What Is Emotional Distress and How Can I Prove It?
When you are injured in an accident that was caused by another party’s negligence, you may suffer physical injuries as well as emotional injuries. Emotional harm or distress can have just as much impact on your life as physical injuries. In some instances, emotional harm can leave a victim more in pain than physical injuries, such as broken bones.
While emotional distress may not be as easy to identify as physical injuries, those who have suffered emotional and mental harm know the pain is all too real. Emotional distress can be disabling and debilitating.
Defining Emotional Distress
Emotional distress can manifest in a number of different ways, including:
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive fears
- New onset phobias
- Frightening flashbacks
- Anguish and sorrow
- An inability to function at work or in daily life
- Social anxiety
- Inability to concentrate
- Major depression
The extensive list above includes the various examples of emotional distress that can be brought on by an accident, injury or other types of trauma.
Two Legal Forms of Emotional Distress
The law recognizes two forms of emotional distress, hinging on whether the responsible party caused the harm negligently or intentionally. Most claims are for negligent infliction of emotional distress, in which the other party inflicted the harm negligently or in the same manner in which the physical injuries were caused.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress occurs when the responsible party either intends to cause emotional harm, or acts in such an outrageous or reckless manner that they should have reasonably known that emotional harm would result.
Proving Emotional Distress
The court is likely to examine whether your emotional distress has created any physical effects. Physical symptoms, such as panic attacks, sleep disturbances, hair loss, vomiting, headaches or an inability to eat are all physical manifestations of an emotional injury.
In New Jersey, expert testimony is not required to establish emotional distress. Rather, you will testify before a judge and jury as to your symptoms and how your life has been affected by the emotional distress.
A Compassionate Personal Injury Attorney Can Help. Call Us Today!
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney, please call the Law Offices of Dan T. Matrafajlo at (908) 248-4404.