Emotional distress is one of the many types of injuries recognized by personal injury laws. If you or your loved one has endured stressful times due to someone else's actions, you may be eligible for compensation with the help of an emotional distress attorney. Here is everything you need to know about suing someone for stress.
When you sue someone for stress, this kind of lawsuit is known as an emotional distress lawsuit. Emotional distress is when someone causes you emotional pain or distress due to their negligent or intentional actions.
The following are some of the most common grounds for filing an emotional distress lawsuit:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is a condition in which an individual struggles to recover after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. For so long, PTSD has been associated with members of the military. But recent studies have shown that PTSD is now a significant issue of concern even beyond the battlefield.
For example, in personal injury cases, many attorneys have dealt with clients who have severe cases of PTSD. For example, an individual who slipped and fell at a grocery store, breaking their spinal cord, might struggle with PTSD every time they go shopping. Unfortunately, such cases happen every time.
The same applies to product liability cases. When a child gets injured while playing with a defective toy, they may suffer from PTSD, preventing them from enjoying playing with their favorite toys as other children would.
Depression or Anxiety
Many people suffer from depression and anxiety for different reasons. Even worse is that some of these cases are caused by someone else's negligence or intentional actions.
A good example is when someone slanders you. In that case, you need to speak with an experienced defamation attorney. The attorney will review your case, and if you have a valid claim, you may be able to seek compensation for different damages, such as emotional stress that manifests itself in the form of depression and anxiety.
Loss of Consortium
The spouse of the injured individual or their family member can file a loss of consortium claim or lawsuit against the defendant. Loss of consortium refers to the deprivation of certain benefits of a family relationship due to the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. These injuries are usually caused by the defendant.
It is important to note that the word 'consortium' refers to the association between two married people. However, a loss of consortium lawsuit is not restricted to married people alone. As mentioned before, a family member of the plaintiff can also file this claim.
Below is an example of a situation that would warrant a loss of consortium claim following an emotional distress lawsuit.
John and his wife used to walk to the local park every evening. When John suffered emotional distress caused by the defendant, he fell into depression. As a result, he could no longer go out for a walk with his wife for several months.
John's depression grew to the point that he began to contemplate suicide. His wife, constantly worried about him, had to see a therapist several times a week. As a result of the loss of consortium (the companionship that once existed between the couple), John's wife may be able to file a separate loss of consortium claim against the individual or entity that caused her husband emotional distress.
You may also be able to sue the other party if they humiliated you in public and the humiliation caused you extreme pain and suffering, among other damages. Some people act recklessly through their speech or actions. And when they do, other innocent people suffer the consequences. Humiliation, especially in public, can lead to great emotional distress and suffering.
Some people lose their jobs, families, friendships, and so much more following public humiliation. For instance, when someone writes and publishes a false story about you on social media, in a local newspaper, or elsewhere, you may be criticized and bullied by some readers.
But what if the individual who wrote the story did not conduct reasonable research to get the facts right? What if they published it out of malice to tarnish your reputation? In that case, you may be able to sue them for mental stress and suffering due to the humiliation you endured.
However, for this to work, you must also demonstrate that the humiliation harmed you in one way or another. Losing your job, family, or friends, being prosecuted, and receiving death threats, are all excellent examples of damages suffered as a result of humiliation.
Reduced Quality of Life
Everyone has a right to live a good quality life. But sometimes, people's negligent or intentional actions can significantly influence other people's quality of life. For example, when someone's actions cause you extreme stress, you will not enjoy doing certain things you used to.
Let's go back to the initial example we used about John and his wife. Since John enjoyed walking with his wife, one can argue that his quality of life drastically reduced when he sank into depression. A skilled personal injury attorney might be able to include this claim or anything along those lines in the lawsuit.
Types of Emotional Distress Lawsuits
As mentioned before, emotional distress lawsuits fall into two different categories. We will discuss them below.
This kind of lawsuit targets individuals whose negligent actions have caused extreme pain and suffering to others. Also, note that this claim does not need to be filed by the individual directly harmed by the defendant's negligent actions.
For example, a parent who has witnessed their kid being hit by a drunk driver may file an emotional distress claim. The argument is that the parent witnessed the incident, which caused them extreme emotional distress.
You can also sue for emotional distress caused by someone's intentional actions. Using the example we discussed earlier, when someone publishes false stories about you to tarnish your reputation, you may be able to sue them for emotional stress. This is because despite knowing that the claims about you are false, or being in a position to know that, the individual still chose to damage your reputation.