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Emotional distress and personal injury claims

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, your physical wounds may be only part of the problems you face. Your emotional wounds can also have a significant impact on your life.

Anyone who suffers from emotional distress following an accident can tell you that the suffering is very real — even if it’s harder to prove than something like broken bones or bruises.

What exactly is emotional distress?

Emotional distress after a traumatic event, like an accident, can manifest in a number of different ways. Some of the most common include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Obsessive fears
  • Phobias
  • Flashbacks
  • Concentration problems
  • Depression

In severe cases, emotional distress can morph into a full-blown psychological disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.)

What makes a valid claim for emotional distress?

In order to add emotional distress to your injury claim, you need to show that your condition isn’t merely a temporary problem. You’ll also need to convince the court that your distress is significant, not the mild sort of distress that can come from an ordinary upset. Your emotional distress also has to be tied to your physical injury.

Some evidence that might be used to support a claim for emotional distress include:

  • Evidence from the hospital or doctor you saw after the accident
  • Records from a psychologist or other mental health provider regarding your treatment for your distress
  • Testimony from people who have observed the effects of the distress on your life
  • Records from your employer showing how your emotional state has affected your ability to work

If you think that emotional distress will be a significant part of your personal injury claim, talk to an attorney about what you need to know and what evidence you need to gather to support your position.



FindLaw Network

Verdicts & Settlements

$2 million present value policy limit structured settlement of serious motorcycle/truck accident with brain injury (pay-out anticipated of over $10 million)

Approx. $2 million settlement to clients who were victims of the Labor Day Passaic industrial fire

$1.9 million settlement for construction site accident causing neurological injuries

$750,000 settlement for construction site accident causing ankle injury and emotional distress

Over $25 million dollar anticipated lifetime structured settlement for infant vaccine injury claim

Multimillion-dollar lifetime structured settlement of cerebral palsy claim

$3 million jury verdict for delayed diagnosis of breast cancer

$2.6 million settlement for birth injury caused by medical malpractice