishes a connection between emotional distress and monetary loss, the man may have a case for emotional distress. He must provide evidence that his counseling is linked to the loss of the ashes.
Which Types of Cases Frequently Involve Damages for Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress can arise from any kind of personal injury claim, but it happens most frequently in situations involving severe injuries or a health condition that has an impact on the plaintiff’s standard of living. These may include the following:
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Wrongful Death
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Medical Malpractice
Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at The Brown Firm
If you are suffering from emotional distress, contact a personal injury attorney at The Brown Firm for legal advice.
When you’re involved in an accident that causes you to suffer an injury, and you believe the accident was the result of another person’s negligent actions, our attorneys will help you receive compensation for your losses, including any emotional distress you may have suffered.
It is not easy trying to obtain compensation for pain and suffering on your own, but with the help of a personal injury lawyer, you have a much better chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at The Brown Firm offer free consultations to accident victims in Georgia and South Carolina. Call 800-529-1441 to speak with our personal injury team today!
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