What Does it Mean to Sue for Emotional Distress?


Approximately 3.4 percent of adults have experienced serious psychological distress at some point in their lives.

Are you struggling with emotional distress after an accident or traumatic event? Is it wreaking havoc on your mental health and holding you back from working or handling daily responsibilities?

If you said “yes” to these questions, you may be entitled to legal help and compensation from the at-fault party.

Read on to learn more about emotional distress. You’ll also find the specific steps you need to take to address your condition and get the compensation you deserve.

What Is Emotional Distress?

The term “emotional distress” is another name for mental or psychological suffering.

This suffering occurs as a result of a specific event or pattern of events. It can also occur from the memory of that particular event or pattern of events.

In either case, emotional distress can have a severe effect on one’s health and wellbeing.

Signs of Emotional Distress

Everyone experiences emotional distress differently. However, the following are some of the most common symptoms one might experience when dealing with severe psychological suffering:

  • Eating too much or too little
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating oneself from people and things you once enjoyed
  • Feeling fatigued and having minimal energy
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Feelings of hopelessness or depression
  • Excessive feelings of worry or guilt
  • Excessive smoking, drinking, or drug use (including the use of prescription drugs)
  • Thinking of hurting oneself or someone else

Anyone can experience emotional distress after a serious life event or pattern of events. However, certain people may be more prone to it than others. For example, it’s common in those who are first responders or who do recovery work.

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Causes of Emotional Distress

A wide range of situations can cause emotional distress and psychological suffering. Here are some common ones that may lead to someone filing a lawsuit:

  • Being a victim of a violent crime
  • Being a witness to a violent crime
  • Being a victim of someone else’s negligence (getting hurt in a car accident, for example)
  • Being a victim of verbal abuse in the workplace (especially if it takes place for a prolonged period of time)

It’s important to note that one doesn’t have to directly be a victim to experience emotional distress. For example, if you were walking down the street with your child and your child was hit and killed by a drunk driver, you would likely experience emotional distress.

How to Get Legal Help for Emotional Distress

How to Get Legal Help for Emotional Distress

Are you dealing with emotional distress? Are you considering seeking legal help to get compensated for your pain and suffering?

Compensation can make it easier for you to take time off of work, pay your medical bills, or stay on top of other expenses while you’re recovering from the trauma you’ve experienced.

To get compensated, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim and emotional distress lawsuit. Here are some steps you can take to make that happen:

Gather Evidence

First, start gathering evidence to back up your claims of emotional distress. The more evidence you have, the easier it’ll be for your lawyer to build a case and help you get compensated.

There are many different types of evidence that you might collect, including the following:

  • Medical documents of physical injuries
  • Medical documents of other health issues related to your distress (ulcers, migraines, cognitive issues, etc.)
  • Medical reports from your physician or therapist
  • Testimonies from friends or families documenting how the event has affected your life
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Keep all of this information in a folder or binder for easy access. Add to it whenever you receive a new document or another piece of evidence, too.

Hire a Lawyer

While you’re gathering evidence, start searching for a lawyer. Look for a personal injury lawyer who specializes in handling emotional distress claims.

This type of lawyer will have experience in helping people like you and will have an easier time determining whether or not you have a legitimate case. They’ll also be able to offer guidance on what you can expect from the process and how to move forward with your case.

File a Lawsuit

Once you’ve found a lawyer who seems like a good fit for you, the next step is to move forward with filing a lawsuit.

Your lawyer will handle the heavy lifting during this phase. However, you’ll also need to provide information about your situation to help them build a strong case. This includes recounting the incident (or series of incidents) that contributed to your emotional distress.

It’s understandable if you feel overwhelmed while filing a lawsuit. Keep in mind, though, that going through difficulties now can lead to better outcomes later. The sooner you can file a lawsuit, the sooner you can get the compensation you deserve and start healing.

Prepare for Trial

Once the lawsuit has been filed and the defendant has been served, the discovery process and pre-trial preparations will begin.

This often includes your lawyer meeting with the defendant’s lawyer to talk about the case. They may agree to a settlement deal, too, to avoid having to appear in court.

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Take Care of Yourself

Filing an emotional distress lawsuit can be, well, distressing. As you go through this process, you must continue to take care of yourself.

Keep working with your therapist, or start seeing one if you haven’t already. Make time for stress management and self-care, too. Block off time to relax and do things you enjoy.

Prioritizing self-care will help you to weather the lawsuit storm. You’ll have an easier time staying composed throughout the legal process, and you’ll also have an easier time recovering and moving forward with your life once it’s all over.

Seek Help for Mental Suffering Today

If you’re struggling with emotional distress after an accident or other incident, you’d deserve help. Follow the steps outlined above so you can get the legal help you need and start improving your mental wellbeing.

Want to learn more about managing your mental health? Head to the Health section of our site today for additional research-based resources.


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