Seeking Damages for Emotional Distress
Personal injury cases, which involve negligent people causing harm to other individuals, are not only about seeking compensation for physical injuries.
Personal injury cases, which involve negligent people causing harm to other individuals, are not only about seeking compensation for physical injuries. In some cases in which victims experience emotional distress, this civil action will also allow them to recover damages from this non-economic injury.
In personal injury law, emotional distress is a mental anguish (such as grief, fright, humiliation, and stress) experienced by victims and their families after an accident resulting to injuries.
However, a feeling of sorrow does not necessarily amount to mental anguish. According to personal injury lawyers, a victim should prove the following factors in order to file damages based on emotional distress:
• The distress is more than temporary, thus affecting life’s basic activities.
• The emotional distress is “medically” significant.
• The defendant has directly caused the mental anguish.
• The victim also sustained physical injuries.
In some cases in which the defendant’s action has the intent to harm or has been considered extremely negligent by the court, his victim can file a separate claim for emotional distress aside from the damages for physical injuries.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress can also be proven by showing that the defendant knew (just like any reasonable person) that his action will cause mental anguish to his victim.
In case the court believes that a defendant has no intent to cause harm or if his action is not considered as “outrageously” negligent, it may not award the victim with damages for emotional distress.
Meanwhile, personal injury victims are not the only ones who can file for emotional distress claims. In case that an accident has resulted to death, surviving relatives (who are usually the closest family members) can file for this damages which is usually covered by wrongful death law.
Recover Damages in Personal Injury Case
Because personal injury lawsuit is a civil action, this can be resolved in out-of-court settlement which allows victims to recover damages quicker than in formal lawsuit which usually takes several months or even years.
According to lawyers, majority of personal injury cases have been resolved through out-of-court settlements which also eliminate the expenses of formal litigation.
But in cases in which the defendants refuse to give legal remedies or the victims are seeking more damages, the best legal action is to file a court lawsuit.
To have a better chance to recover damages, it would be advisable for victims to hire lawyers who specialize in the field of personal injury law.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mesriani Law Group
Mesriani Law Group is an LA-based law firm that specializes in personal injury, employment and labor, social security and disability, and business and corporate cases. Under the helm of its founder, Rodney Mesriani the firm has been successfully representing clients for more than 15 years now. As a full service law firm, Mesriani Law Group provides high-quality and efficient legal representation by combining its unique business structure with the application of high-tech, cutting edge technology.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.