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Proving Emotional Distress

by  on  News & Resources

After an accident or injury, the physical toll on your body is easily visible. You may have suffered bruises from where the seatbelt snapped back against you or your arm or leg may be broken from the impact of the collision. If your car or your property was damaged, you are likely able to provide evidence of that as well.

But your emotional distress doesn’t show up on a doctor’s report or a photograph from the scene. If you have been involved in a traumatic incident, like a car accident or a serious fall, the physical response is obvious, but the emotional damage may not be. Your distress, pain and continued mental anguish is hard to measure, and it’s even harder to demonstrate to a judge or jury, but it’s part of the full package of a personal injury case. 

What Does “Emotional Distress” Mean?

Emotional distress covers any psychological reactions that a person has to a traumatic injury or event. These reactions affect the victim’s daily life, from sleep loss to an inability to concentrate. Victims often have uncontrollable emotional reactions — crying, depression, fear, panic — following an accident, and these reactions can be hard to shake, so much so that the victim’s personal life may end up in chaos while he or she tries to handle the aftermath.

How Do You Prove It?

Proving emotional distress can involve a variety of factors, some of which are below:

  • Medical evidence — Although emotional distress does not have physical manifestations, it does have an impact on your health that can (and should) be evaluated by your doctor. Including an assessment from a physician or a psychologist in your claim can help demonstrate that your distress is real.
  • Related physical injuries — If you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, you may develop headaches as a result. If you can link the two (or other similar physical issues), you may be able to demonstrate the severity of your distress.
  • Intensity and duration — The longer you suffer, the more you should be able to recover. But for emotional distress, the length of your distress can provide a baseline for how serious the trauma is. For example, if you struggle with stress and anxiety six months after an accident, you may have underlying emotional pain to blame.
  • Underlying cause — The cause of your emotional trauma may lend credibility to your claim as well. If you were rear-ended, chances are you won’t recover much from an emotional distress claim. But if you were involved in a three-story slip and fall, for example, you could suffer extreme anxiety with respect to heights, which can be linked to your emotional response.

Emotional distress can be just as crippling as your physical injuries, even if it is harder to prove. For more information on your case, contact a Denver injury lawyer at Levine Law today.