How to Claim for Emotional Distress After a Personal Injury


A British study on car accident victims found that one-third of the victims that were involved in a non-fatal crash experienced posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and fears, up to one year after the accident. Some had recovered emotionally within three months, but others had persistent issues of phobias and anxiety even after the one-year anniversary of the accident.

Financial problems after personal injury or disability caused by accidents will exacerbate this emotional distress. The CDC reports that 17.4 million Americans with disabilities have 4.6 times more emotional distress or mental distress than those without disabilities. If you have been injured or disabled after a car accident or workplace injury, and are suffering emotionally, you are not alone. There is a legal remedy for this, and that is claiming for emotional distress after a personal injury. The law recognizes this as something that you are entitled to.

What is Emotional Distress After Personal Injury?

Emotional distress after a personal injury is expected and includes every negative emotion that impacts your life negatively after an accident or injury. You might worry more, be afraid to drive now, lose concentration, or just cry more for no reason at all.

When emotional distress claims are brought to court, the court wants to hear how you have suffered emotionally from this trauma. This is along the lines of pain and suffering, but emotional distress can be a separate claim.

Don’t listen to anybody that tries to tell you that your emotional distress doesn’t matter. It matters. It impacts your sleep, which in itself could ruin your life. It impacts your ability to work, your ability to parent or be a spouse or partner, and it impacts the tiniest parts of daily living.

You didn’t ask for this to happen to you.

Proving You Suffer Emotional Distress

It is presumed by judges and insurance companies that you will suffer emotionally after a car accident or personal injury. It’s common sense. You don’t have to prove emotional distress as much as you think. It’s not in your head. You’re upset. You’re entitled to that.

That said, the more you can prove, the more compensation you may be able to claim. Here are some ways that you can document your emotions should you ever need to talk to a jury or judge about how trauma is impacting your life:

  • Journal. Write down every time that you are sad or experiencing fears and anxiety.
  • Sleeplessness can cause emotional distress. Document what you take to help you sleep, how many nights a week you can’t sleep, and what happens or goes through your mind when you are kept awake.
  • Get support from friends and family. They are watching you go through something. Ask them to provide statements about what you are going through. People that love you want you out of trauma. If statements to a jury will help alleviate your burden by providing financial assistance, they will do it.

Ask an Expert

You may not even be thinking about how all of these sleepless nights or car phobias are worth damages. A good lawyer will be though. Talk to them about everything you are going through now.

Ask your personal injury lawyer what kind of documentation they can use to help support your emotional distress claim.

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