It is very common to sue someone for causing physical suffering. But what we often don’t realize is that mental distress is as serious as the former one. Emotional suffering can result in anxiety, panic order, depression, leading even to suicide. That makes one equally faulty for causing misery as causing physical harm.
But the main question is, is it possible to sue for emotional distress? If there is no way to measure or prove emotional state, how to sue someone? And most importantly, how do you know if there is a case at all?
What is Emotional Distress According to Law
When someone harms you physically, you suffer from injuries. And many times, the injury comes with psychological damages. But you don’t always have to suffer from physical damage to go through emotional distress. You can be in pain by someone’s words, activities, or attitudes.
In general, emotional distress is something that can be described as mental stress. Everyone has suffered or felt some stress in their life. But when this stress starts to take control of your life and affects your day-to-day life, this can be called emotional distress.
Thus, aware of this, even the judges tend to consider the claims for damages for emotional distress very cautiously. It is not enough to argue that a certain fact was a source of stress to obtain compensation. It is necessary to demonstrate the actual existence and extent of such damage. It is a burden that cannot be resolved in simple declarations- generic, abstract or hypothetical – but must be proven in detail.
How to Understand if You are Under Emotional Distress?
The faces of emotional distress vary from person to person. Some may have extremely open reactions, whereas some may not even have any symptoms. There is no way to measure someone’s anguish. And that is why suing someone for emotional distress is very tough.
However, you can see some common patterns of symptoms among the sufferers:
It is one of the most common symptoms of mental stress. Anxiety can lead up to depression. It can stop you from doing common things out of fear. For example, driving may be difficult for the victim after a car accident.
Bottled-up emotional distress can result in bursting out, emotional breakdown. Sometimes anger and bitterness hamper one’s daily life, relationship even health.
Even if you have no-fault, the guilt can take over your mental health. Treating yourself as the reason for the disaster is suffocating and humiliating.
This may sound very simple, but it is not. Insomnia has severe effects on health- both mental and physical. Losing sleep can lead to other physical problems.
Overstress, mental suffering or distress can make you lose your appetite and result in losing weight.
Other symptoms may be:
- Losing memory;
- Mood swings;
- Panic attack etc.
Is it Possible to Sue for Emotional Distress? When Can You Sue?
Yes, it is.
But it is not as simple as it sounds. The most important thing in such cases is the proof. And as we said earlier, unlike physical damage, emotional distress is difficult to prove. However, if you can get past the difficult part, it is possible to sue someone for physical distress.
Before filing for a case, you need to know when you can actually sue someone.
- When someone intentionally does something to affect you
When the defendant takes any action with the intention to cause harm to you, you can file a case against them. This is called intentional infliction. For example: bullying the victim to such an extent that it takes a toll on their mental health.
- When someone unintentionally harms the victim’s mental peace
In such an instance, the defendant does something without the intention to harm the victim but ends up doing so. This is called negligent infliction. For example, if a drunk driver kills your partner, you can sue him for causing emotional distress.
How to Sue for Emotional Stress?
If you feel like you are suffering from emotional stress or anguish, you can take a step against whoever is causing them. Here are a few steps that will help you to understand the process:
- Detect the type of infliction
The victim needs to prove the infliction by the defendant. That’s why it is important to determine if they are intentionally or unintentionally causing you the pain.
- Evidence or documents
To support your claim, you will have to submit the necessary evidence. The emotional damage can be quite difficult to prove. Collect all the documents, medical records, personal journals etc. The medical assessment reports can help you a lot in such cases to prove your point.
- Seek professional help
The best way to get a positive result is to contact a professional. Consult an attorney who has experience in this field. They will be able to guide you and help you to get the best possible result. Then you can file a case against the plaintiff.
- In the court
Once your attorney has all the documents and information, it is time to file the case. Usually, there is a step where both the parties can try to settle the case outside the court. But if that doesn’t go well, you can always go to court for justice.
The court will decide if you are entitled to justice or not.
Like we already said, emotional distress is way more difficult to prove than physical damage. But it is as terrifying as the physical distress. Unfortunately, not many understand that you are entitled to compensation for emotional damages too. All you need is a good attorney who will lead you in the right direction.