Think it’s Easy to Prove an Emotional Distress Claim?

  • Dan T. Matrafajlo
  • Fri Aug 2016
  • Personal Injury,
  • 0

Injuries can be traumatic.  There’s no doubt that they can result in emotional distress.  But, just how easy is it to prove emotional distress claims?  It’s not like an elevated number will magically appear on a blood test.  Or, that shattered emotions show up on x-rays.

As experienced personal injury attorneys, we know that proving emotional distress claims can be challenging.  There are a few factors that come into play.  Cause and effect come to mind.  Preexisting conditions.   And, then there’s also the issue of whether one can suffer emotional distress while watching a loved one sustain serious injuries.

Emotional Distress Claims Resulting from Seeing a Loved One Suffer

Emotional Distress ClaimWe will begin by telling you a story that made law over three decades ago.  It was every parent’s worst nightmare.  Renee Portee’s young son, Guy became trapped in an apartment building elevator door.  The elevator suddenly went into motion and dragged the youngster to the third floor.

Renee ran upstairs and could not release her son.  Guy was crying in agony and flailing in pain.  Emergency personnel arrived at the scene.  They worked for four and a half hours before they were able to release the young boy. Guy suffered multiple injuries, and died while he was still trapped.

The mother was not permitted to touch her son during the rescue attempts.  She watched helplessly.  Obviously, Renee suffered severe emotional distress.  The law allowing emotional distress claims for those who witness loved ones suffer is aptly referred to as Portee claims.  You can read the entirely of this case here.

The court’s ruling set forth the basics for what is necessary to pursue this type of claim:

  • Someone else must have been responsible for the injuries or death of the loved one
  • The person making the claim must be a family member
  • The individual must have actually witnessed the incident
  • There must be evidence of severe emotional distress

Emotional Distress Claims and Personal Injury Actions

But, what about emotional distress claims for your own case?  What do you and your attorney need to prove them?  Here are some important factors that will be taken into consideration:

  • Was there any type of physical injury?
  • What were the circumstances of the accident?
  • Do you suffer from headaches or stomach issues that point to emotional problems?
  • Did you have preexisting emotional problems?
  • Have you received treatment for emotional distress?
  • Has a medical provider documented that the emotional distress is related to the accident?

Contact Us

At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we have worked on personal injury claims of any types for many years.  We will help you determine if an emotional distress claim is appropriate to your case.  Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

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