Posted on Wednesday, March 1st, 2023 at 2:00 pm
When someone else’s wrongdoing injures you, it can take an emotional toll. In Illinois, you can sometimes seek compensation for the emotional distress you experience in conjunction with an injury you suffered that was caused by another.
What is emotional distress?
In Illinois, the legal definition of “emotional distress” includes “significant” alarm, anxiety, or suffering. Proving emotional pain can be challenging because it is generally subjective. In the context of personal injury cases, emotional distress includes physical injury and one or more psychological injuries, such as:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic attacks
When is emotional distress a personal injury?
We’ve all experienced emotional distress, sometimes caused by someone else. However, not all emotional distress caused by someone else’s wrongdoing rises to a personal injury. Some common examples of when emotional distress constitutes a personal injury are:
- Bodily injury: Emotional distress can result when you are physically injured. This is because dealing with physical injuries can lead to anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions arising from your bodily injury.
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress: When someone intentionally causes emotional distress, it can lead to a personal injury claim. Therefore, you can seek compensation if someone has intentionally caused your emotional distress.
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress: If someone negligently causes you emotional distress, it can also lead to a personal injury claim. As a result, if you are experiencing emotional distress because of someone else’s negligent behavior, you can seek compensation.
Types of emotional distress damages
If someone’s wrongdoing caused your psychological injuries, there are several types of emotional distress compensation you can pursue, including:
- Compensation for your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.
- Compensation for any losses or expenses caused by your emotional distress, such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and therapy.
Proving emotional distress in court
Proving emotional distress is challenging because it is subjective and difficult to quantify. However, several key factors can help you establish an emotional distress claim, including:
- The severity of emotional symptoms: You should document how your emotional distress negatively affects your life. Documentation of your symptoms and their effect on your enjoyment of life can help your case.
- Duration of emotional distress: The more severe and long-lasting your emotional distress, the more likely you will have a personal injury case. Therefore, you should maintain documentation of the entirety of your emotional distress.
- Impact of emotional distress: The effect of emotional distress on your life and relationships can help establish whether your case raises to a personal injury case.
- Existence of underlying mental health condition: If you had a pre-existing mental health condition exacerbated by the respondent, it could help establish emotional distress in court.
Evidence used to support your emotional distress personal injury case
In Illinois, evidence is essential in proving your emotional distress claim. Some common evidence used to prove emotional distress claims includes:
- Medical records: If you sought medical treatment for your emotional distress, your medical history could show the treatment you received and the impact the emotional distress had on your life.
- Expert testimony: In some instances, you may need to retain an expert to testify to support your claim of emotional distress. The expert can testify about how the distress occurred, the extent of your emotional distress, its impact on your life, and the treatment required for your symptoms.
- Witness testimony: If you are experiencing emotional distress that your friends, family, or coworkers have witnessed, they can testify on your behalf. Their testimony should disclose changes in your behavior and the injury’s effect on your daily life.
- Emotional distress journal: Maintaining a journal outlining your symptoms can make a substantial difference in your case because an emotional distress journal helps show the severity of your injuries and the resultant changes in your life.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer for your emotional distress case
Working with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney can make getting compensation for your emotional distress case more likely. At Wallace Miller, we understand how devastating and impactful emotional distress can be. We can help you develop a strong claim for maximum compensation. We’ll investigate your case, collect the evidence to prove your case, and handle all communications with the insurance company for you. We’ll negotiate for a full settlement for your case, and we’ll take your case to court if a settlement can’t be reached.
Our attorneys can help you through the legal process and preserve your rights in your emotional distress case. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation at (312) 261-6193 to get started on your personal injury lawsuit.