What Kind of Damages Are Emotional Distress?
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What Kind of Damages Are Emotional Distress?

You may know about seeking compensation for lost income and medical expenses after suffering a personal injury stemming from negligence, but you can also recover for much less tangible losses like mental anguish and emotional distress.  

As a claimant in a personal injury lawsuit, you can usually pursue two types of reimbursement: economic and non-economic damages. Emotional distress falls under the umbrella of non-economic damages, which are ‘non-monetary’ losses that do not come with concrete documentation. 

Emotional distress is a type of non-economic damages 

The legal definition of emotional distress is the emotional “suffering in response to an experience caused by the negligence or intentional acts of another.” It can refer to a person’s psychological response to a traumatic accident that produces feelings such as anxiety, sadness, fear, humiliation, and shock. While it’s easy to produce receipts for property repairs or hospital bills, how do you demonstrate emotional distress that has diminished your quality of life? This type of non-economic injury does not have a readily available dollar figure but can be equally as detrimental in the long-run. 

Demonstrating that a negligent driver’s actions caused your vehicle damage and broken bones are relatively straightforward for a personal injury attorney. However, when it comes to substantiating intense mental suffering and major depression, your choice of legal representation can make or break your case.  

At Ellis Injury Law, headquartered in Los Angeles, we boast a proven history of obtaining high-dollar awards for our personal injury clients. In the past 25 years, we have won over $350 million dollars in settlements and verdicts, and can make sure your voice is heard. We have the resources to gather essential evidence that speaks to psychological after-effects, from medical evaluations and physician statements to personal witness accounts. 

Emotional distress takes many forms 

Suffering crippling anxiety, insomnia and feelings of hopelessness can all but eliminate one’s enjoyment of life. A medical diagnosis of PTSD or depression following a devastating car accident can be difficult to refute, but your lawyer will need to provide supporting evidence to strengthen a claim for emotional distress.  

Toward this end, it is critical that injury victims take steps to get their problems documented, diagnosed, and treated. An emotional distress claim will likely hinge on testimony from your treating mental health professional, and medical records. 

Emotional distress and mental anguish can take various forms. You may qualify for legal compensation for psychological symptoms after an accident that cause: 

  • PTSD 
  • Sleeplessness 
  • General anxiety 
  • Loss of confidence 
  • Terror/fear 
  • Depression 
  • Humiliation 
  • Panic attacks/ panic disorder 
  • Sorrow 
  • Isolating behavior 

The duration, intensity, and underlying cause for your emotional distress will factor into a claim for compensation. It is up to your legal counsel to show the financial and emotional burdens you have endured, thereby increasing the amount of your award. Most claims are resolved with an out-of-court settlement that is negotiated between the defendant’s insurer and your attorney. 

Maximize your damages for emotional suffering 

In California, there is no fixed standard for calculating non-economic damages such as emotional distress.  Every case is unique, and while some victims can bounce back to ‘normal’ after a trauma, others may need many months, if not years, of intensive counseling and treatment. 

The Los Angeles personal injury lawyers of Ellis Law can help you secure the money damages you are entitled to. We appreciate the severity and impact of emotional distress and are dedicated to achieving justice in every case we take on. 

Reach out to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation in any of our law offices in Southern California. There are no upfront costs, since we represent clients on a contingency-fee-basis, and are only paid if we settle or win your claim. 

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