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What Is It Called When You Sue Someone for Stress?

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What Is It Called When You Sue Someone for Stress?

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. 

Negligent Actions

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. 

Intentional Actions

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. 

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  • How Do You Prove Emotional Distress?

    Since emotional distress is not a visible injury, you may have a rougher time proving it to the judge. However, having an experienced emotional distress attorney significantly increases your chances of filing a successful lawsuit. This is because an experienced personal injury attorney knows what exactly counts as evidence of emotional distress and what does not. And given that personal injury cases are never the same, what works for one plaintiff might not work for you.

    Here are some common examples of evidence that could be used to support an emotional distress lawsuit: 

    Physical Injuries

    Although emotional distress is not visible to the naked eye, an experienced attorney may be able to link it with your physical injuries. For example, if you suffered cognitive impairment due to a physical injury inflicted on you by the defendant, this could be a major sign of emotional distress. The same applies to injuries that cause symptoms such as stomach discomfort, anxiety, headaches, etc. 

    The Length of the Distress

    The judge will most likely believe your case if you suffered mental distress for an extended period. You can prove this by providing copies of your medical reports, such as your trips to the psychologist. 

    The Severity of the Initial Injury

    Mental distress is a type of injury that is usually caused by another injury. To prove mental distress, the court will examine the severity of the initial injury. For instance, suppose you suffered mental distress after a car accident. In that case, the court will examine the severity of the car accident. 

    Did anyone die in the accident? Did anyone suffer permanent injuries? These are some of the factors the court will consider when determining the severity of the injury that caused the plaintiff mental distress. Generally, the more severe the initial incident, the higher chances of obtaining a favorable ruling when you file a mental distress claim. 


    The court will also review various testimonies to establish the severity of mental distress suffered by the plaintiff. For example, if they sought the assistance of a therapist, the court will review statements from the therapist to get an idea of how serious this condition was to the plaintiff. Other helpful testimonies include those from friends, family members, doctors, co-workers, etc. 

  • What Can I Do if I Have Suffered Mental Distress Due to Someone's Actions?

    You may be eligible for compensation if you or your loved one has suffered emotional distress due to someone's negligent or intentional actions. However, your eligibility depends on the steps you take after the incident. Here are some quick tips to guide you. 

    Documenting your distress gives the jury a deeper understanding of your feelings since distress is not a physical injury. Therefore, make sure you collect any important information, such as your medical records, work records, performance reports, personal diaries and journals, and any other relevant pieces of evidence. 

    The jury will most likely believe your story if it is well-documented. On the other hand, if your story is not well-documented, the defendant could claim that you made it up. This could make it even more difficult for you to prove your case. 

    Next, contact an experienced emotional distress attorney. Such an attorney understands what it takes to prove emotional distress and other invisible injuries. When contacting an attorney, be honest with them about how you feel. Other than filing a lawsuit on your behalf, an attorney can also assist you in finding the help you need to recover or at least manage your condition. 

  • Morgan & Morgan Emotional Distress Lawyers Are Ready to Help You

    You probably understand how complex it is to prove emotional distress. When you're going through tremendous emotional pain, the last thing you want is to tackle such a case all by yourself. Such a decision could lead you to even more pain.

    Interacting or communicating with the defense or their representatives in these cases is never advisable. They will manipulate you emotionally, making everything even worse for you. There have been cases in the past where plaintiffs have had to abandon their cases halfway due to the emotional roller coaster involved. For instance, one of the most common defenses the other party could use against you is that you are faking your pain. 

    This allegation can be heartbreaking and insulting at the same time. The last thing you want when you're in deep mental, emotional, and physical pain, is someone to make fun of you or dismiss your feelings. But the defense can sometimes be shameless, especially when you do not have an attorney. They know you are defenseless at such a time, and they will do anything to break you and have their way. 

    Remember, since emotional distress lawsuits are difficult to prove, chances are you will need an attorney to conduct many legal investigations. For example, if you suffered emotional distress because someone published defamatory contact about you, you will need an attorney to help prove that the defendant's actions were negligent or intentional.

    On the other hand, all the defendants must prove that they did not act negligently or intentionally.

    The bottom line is that these kinds of cases involve a lot of legal technicalities that an experienced emotional distress lawyer can help you navigate. And when it comes to having powerful legal resources to investigate these incidents, no other personal injury law firm in the United States comes close to Morgan & Morgan.

    If you or your loved one has suffered emotional distress due to someone's actions, fill out our free case evaluation form. One of our representatives will contact you to discuss your legal options. 

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