Emotional anxiety is a legal term that refers to a high level of psychological harm that a person suffers as a result of a traumatic experience. Mental agony is an important part of the claims for bothnegligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress. These two types of claims are often associated with other personal injury claims as well.
How is psychological anxiety defined?
Mental anxiety is characterized as emotional pain or psychological symptoms arising from another person's carelessness. To meet the legal definition, a person's anxiety must be more severe than ordinary disappointment, embarrassment, anger, or excitement.
Mental distress is described in the law as an extreme feeling of fear and sadness that causes lasting negative side effects. Conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are examples of the type of mental conditions that can qualify as mental anxiety. Usually, the anguish has to be more than just emotional. It needs to manifest itself in the daily activities of a person's life.
The symptoms of psychological anxiety can be any of the following:
- Phobias:Fear of engaging in certain activities because the victim is afraid of being hurt again; an example would be agoraphobia, the fear of leaving the house;
- Angst:extreme anxiety that affects a person's ability to engage in usual activities of daily living; it can be symptoms like panic attacks;
- Depression:depression severe enough to require seeing a doctor;
- Insomnia:an inability to sleep normally;
- Poor concentration:the victim may suffer consequences for not being able to focus on their work, studies or other activities; and
- Physical Symptoms:a person may have physical symptoms such as a headache, nausea, or tremors.
Evidence of the extent of psychological harm that qualifies as distress would likely be substantiated by testimony from a licensed physician.
What kind of lawsuit involves mental anguish?
Emotional distress is an element of allegations of both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Emotional distress is part of the harm claimed by a person who has suffered negligent or intentional emotional distress.
Mental distress could also be an element of the alleged harm in other claims, such as B. battery, personal injury, car accident ormedical malpractice. For example, if a person threatens another with grievous bodily harm by pointing a gun at them, which is an assault, the trauma is likely to cause injury that is psychological rather than physical.
Mental anguish can also be accompanied by significant physical injuries. For example, a person may experience severe anxiety and depression after being physically injured by a serious medical error, potentially permanently affecting their quality of life.
A person may also suffer mental anguish from the injury of another person, such as the loss of a family member in a resulting car accidentin an illegitimate death suit. Emotional distress is often the result when a person witnesses the hurt or injury of a loved one.
How to Calculate Compensation for Mental Torment
Any monetary compensation for mental distress is classified as a type of non-economic harm.economic damageare amounts of money awarded to compensate for actual financial losses suffered by a victim or his family. This includes such items as medical bills, lost wages and property damage.
Non-economic damageare granted for losses that are not clearly economic in nature, e.g. B. pain and suffering, loss of society, loss of reputation and mental anguish. There is no specific formula for calculating a monetary premium for non-economic losses. Each state approaches the problem differently.
However, does a claim for distress include a claim for medical treatment of a symptom of distress, e.g. B. in the case of depression or anxiety, then the treatment costs or the loss of wages due to the victim's inability to work could be reimbursed.
In recent years, many states have enacted laws that limit the amount of moral damages a plaintiff can receive. an experienced onePersonal Injury AttorneyKnow the law in the state where a person resides and be able to calculate the value of a mental distress claim.
How to prove mental torment
In most civil cases, a plaintiff must prove the defendant's negligence by apreponderance of evidence. This means that the negligence was more likely than not. This is known asthe standard of proof. This is not the same level of proof "beyond reasonable doubt" that applies in criminal cases. However, if the plaintiff cannot meet this burden, it may be that he does not assert any claims for damages. Proving the defendant's negligence is the first step in a claim for damages for mental distress.
Evidence of the extreme nature of the defendant's negligence or willful misconduct makes the success of an emotional distress lawsuit more likely. Evidence of the plaintiff's intense and severe suffering also helps establish the injury.
The following types of evidence help determine the severity of mental distress:
- Treatment by a doctor:If the injured person has requested treatment for their condition from a licensed physician, proof of treatment strengthens their claim. Evidence would be medical records of doctor visits, records of prescriptions and other documentation of a doctor's intervention;
- Duration of symptoms:The longer the injured person suffers from symptoms of mental distress, the more likely it is that the court will find the condition serious enough to justify paying damages;
- Severity of Symptoms:Evidence that symptoms were severe supports the success of a mental distress claim; and
- Mayhem:Evidence that there was a physical manifestation of a person's mental anguish makes the claim more compelling; even if the victim of mental torment was physically injured, the claim to mental torment is reinforced.
The severity of mental anxiety is most effectively revealed when it manifests as a diagnosable condition, such as depression, PTSD, or acute anxiety. It would be beneficial to have a doctor's testimony to support a diagnosis.
The person suffering mental distress should also keep a journal of their experiences, recording the following information: the type of symptoms they experienced, when the symptoms began, how the person experienced the symptoms, the impact they had on the person's daily activities and what treatment, if any, was sought
What is the difference between mental health and mental anxiety?
Courts have ruled that mental distress is distinct from mental health. Underlying mental health problems cannot be used as evidence by the defendant in a case where a person alleges mental distress as part of their harm.
However, if a plaintiff alleging mental distress provides evidence that they sought diagnosis and treatment from a physician, the defendant may be able to gain access to the plaintiff's past medical records. In this case, previous treatment of a mental health problem could come to light.
Do I need a lawyer if I want to claim damages for mental distress?
If you want to claim compensation for pain and suffering, it is advisable to consult an experienced lawyerPersonal Injury Attorney. An experienced attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of making a mental distress claim. They can help you quantify the amount that is appropriate to compensate you for mental distress and will know if the law in your state limits compensation for mental distress.
It can be challenging to come up with compelling evidence of mental distress. Hiring the services of an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to maximize your chances of recovery during a stressful time.