Personal Injuries and Emotional Distress: Understanding Your Claims
After you incur a personal injury, you often experience physical pain and suffering. What you don’t realize is you may also experience emotional distress. Though you may not be able to see it, emotional distress can be just as traumatic as a physical injury, if not more.
This article will help explain emotional distress, how it can relate to an accident or injury, and how it might apply to your personal injury claim.
What is Emotional Distress?
When it comes to a personal injury claim, emotional distress is defined as “mental suffering as an emotional response to an experience that arises from the effect or memory of a particular event, occurrence, pattern of events or condition.”
Emotional distress can manifest itself in many different ways, which may not be evident at first. It could even be brushed aside and attributed to physical injury. Knowing the signs and symptoms of emotional distress can help you understand how it’s affecting your mental health.
Some common signs of emotional distress include, but are not limited to:
- subtle personality changes
- crying spells or bursts of anger
- increased use of alcohol or drugs
- changes in appetite or difficulty eating
- increasing physical distress symptoms such as headaches or stomach pains
- feeling guilty, helpless, or hopeless
- avoiding family and friends, isolating
- trouble keeping track of things or remembering
Since some of these symptoms can be masked by physical injury, it is vital to be aware of any emotional changes you may be feeling, regardless of your bodily injury status. Keep a journal and note the changes in your mental health. If you notice any of the signs above, getting the support you need is vital.
Understanding the Legal Basis for Emotional Distress Claims
Whether it’s a car accident, a workplace incident, or a slip and fall, the impact of personal injuries can extend far beyond physical pain. Understanding the connection between personal injuries and emotional distress is crucial when it comes to seeking compensation for your suffering.
Emotional distress claims are a subset of personal injury claims that focus on the psychological harm suffered by the victim. These claims assert that the negligent or intentional actions of another party caused significant emotional distress, resulting in mental anguish and psychological trauma. While physical injuries may be more visible and tangible, emotional distress claims recognize the profound impact that psychological harm can have on a person’s well-being. By understanding the legal basis for emotional distress claims, you can better navigate the legal process to seek appropriate compensation.
How Does Emotional Distress Affect You?
The pain, suffering, and lifestyle changes that accompany physical injuries can encompass a wide range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, anger, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our personal injury lawyers in Portland can help you recognize and identify the validity and impact of emotional distress on a person’s mental health and overall quality of life. It’s essential to address these emotional impacts alongside the physical ones when seeking compensation.
Psychological trauma resulting from personal injuries can have far-reaching consequences on emotional well-being. Witnessing a traumatic event, such as a serious accident or violence, can cause severe psychological distress. This trauma can manifest as nightmares, flashbacks, and intense fear, affecting daily life and mental health. Recognizing the psychological impact of personal injuries is crucial in understanding the full scope of emotional distress.
Personal injuries aren’t always limited to isolated incidents but can also encompass chronic illnesses and conditions. Coping with a chronic illness can take a toll on a person’s mental health, leading to emotional distress. The constant pain, limitations, and uncertainty associated with chronic illnesses can contribute to feelings of frustration, sadness, and anxiety. Acknowledging the emotional burden of chronic illnesses is essential when seeking compensation for the overall impact on one’s well-being.
Long-Term Effects of Emotional Distress on Mental Health
Emotional distress can have long-lasting effects on mental health if not effectively addressed. Untreated emotional distress may lead to chronic anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. By understanding the potential long-term consequences, it becomes evident that seeking compensation for emotional distress is not only fair but necessary to obtain the resources for proper treatment and support.
Establishing Duty of Care in Personal Injury Cases
To pursue an emotional distress claim, it is crucial to establish the legal concept of duty of care. This concept recognizes that individuals and entities have a legal obligation to act responsibly and avoid causing harm to others. Proving that the party responsible for your personal injury owed you a duty of care is essential in building a solid emotional distress claim.
Causation is another critical element in emotional distress claims. It requires demonstrating that the personal injury directly caused the emotional distress suffered. Establishing this link may involve medical records, expert testimony, and evidence of the emotional impact experienced. By connecting the personal injury to the emotional distress, you strengthen the foundation of your claim.
Determining the Level of Emotional Distress
Emotional distress claims often require meeting a threshold to be eligible for compensation. This means that the emotional distress experienced must reach a certain level of severity, causing significant harm and disruption to one’s life. While the exact requirements vary depending on jurisdiction, understanding the severity threshold is imperative in evaluating the strength of your emotional distress claim.
When it comes to proving emotional distress in personal injury cases, documentation is key. Keep a record of any mental or emotional symptoms you experience after the incident. It’s also helpful to track any changes in your daily life, relationships, or work performance attributed to your emotional distress. Save any relevant documents, such as medical records or therapy session notes, that support your claims.
Seeking legal advice is always advisable to navigate this complex aspect of your case. Our personal injury lawyers in Portland can help you understand how your particular injury impacts your emotional well-being. If you believe you or a loved one has sustained a personal injury, contact Warren Allen, Attorneys at Law, to schedule your free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Portland.