If you’ve suffered an injury or accident due to someone else’s actions in Maricopa County, Arizona, you may be wondering whether an “emotional distress” case is appropriate. You may also feel stressed about how to prove emotional distress in court.
It’s difficult to prove anything in the legal system unless there is solid evidence — so how do attorneys demonstrate a concept as intangible as “emotional distress” to a judge or jury? Learn about the process of proving emotional distress, brush up on the legal definition of this concept, and determine when you should contact your attorney.
How To Prove Emotional Distress in Court
Unlike the often-obvious effects of a physical injury or a car crash, it can be difficult to see emotional distress. Proving it in court can be challenging, which is why you need an experienced attorney to help you navigate your case from beginning to end.
Defining Emotional Distress
It’s easy to explain, or even demonstrate, to someone that you feel distressed after an upsetting incident. It’s another matter entirely when you consider how to prove emotional distress in court.
Legally, “emotional distress” has a meaning more specific than “feeling bad” or “psychological discomfort.” This term is usually divided into two categories determined by how the distress happened:
- Intentional: Your case demonstrates an intentional infliction of distress if the other party acted with the intention to harm, harass, gossip, stalk, or assault you. These acts can bring serious charges, and they can be easier to prove in court due to the obvious wrongdoing of another person or group of people.
- Negligent: Your case shows negligent infliction of distress if you suffered harm due to someone’s negligence. For example, you may be able to make a case against a physician who physically caused you harm during a botched surgery, and you could potentially add an emotional distress component to the case due to the distress the malpractice caused you. While this type of action wasn’t deliberate on the physician’s part, it could have resulted in just as much pain and suffering.
Helpful Items for an Emotional Distress Case
If your case involved physical injury, you may collect medical tests, accident records, or statements of witnesses. While emotional injury certainly exists, its invisibility often leaves victims scratching their heads when it comes to collecting documents that “prove” their distress.
For your case involving emotional distress, it will help to have several items on record. Consider whether the following may apply to your situation:
- Records of an accident or injury that may have caused the distress (such as malpractice by a physician)
- Articles, blog posts, interviews, or social media statements that may point to libel, slander, or damage to your reputation
- Testimony of a mental health professional such as a psychologist, counselor, or social worker
- Prescriptions and records of psychiatric medication you take to cope with the distress
Frequently Asked Questions About Emotional Distress
Any legal case involves a lot of questions. Take a look at these FAQs about how to prove emotional distress in court, and be sure to contact us with queries that pertain to your individual circumstances.
What If Nobody Believes My Emotional Distress Claim?
Emotional distress is as real as physical pain and suffering. The problem is that because no one can see it, there may be suspicion of it being exaggerated or even faked. It’s therefore crucial to have a personal injury attorney at your side who can help you gather documents and provide evidence of emotional distress.
Someone Who Experienced the Same Accident Didn’t Make a Case; Does This Ruin My Case?
Even if you know someone who sustained emotional trauma from the same situation but didn’t press charges or make a case, this has little or no bearing on your own situation. You are an individual who experienced the event differently, and you are likely dealing with a unique outcome of the event as well.
For example, perhaps this other person walked away from a vehicle accident without a scratch, while you are still in rehabilitation from the back injury you sustained. Maybe you’ve also needed counseling for the nightmares and panic attacks you’ve experienced since the event. Your case is personal to you and your background, and it may or may not mirror that of another person who had a similar experience.
What Can Make Emotional Distress More Difficult To Prove?
If you’re trying to put together an emotional distress case on your own, you’ve likely realized that certain circumstances make this task much more difficult. Consider these three conditions that may work against you and talk with your attorney to find a way forward:
- Your statements are inconsistent: It can be difficult to prove a case that has inconsistent details, dates, or claims. If you need a plan for how to prove emotional distress in court, contact an attorney immediately while documenting anything related to the incident. It may help to keep a journal or schedule an appointment with a mental health professional as soon as you can.
- You have a pre-existing mental or emotional condition: It may be more difficult to prove emotional distress if you already struggle with documented anxiety, panic attacks, or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Insurance companies can use these conditions against your case by claiming that similar symptoms are not related to the incident that caused distress.
- Your symptoms didn’t occur immediately: Symptoms that started two days after the incident look much different than those that began two months after the fact. The later the emotional distress begins, the more difficult it can be to prove in court.
Contact Sargon Law Group To Learn How To Prove Emotional Distress in Court
At Sargon Law Group, we are deeply committed to our clients in Maricopa County and the surrounding areas. We know that the pain and suffering following accidents and incidents are real and that this distress can greatly alter the course of your life.
Get in touch with our experienced personal injury attorneys to learn more about how to prove emotional distress in court and begin getting your life back on track.