A severe physical injury because of the negligence or recklessness of another person or entity may not be just physically traumatizing. As a severely injured person attempts to recover from physical wounds, they may also experience a multitude of distressing emotions. In fact, studies show that severe physical injuries can cause psychological, cognitive, and emotional overwhelm. To complicate the injury incident, a psychological impairment may impact physical recovery. Shreveport personal injury attorney, Joseph Greenwald, Jr. explains emotional distress damages after an injury.
What are Emotional Distress Damages?
Before your injury, you were happy, overall. Now, after your injury, newfound emotions have started to emerge, interfering with your quality of life. And, if you feel embarrassed or can’t publicly acknowledge new psychological issues such as:
- Terror and/or
- Unexplained crying episodes
You should know that these feelings are not unusual for a victim of a severe injury or illness.
For instance, the emotional trauma that comes from a slip-and-fall injury, car accident, assault, and other serious accidents can increase the risk of a person experiencing anxiety, depression, panic attacks, anger and frustration, isolative tendencies, decreased motivation, insomnia, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among other emotional problems. Many accident victims may also experience the pervading unease that the accident or illness could have killed them. This fear impacts their daily activities.
What are Examples of Emotional Distress Damages?
In many cases, a severely injured individual may also become overly cautious, afraid to do even simple things, such as:
- driving a car,
- returning to his or her job,
- visiting a store,
- dining at a restaurant, or
- even going for a walk.
If you secretly believe you’re the only person who’s ever felt this way after an injurious accident, you’re certainly not. While you may think that you shouldn’t be as upset as you are, how a person responds emotionally to an injury may differ substantially because each person’s coping mechanisms are unique to them. Though a brief initial emotional reaction to an injury is normal, longer-term negative emotions where the severity of emotional symptoms seem excessive may require treatment from a psychiatrist or therapist.
Common human responses to severe injuries include emotional distress and psychological trauma. So, lawmakers created avenues to monetarily compensate victims, not only for their physical damages but also their emotional suffering.
Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315
Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315 allows for financial compensation for physical injuries’ (economic damages) caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another and also provides compensation for emotional distress and anguish (non-economic damages) through insurance claims and civil lawsuits. So, though you can’t technically sue for mental anguish, you can receive damages for them in a personal injury lawsuit.
Is Emotional Distress the Same as Pain and Suffering?
Louisiana law provides for pain and suffering—emotional distress after an injury accident because of the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another—and may include recovery for the following but is not limited to this list:
- Emotional suffering
- Loss of enjoyment/quality of life
- Psychological distress and anxiety
- Loss of consortium and sexual relations
- Anguish over disfigurement, amputation, or paralysis
- Loss of companionship
When you file a claim or lawsuit for financial recovery or “compensatory damages,” the injuring party may be compelled or ordered to pay the injured person for both their physical injuries and their emotional harm.
How Do You Prove Emotional Distress Damages?
To successfully win a monetary recovery for pain and suffering, the injured person’s psychological distress must be severe, debilitating, and render a person unable to carry on as they did before the injury.
It’s vitally important that when you visit a doctor for your injury, you should also share your troubling psychological symptoms. Ideally, you should seek specialized psychiatric or psychological care. These types of doctors can better evaluate and diagnose your post-injury emotional problems. Of course, it’s not nearly enough to tell an insurance company or judge that you’re upset about your accident, and the more evidence you can produce of your emotional distress, the stronger such a claim will be. Because emotional wounds are invisible, it’s critical that your issues are medically documented if you hope to win any monetary settlement separate from your physical recovery.
Shreveport Attorney for Emotional Distress Damages
The Greenwald Law Firm has represented hundreds of injured people throughout Louisiana and has won settlements for both physical and emotional injuries caused by another. Greenwald earned a reputation for helping good people who’ve unfairly endured injuries. As experienced, skilled negotiators and litigators, they’ll fight aggressively for the just recovery you deserve.
If you have questions about your case or why you should hire a personal injury lawyer for your case, call Greenwald Law Firm at 318-313-0094, or request a free consultation at their conveniently located Shreveport office!