When people think of serious personal injuries, they imagine broken bones, concussions, dislocations, and other physical harm. However, some of the most enduring and debilitating personal injuries are psychological.
In the legal realm, the mental trauma experienced by accident victims is known as “emotional distress.” According to Medical News Today, “[e]motional distress is a state of emotional suffering. The term encompasses a wide range of symptoms, but its hallmarks are the symptoms of depression and anxiety. People can experience it at any time, and it is usually temporary.
Emotional distress can form the basis of a lawsuit. There are two kinds of emotional distress claims:
Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED)
In the personal injury context, IIED occurs when the defendant purposefully causes the accident that results in the emotional distress.
For example, if a driver in a fit of road rage side swipes the car of another driver, causing a serious accident, it could be said he intentionally caused the victim’s emotional distress.
Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED)
NIED, on the other hand, requires no intent. For example, if a company neglects to mark a hazard on a worksite with the proper safety signage, and a contractor suffers serious injuries and emotional distress as a result, this would be considered negligent infliction of emotional distress.
A successful emotional distress claim could result in damages for medical care (such as therapy), lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Proving an emotional distress claim is challenging and requires the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer understands the evidence needed to prove the case and can launch a thorough investigation to uncover the facts.
Brooklyn residents shouldn’t hesitate. New York Law imposes a three-year statute of limitations on all personal injury lawsuits. Failure to act promptly could mean permanently forfeiting the right to legal recourse.