Can I Sue for Emotional Distress?
Typically, accident victims file a claim with insurance companies for physical injuries or property damage. However, it’s important to note that most people also suffer from mental and emotional injuries following a severe accident, leaving them wondering whether they can sue for emotional distress or not.
While emotional distress may be challenging to quantify, it still exists and must be taken seriously at the time of filing a claim. In essence, accident victims can sue for emotional distress, although they must know what the process involves so that they can complete the process correctly.
Additionally, it’s vital for accident victims to work with the experienced car accident attorneys Des Moines provides at the time of filing for emotional distress since insurance companies tend to offer lower settlements for those without legal representation. This page covers everything regarding emotional distress and how accident victims may file a claim for it.
What Is Emotional Distress?
According to the Iowa law, emotional distress is a mental/emotional suffering type that comes as a result of a severe accident. Mental suffering may involve stress, anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, and others.
Courts of law in Iowa accept emotional distress as a damage type from which accident victims can recover damages through a civil lawsuit (as long as there’s enough evidence to support their claims).
Depending on the case, the court of law may require the victim to have also suffered physical injuries after the accident since it makes it easier for them to evaluate how much the victim can receive in compensation. Still, some accident cases have allowed victims who only suffered emotional distress to recover money for the damages caused.
Cases involving defamation or sexual abuse can apply for an emotional distress claim.
Emotional Distress Types
There are two different emotional distress types, and it’s vital for victims to know how to identify them.
Negligent Emotional Distress: It happens when the liable party does something that unintentionally causes the victim some emotional harm. While the victim itself doesn’t have to suffer any physical damages, they may still recover emotional distress compensation if they were in the danger zone.
Intentional Emotional Distress: As opposed to the previous type, intentional infliction of emotional distress happens where the liable party commits an act that intentionally harms the victim emotionally. In these cases, verbal abuse and tormenting can apply to emotional distress cases.
What Can Be Used as Evidence in an Emotional Distress Claim?
Regardless of the case, it’s critical for the victim and attorney to work with as much evidence as possible since it can help prove most of the claims and will help to determine settlement amounts. In the case of emotional distress, evidence can be a major factor since emotional damage is much harder to show than physical damage.
Some evidence items that can be used in an emotional distress claim include the following:
Medical Reports: If the victim has been seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist after the accident, that could be a significant factor in demonstrating emotional distress. It’s vital for the victim to seek medical help as soon as possible after experiencing the accident to ensure they get all the necessary reports.
Physical Injuries: While physical injuries, like whiplash, don’t prove emotional distress, they can lead to secondary problems, such as cognitive impairment or headaches, which can be linked to emotional distress.
Accident Severity: The more disturbing the accident was, the more likely that courts are going to rule for emotional distress, allowing the victim to claim compensation for all the damages caused. In these cases, gathering pictures and videos of the accident is a great idea.
Time: A victim’s emotional distress case can become much more credible depending on the time they’ve spent with emotional distress.
Testimonies: Doctors, family, and friends may be able to testify on how badly the accident affected the person’s life.
Filing for Emotional Distress
Filing for emotional distress doesn’t have to be much different from a personal injury case. Here, the victim needs to work with a professional so that they know which path to follow to claim as much compensation as possible.
● The process for filing an emotional distress claim involves the following:
● Documenting the distress and gathering as much evidence as possible
● Discussing the evidence and the case with an experienced attorney
● File the lawsuit
Working with an experienced lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa, is the key to winning an emotional distress case since it helps the victim organize their evidence much better. The team at Tom Fowler Law has experienced lawyers at the victims’ disposal to work around their cases and get them the compensation they deserve.