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Suing For Emotional Distress: Is It Possible?

After experiencing a traumatic incident or accident, you may suffer injuries that aren’t visible externally. Emotional distress is a legally recognized concept, and it’s a type of injury that you may be able to recover monetary damages with the assistance of knowledgeable attorneys.

However, it’s important to know what emotional distress is, where it comes from, and the differences between the types of emotional distress before filing your claim. Read on for more information, or contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-516-342-2200 to speak directly with one of our seasoned emotional distress attorneys at no charge.

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress is a type of psychological injury or mental anguish that can be experienced by victims of auto accidents, assaults, severe injuries, and other incidents. Emotional distress is usually used to refer to short-term fear, anger, pain, and/or grief that a person feels as the direct result of the actions of another person or party.

For example, if an individual is injured in an auto accident with a drunk driver, the victim of the accident may experience emotional distress upon being injured or fearing for their life. Alternatively, if an individual is attacked during a robbery, they may experience emotional distress due to the assault and fear they felt during and after the event.

Long-term emotional distress is typically characterized by symptoms including but not limited to:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme sadness, anger, and/or fear
  • Panic attacks
  • Depressive and/or anxious symptoms
  • Insomnia

In terms of individual experience, emotional distress is different for everyone. Symptoms may manifest in more or less extreme forms, and some people may have completely different reactions or symptoms.

Nonetheless, emotional distress is very serious and can have wide-reaching consequences for a victim’s daily life, emotional stability, and beyond. For instance, after experiencing emotional distress, an accident victim may find themselves unable to concentrate at work or experience regular mood swings.

Intentional vs. Unintentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

In the legal system, there are two (2) types of emotional distress that a perpetrator or negligent party can inflict:

  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED): Intentional infliction of emotional distress means that the accused or at-fault party intended to cause emotional distress to the victim. For instance, if an employee is fired from work and corner their boss outside business premises to threaten them, they intentionally seek to cause emotional distress
  • Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED): NIED is much more common as it is unintentional or only occurs due to the negligence of the at-fault party. For example, if a drunk driver impacts a bystander, causing physical injuries and emotional distress, they did so negligently and unintentionally, yet may still be liable for damages due to their negligence

Note: Both forms of infliction of emotional distress can be debilitating, severe, and long-lasting for accident victims. Because of this, New York State courts allow victims to recover penalties for both types of emotional distress.

For more on this and related topics, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-516-342-2200. Alternatively, you can visit us online to schedule your free consultation today!

Can You Sue for Emotional Distress?

You can usually sue for emotional distress, provided you can prove that you have grounds to do so. Emotional distress is a recognized type of injury to a person. Essentially, if you claim that a person or party inflicted emotional distress upon you, you could recover damages from them or their insurance company just like you could do so for physical damages like broken bones or concussions.

However, suing for emotional distress can be difficult, particularly if you don’t have adequate proof or legal assistance. To that end, knowledgeable legal representatives can assist your upcoming legal case by:

What Do You Need To Sue for Emotional Distress?

To successfully sue for emotional distress, you must prove a few key things.

First, you must prove that the accused party had a duty or standard of care they were expected to provide to you. For instance, a doctor has a standard of care for their patients. Similarly, all New York drivers have a standard of care for all other drivers, meaning they must drive safely.

Next, you must prove that the accused party breached their standard of care knowingly or unknowingly. For instance, if a driver is texting while driving, they are knowingly breaching their standard of care and could be held liable for damages if they cause an accident.

Finally, you must prove that the accused party’s negligence caused your emotional distress by providing a causal link between the events. This can be achieved by gathering specific evidence and presenting it in court or during arbitration or mediation meeting. For example, if you want to prove that a distracted driver caused emotional distress, you must show that you received emotional distress from the accident they caused.

To prove a link between an accident or incident and your emotional distress, you can provide evidence including but not limited to:

  • Traffic camera footage or store camera footage, which may show that the accident occurred as you say it did
  • Eyewitness accounts, including your own account or testimony
  • Medical notes from your doctor or a nurse that detail your symptoms
  • Medical notes from a therapist, especially if your emotional distress has led to the development of a long-term psychological condition like depression

To learn more now, speak with one of the skilled emotional distress attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers today. Simply dial 1-516-342-2200 and allow us the honor and privilege of fighting – and winning – for you!

Damages for Emotional Distress

You may recover monetary damages for emotional distress if your lawsuit is successful.

In most cases, emotional distress damages are categorized as non-economic. They are intended to compensate you for non-economic losses. Emotional distress damages are oftentimes awarded alongside other non-economic damages like inconvenience, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of life enjoyment, and more.

In contrast, economic damages are intended to compensate you for economic losses, like medical bills, damaged or destroyed property, and more. Because of this, your emotional distress damages can vary heavily. Depending on the strength of your case and the severity of your symptoms, you may be awarded hundreds, thousands, or millions of dollars.

The right legal team can maximize your chances of securing more damages for your emotional distress.

How Experienced Lawyers Can Help

A good legal team can provide invaluable assistance when suing for emotional distress.

  • Lawyers can collect evidence on your behalf, which can be beneficial if you are recovering from mental or physical injuries.
  • Lawyers can also negotiate with insurance companies, the opposing party’s attorney, and anyone else as needed. The last thing you need to deal with is additional stress from negotiations; your legal team can handle this burden for you instead.
  • Lawyers can offer sound legal counsel from the beginning to the end of the process. In this way, they can tell you whether you have grounds for a successful emotional distress lawsuit or if you will be better off suing the at-fault party for physical damages instead.

Above all else, your lawyers can help by offering you support through this difficult time. Schwartzapfel Lawyers understand how difficult it is to recover from severe accidents and injuries. We offer empathetic and informative support when you hire us to represent you during any lawsuit or legal action.

What To Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer

While hiring a personal injury lawyer can be extremely beneficial when suing another party for emotional distress, it’s wise to hire the right lawyer for your needs rather than the first law firm you find. Specifically, you should look for three (3) major attributes in any personal injury attorney.

Experience in Your Case Type

First, make sure your chosen attorney has plenty of experience in suing for emotional distress. A personal injury lawyer who has helped previous clients sue for emotional distress successfully is a much better professional to have in your corner. They will know more about the circuit judges in the area, what arguments work best to secure damages for their clients, and how best to represent you in court or arbitration.

As experienced personal injury attorneys, Schwartzapfel Lawyers is the ideal choice for suing an at-fault party for emotional distress, physical damages, or both. We’ve spent decades helping New Yorkers just like you recover damages for emotional distress and mental anguish, so, please, protect your financial future by contacting us today at 1-516-342-2200 for a free consultation and so much more.

Contingency Fee Policy

Additionally, you should hire a personal injury lawyer who operates on a contingency fee basis. As a policy, this means that you only have to pay your attorneys if they secure damages from your court or arbitration award/settlement. So, if you don’t receive any damages, you won’t have to worry about paying for legal representation on top of your existing medical bills.

Schwartzapfel Lawyers operates on a contingency fee basis for each of our clients. It’s just another way that we put their needs ahead of the bottom line. We don’t take every case brought to us, but when we do we make it our mission to win.

Dedication to Your Case

Third, you should only hire a personal injury attorney who will dedicate themself to your case. To that end, you will want a lawyer who will treat your emotional distress case seriously, start to finish. Don’t stick with a lawyer who can’t provide you with the attention or resources your case needs. Instead, opt for a law firm like Schwartzapfel Lawyers that treats every client like family.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

And so, while suing for emotional distress is possible, to be successful, you must prove that you or a loved one suffered emotional distress due to the negligence and/or maliciousness of another party (similar to proving that you suffered physical injuries at the hands of another party).

Schwartzapfel Lawyers can help with this and more. As experienced and local personal injury attorneys, Schwartzapfel Lawyers is an ideal choice for handling your New York personal injury case. Our contingency fee policy, dedication to clients, and sterling reputation all contribute to a task force that’s ready to assist with your case right away.

For a free consultation, contact us today online or at 1-516-342-2200. Your financial future is worth protecting. Take the first step toward economic recovery by calling now!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You™™

emotional distress | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

Infliction of Emotional Distress Elements | NYC Bar

Negligence | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

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