You may think that emotional distress doesn’t qualify under personal injuries, however emotional distress damages can be very vital to your case. In addition to any economic damages such as medical bills or lost wages, you can get compensation for pain and suffering.

Each jurisdiction is different when it comes to emotional distress in a personal injury lawsuit. Depending on the nature of your injuries, physically and emotionally, the amount and availability can range greatly. Even if you choose not to file a suit, you may still be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, which will includes damages for emotional distress.

What is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress is a kind of conduct that is so awful that is causes severe emotional trauma in the victim. Emotional distress in a personal injury lawsuit is designed to compensate for the psychological impact your injury has on your daily life.

Sleep loss, fear, anxiety, depression – these are all considered emotional distress damages. Emotional distress changes from person to person, which makes it have no firm and fast decision. Because of this, if you are experiencing psychological symptoms after an accident, you should note them.

Severity of Emotional Distress

The severity of your emotional distress does matter. Because emotional distress happens to everyone after an injury, the severity must have a direct impact on your potential for recovery. This means it is important to document any feelings you’re having to a medical provider.

You will need to show your emotional distress is ongoing, is directly related to the physical injuries and affects the basic way you live your life. People with pre-existing psychological conditions are not excluded from collecting emotional distress damages, but it is easier to claim the damages if you can show your emotional distress didn’t begin until after your accident.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Some cases may include a separate claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Although not as common, in some personal injury cases you may be able to prove that the defendant was negligent or clearly intended to cause emotional distress as well as physical harm. Road rage cases are prime candidates for separate emotional distress causes of action. In these cases, your recovery for emotional distress could be significantly higher.

Documenting Emotional Distress

If your injuries have caused you to file a claim, you’ll be seeking medical treatment. When you see your doctor, talk to him/her about any psychological symptoms you’ve experienced since the accident. Medically documented emotional distress can be used in both lawsuits and claims with an insurance company.

Keeping a daily journal documenting how you’re feeling after the accident and the ways that it’s affected your life is also a useful tool. The more evidence of your emotional distress you have, the stronger your claim will be.

Emotional Distress Damages Caps 

Many states have laws that limit how much you can be paid for non-economic damages. Depending on the laws of your jurisdiction and the types of injuries, emotional distress damages may not even be an option.

Although there is skepticism mounted on any claim for emotional distress, it is still a very real result of being injured. The fact of the matter is that physical injuries often have psychological ramifications. Fear of driving a car after an accident, depression during a long rehabilitation and agoraphobia after an assault are all emotional conditions that should be compensable as part of your injury claim.

It is important to have a qualified personal injury attorney to review your case. They will help guide you as to what you may possibly qualify for in damages. At Balkin Law, we help you fight for your rights to receive emotional distress damages you may have after an accident. Visit our site at for more information or call us at 1-800-THE-BULL. We’re here for you.