Personal Injury Mental Anguish

Personal Injury Mental Anguish

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Personal Injury Mental Anguish

Mental anguish is not as apparent as a physical injury, such as a broken arm. However, emotional distress from a traumatic car crash or physical assault can haunt you for years and, in some cases, for the rest of your life.

While it is impossible to turn back the time, receiving adequate compensation with a personal injury lawsuit can help victims access psychological counseling and other beneficial therapies that could drastically improve their life.

If you suffered harm due to the negligent conduct of another party, you deserve to be “made whole” again. Morgan & Morgan is here for you. Our determined personal injury lawyers are ready to fight for full and fair compensation for all your damages, including financial losses, physical pain, and mental anguish. Contact us today for a free case review to learn about your legal rights.

What Qualifies as Mental Anguish in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

In personal injury lawsuits, mental anguish describes the emotional distress and mental turmoil a person experiences due to their involvement in a traumatic event, such as a car accident, physical assault, or medical malpractice. For victims, the mental anguish can be just as debilitating as physical injuries and have long-term effects on a person's well-being and quality of life.

In general, to qualify for an award for mental anguish in a personal injury lawsuit, the following conditions should be met:

  • The mental anguish the victim experienced must go beyond the normal emotional distress that a reasonable person would experience in similar circumstances.
  • Emotional distress must be caused by the injury or accident and not result from pre-existing emotional or psychological conditions.
  • The mental anguish must be measurable: The victim’s emotional distress must be evaluated in some way, such as through therapy sessions or medical treatment.

Can You Only Claim Mental Anguish Damages With a Physical Injury?

Typically, those physically hurt due to the negligence of another may also pursue damages for emotional distress. However, in exceptional circumstances, victims may be able to claim damages for mental suffering without a physical injury. After all, emotional distress can result from various situations, including witnessing a traumatic event or experiencing harassment.

However, proving a claim for emotional damages without an accompanying physical injury can be highly challenging. You would have to demonstrate that the emotional distress directly resulted from the at-fault party’s actions and that your suffering is severe enough to impact your life profoundly. Moreover, whether or not you can pursue damages for an emotional injury also depends on the laws in your state.

If you are considering filing a claim for mental distress, speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer who can help you understand all your options for recovering compensation.

The Effects of Mental Anguish on Victims

The effects of mental anguish can vary significantly from one person to another. However, victims may experience some of the following symptoms after a traumatic experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anger
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Flashbacks
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Fears, such as being afraid to drive a car or leave the home

These symptoms can make it difficult for individuals to go on with their daily lives, whether at work or home. Victims may even find it impossible to participate in activities and hobbies they once loved.

The Physical Effects of Mental Distress

Emotional anguish does not only have effects on a victim’s psyche but can also impact their physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, emotional stress can affect the entire body and cause the following physical symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Panic attacks
  • Pain in the chest
  • Muscle pain or tension
  • Upset stomach
  • Fatigue

The Harvard Medical School goes even further and says that emotional trauma from car accidents and violent assaults can potentially trigger severe diseases later in life, including stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and even cancer.

Morgan & Morgan knows it is unfair that you should suffer not only physical injuries but also potentially debilitating emotional problems due to someone else’s carelessness or recklessness. We want to help. Our personal injury lawyers are here for you 24/7. We can assess your specific legal situation in a free case review whenever you feel ready.

Proving Mental Anguish in Personal Injury Claims

Proving emotional distress in personal injury claims can be challenging because, unlike physical injuries, emotional injuries are invisible. However, there are several ways that injury victims can demonstrate the effects of mental anguish in their claims:

Medical records: A mental health professional's diagnosis and treatment plan for anxiety, depression, or other forms of mental distress can help establish proof of your claim.

Statements from mental health professionals: Mental health providers, such as psychologists or psychiatrists, can strengthen your claim by providing expert testimony on the diagnosis and treatment of your mental anguish.

Testimony from friends and family: Loved ones can describe how the injury has affected your mental state and everyday life.

Journal entries: Personal journals, diaries, and other written documentation can provide insight into your emotional state and how the injury has affected your mental health.

Personal statements: As the victim, you can also provide powerful personal insights and explain how the emotional distress from an accident has affected your career, home life, and overall well-being.

Unfortunately, mental anguish, while feeling very real and distressing for the victim, can be challenging to prove in a lawsuit. Moreover, insurance companies may dispute claims for emotional distress vigorously.

Therefore, working with a tenacious personal injury lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can give you the best chance of proving mental anguish and recovering an adequate settlement. An experienced attorney can gather and powerfully present the evidence supporting a claim.

Compensation for Mental Anguish in Personal Injury Claims

Emotional distress, unlike monetary losses and medical expenses, cannot be proven with receipts. Placing a dollar amount on a victim’s emotional suffering is typically challenging and can depend on various factors, such as:

  • The type of accident or incident leading to the mental anguish
  • The victim’s prior lifestyle
  • The severity of a victim’s physical injuries
  • The extent of the medical expenses

Damages You Could Receive

If you experienced an injury and emotional distress as a result of another’s negligent or deliberate conduct, you could be entitled to various awards, including but not limited to:  

  • Expenses for medical treatments and psychological counseling
  • The cost of medications
  • Income loss and future loss of wages
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of life enjoyment

In rare cases, victims could collect punitive damages in addition to compensation. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing and deter similar behavior in the future. A court may award punitive damages for severe emotional distress.

If you believe you suffered mental anguish after an accident or incident, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Proving damages for emotional distress can be tricky and usually requires mental health expert witness testimony and the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.  

How Personal Injury Lawyers Put a Dollar Amount on Mental Anguish

While determining the value of physical injuries and related expenses is usually straightforward, the calculation of emotional distress can be a complex process requiring the help of a seasoned personal injury attorney. In calculating an amount, your attorney may factor in the following circumstances:

  • The severity and duration of distress
  • Your age, health, and lifestyle
  • Medical expenses as a result of a physical injury
  • Lost income due to emotional or physical injuries

Calculating an amount for mental anguish can be somewhat subjective. However, attorneys typically use the so-called “multiplier method” or a “per diem” calculation to arrive at a figure for a personal injury victim’s mental distress.

The Multiplier Method

Most personal injury attorneys use the multiplier method when calculating damages for mental anguish. The process involves multiplying the amount of expenses (medical expenses, income losses, etc.) by a number, usually between 1.5 and 5, to determine the figure for emotional distress.

The multiplying number chosen usually depends on the severity of the victim’s physical injuries and the extent of their emotional suffering. For example, if you suffered life-changing or disabling injuries, the multiplier figure should be closer to 5. Likewise, if you only suffered relatively minor injuries and are expected to recover quickly, the figure used to calculate your emotional damages will be closer to 1.5.  

The “Per Diem” Method

Another method personal injury lawyers use to determine emotional suffering damages is the per diem approach. This method is based on calculating a daily dollar amount relating to the victim’s suffering and multiplying this amount by the number of days the individual is expected to experience emotional distress.

Expert Witness Testimony

Personal injury attorneys may present expert witness testimony to support their calculation of emotional distress damages. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other health providers can provide statements regarding the extent of the victim’s emotional distress, the likelihood of future suffering, and the impact of the injury on the individual’s life.

Why Victims Should Work With a Personal Injury Attorney

The extent of emotional distress can vary between individuals, even if they were involved in the same incident and have similar injuries. A compassionate and experienced personal injury lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can calculate your losses adequately after assessing your personal circumstances and determining how your emotional injury impacts your home life, career, and overall health.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • How Do I Maximize Compensation for Mental Anguish?

    When seeking compensation for mental anguish in personal injury claims, working with an experienced and tenacious personal injury lawyer is critical. An attorney can help you build a strong case and pursue all available forms of compensation, including an award for mental anguish.

    However, you can also help to maximize your recovery by documenting all instances of mental distress, for example, with a diary or journal. Moreover, seeking treatment from a mental health professional can also help to substantiate your claim and maximize your compensation for mental anguish. Ask friends, family members, and co-workers if they are prepared to testify on your behalf.

  • Which Personal Injury Claims Qualify for Mental Distress Compensation?

    In general, victims in most types of personal injury claims could pursue awards for emotional distress. Common claims we see in our practice include:

    • Traffic accidents
    • Medical errors
    • Dog attacks
    • Workplace accidents
    • Slips and falls
    • Dangerous products
    • Assault and battery
    • Nursing home abuse and neglect

    However, to receive compensation for mental distress, victims must prove that their emotional suffering directly resulted from the incident or physical injury and was not pre-existing. They must also demonstrate that the mental anguish they experience is severe and significantly impacts their lives.

  • Are There Limits for Mental Anguish Damages?

    Some states impose caps (maximum amounts recoverable) on the compensation available for mental distress and other so-called “non-economic damages.” A personal injury lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can explain your options and determine the amount you could recover for mental anguish in your state.

  • Morgan & Morgan Is Here for You

    Morgan & Morgan understands that a traumatic accident or incident can turn your entire life upside down. Frequently, harmed individuals come to us struggling with anxiety, feelings of depression, and hopelessness. Moreover, the whole family may be negatively impacted when a victim’s mental health declines.

    You don’t have to suffer alone. Although the road to recovery may be long, adequate compensation can help you access the resources required to heal physically and mentally. You can count on us. Morgan & Morgan has helped injured individuals and their families receive what they deserve for over 30 years.

    Our tenacious personal injury lawyers are here to help you put your life back together after a traumatic accident. We don’t charge you a dime unless and until we recover compensation for you. Get started today and contact us for a free and confidential case review.

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