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Grounds for Emotional Distress: Do You Qualify? 

If you were hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s careless actions, you have legal options to seek a financial recovery for your damages. California statutes on damages emphasize that victims who suffer any detriment from negligent misconduct can recover money from the at-fault party. These funds are intended to cover losses for the various ways accidental injuries affect the victim’s life.

However, some accidents are severe and impact the victim in profound ways. If you sustained physical injuries in the incident, you might also struggle with emotional trauma, mental anguish, and psychological harm. These complications can be more challenging to prove than physical injuries, even though you most certainly suffer. 

Sherman Oaks personal injury attorneys can overcome hurdles with actual proof, but some background information on grounds for emotional distress can help you understand whether you qualify.

 Non-economic damages may include emotional distress

 There are two types of damages in most personal injury accidents, the first of which is termed “economic.” These are ascertainable losses by dollar value, such as costs of medical treatment, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. The second type of damages is considered “non-economic” because these losses are more personal and subjective. You may not have a receipt or invoice, but your experience after being injured is still traumatic.

Emotional distress is a subset of non-economic damages, including the familiar concept of pain and suffering. Some examples of emotional distress after an accident includes:

  • Depression over physical limitations caused by your injuries
  • Anxiety and stress, perhaps because you keep re-living the accident experience
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts

Evidence to support a claim for emotional distress

In any personal injury accident claim, you must first establish the essential elements of negligence. But do it before you get to the issue of non-economic damages: You need to prove that the injury-causing accident occurred because the at-fault party breached the duty to exercise reasonable care, and you suffered losses as a result.

Challenges enter the picture with emotional distress because you do not have documentation regarding the exact dollar figures. It would help if you relied on other options for showing emotional distress, such as:

  • Medical records generated for treating physical injuries are helpful even if they do not specifically mention emotional implications. If the trauma was extreme, such as an amputation or compound fracture, there could be an inference that you suffer emotionally.
  • Psychotherapists and other medical experts who understand the brain’s inner workings can testify regarding the serious emotional injury a victim would suffer when being injured in an accident.

Consult with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer about damages

Hopefully, this overview of emotional distress and non-economic damages helps you understand the basic concepts. Because these issues are far more complex in a real-life accident case, it is important to retain experienced legal counsel for assistance. 

To learn more, please contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers at 213-985-1120 or via our website. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation to review your circumstances and explain the grounds for emotional distress in California.

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