It is enormously difficult to prove emotional distress. Unlike broken bones and other injuries, there are no X-rays or scars to offer as proof. Emotional distress is mostly psychological, and while suffering can be great, a plaintiff can find it hard to prove that they are entitled to monetary damages. If a person is contemplating pursuing an emotional distress claim, they have a few ways to document their damages.
The more severe the anguish a person has suffered, the greater the chance they have to prove that the distress was significant enough to justify compensation. In some instances, particularly those involving a negligent infliction of distress, courts typically require the presence of a physical injury that can be shown to be related to the emotional injury.
To increase the likelihood of receiving damages, the person’s emotional distress must be of substantial duration. Recurring and persistent pain that remains with the plaintiff for a long time, such as post-traumatic stress, can document the extent of the claimant’s emotional distress.
Associated Bodily Harm
While it is often hard for clients to point to evidence of emotional distress, a personal injury attorney and his or her client can offer proof of related injuries such as headaches, ulcers, and additional indicators. Emotional injuries often manifest themselves in physical ways, and if a plaintiff can prove that his/her physical injuries are the result of emotional distress, they are more likely to win monetary damages.
The more severe the cause of the distress, the more likely it is that the court will find in the plaintiff’s favor. For instance, surviving a terrorist attack may be more likely to support the plaintiff’s claim than if they were a victim of a minor auto collision that did not result in physical injury.
A plaintiff should have a note from a psychologist or physician to support his/her claims of emotional distress. Favorable outcomes are often achieved when claimants and attorneys combine multiple sources of documentation. If a person makes an emotional distress claim, they should work with an experienced injury attorney who can guide them through the case.