Emotional Distress May Entitle You to Additional Injury CompensationFiled under Emotional Injury
Emotional Distress: Not the Most Obvious Result of Personal Injury
Emotional distress is not often the first thought that comes to mind following a personal injury. When most people think of the impact of a motor vehicle accident or any other type of personal injury event, they tend to focus upon physical injury. While it is obviously important following a personal injury event to get proper medical treatment to address physical injuries (e.g. broken bones, fractures, head injuries, back injuries) one of the most overlooked issues is the emotional impact of a personal injury, referred to as emotional distress. The pain and suffering that cannot necessarily be seen by the human eye can inflict the greatest toll on a person’s well-being creating emotional distress that can sometimes serve as the greatest impediment to a full recovery. Did you know that the legal system allows for compensation for emotional injuries—emotional distress—arising from a personal injury?
Emotional Distress: Its Signs
Emotional distress is experienced differently by each injured person. In fact, many times people do not even understand that they might be suffering from emotional distress because human nature tends to rationalize feelings as a defense mechanism to avoid feeling weak. This is especially common among men. For example, while some may think of emotional distress in dramatic terms such as uncontrollable crying or deep despair, it is important to understand that emotional distress can take the form of mundane conditions such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, loss of appetite or lethargy.
Emotional distress can be hard to spot and so it is important to confide in loved ones or friends who may have an easier time identifying changes in behavior. It is also extremely important to share with medical personnel any changes in feelings following an accident so that those conditions can be properly documented in medical records and later reviewed as possible signs of emotional distress. Medical personnel, because of their training and education, can better recognize the cause/effect of accidents/injuries if they are properly informed about the range of experiences a patient is encountering following an accident.
Emotional Distress: Documentation
Apart from keeping medical personnel apprised of feelings post-accident, it is also important to keep a journal or diary of everything you might be experiencing. This can be a very powerful tool to not only corroborate what was relayed to medical personnel, but it also contemporaneously chronicles everything you’re experiencing in “real time.” Later, if a lawsuit is filed and there is an issue regarding the extent of your emotional injuries and the presence of emotional distress, a diary or journal can be powerful proof to show the range of your injuries. So, for example, if a person is an avid runner and has been prevented from engaging in that activity because of a personal injury, this can be an important fact in showing how the injury has impacted a person’s life and sense of enjoyment. What is most important sometimes and can be a cause of emotional distress, is not the things we can’t do because of an injury but the things we can no longer do because of the injury. Yes, a broken leg can keep you temporarily from climbing stairs but if following recovery, you can’t hike as you once did, this can cause emotional distress. What would that be worth and what would be the impact of that emotional distress on your life?
Emotional Distress: How Much Can I Recover?
The answer depends on the severity of the emotional distress. Obviously, a person suffering from deep depression can potentially recover more than a person experiencing a mild case of “the blues.” The more impact one can show on major life activities, the greater the basis for potential compensation for emotional distress. While emotional distress is to some extent subjective, there are objective factors a judge or jury will look at in evaluating how much to award. To reiterate, the objective facts a judge or jury will look at are the life activities that have been impacted by the injury. For this reason, it is important to properly document the impact in order to get the most compensation for its effects manifesting as emotional distress.
Emotional Distress Evaluation
If you’ve been injured and your injury has limited your participation in the activities, friendships and relationships you once enjoyed, you may be suffering from emotional distress. This is not to be taken lightly or ignored as its impact on your well-being can be as great, and in some cases more extensive than the impact of your physical injuries. The legal system recognizes this, and you may be entitled to compensation for your emotional distress. However, you will need to be professionally evaluated for emotional distress and be represented by an attorney who is experienced in cases involving emotional distress.
Call Paul Padda Law for an Emotional Distress Evaluation
If you believe you may be suffering from emotional distress as a result of your injuries, call Paul Padda Law for a consultation. We will help you evaluate whether you may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress.