How do you make a claim about something that is not tangible? Emotional distress, however severe and consequential, is a challenge to prove that it is affecting your life. But wait, all is not lost.
There are ways you can establish evidence of emotional distress and stake your claim for personal injury.
Any encounter with an accident can result in emotional distress. However, it is not limited to accidents. Emotional trauma can be a result of physical abuse, rape, battery, accidents, and other traumatic experience.
Unlike a physical injury that can be seen, felt and shown, psychological and mental suffering cannot be shown on paper. But the terror it can cause and the pain that stems from it can be deep-rooted and lasting. Which is why it is crucial to identify and recognize what it is at the earliest.
In this article, we will cover 7 unique ways to prove the emotional distress for your personal injury claim.
Emotional distress – what is it?
It is any form of undesirable feeling or reaction caused by an external stimulant, typically by someone. It can be an intentional act or due to negligence.
The severity and duration can manifest differently for different individuals. It can be suffered by someone who had physical injuries or someone who did not have one. The most common symptoms of emotional distress that can be manifest include:
- Anxiety – It may be generalized anxiety or social anxiety.
- Irritability and mood swings.
- Difficulty in functioning normally whether at work or home.
- Loss of focus and concentration.
- Developing ulcers.
- Bouts of depression.
- Exhibiting poor judgment.
- Unexplained sorrow and sadness.
- Loss of sleep or staying asleep.
- Regular nightmares.
- Withdrawal from friends and family.
- Having flashbacks of the accident.
- Developing new phobias which were nonexistent earlier.
- Decreased appetite and weight loss.
- Headaches and general discomfort.
- Indigestion and recurrent digestive problems.
- Post traumatic stress disorder in severe cases.
How to claim personal injury compensation with emotional distress?
Although the cause and extent of emotional distress can be subjective, it is a serious matter nonetheless. Having tangible proof makes it easier to seek compensation. Not only does the physical evidence make your claim valid. It can also reveal the extent of your psychological and emotional injury.
The seven ways you can prove your emotional distress for a personal injury claim are:
01. Document your experience.
If you did not have a physical injury inflicted, it is likely that you were not medically evaluated. In this case, you need to be your own advocate. Understand the symptoms listed above and write them down in a journal.
Remember you are not writing it down for yourself. It is not something for you to look back on it and reflect, although you can. In this case, you are going to use it as evidence in a legal issue.
A well-documented journal could be a piece of compelling evidence for processing the claim. Be as objective as possible. Do not exaggerate the symptoms or the severity of it.
Mention if the symptoms affect your daily routine in any way. For instance, if you have difficulty concentrating in your office work because of anxiety, make a note of it. At home, if your physical injury limits or restricts you from caring and interacting with your child, note it in the journal.
The idea is to pare it down to the facts and write regularly. These records will prove how seriously your life is affected by emotional disturbance.
02. Keep a record of medications.
If you find yourself seeking claim, you probably are under some medical treatment. Maintain a list of your prescriptions. Medical evidence is vital in changing the trajectory of your claim.
In the same line, do not discard the bottles or medicine containers of the drugs, if any. These are physical pieces of evidence and the more they are, the better. Nothing can be discriminating as the vast collection of prescription bottles of drugs that you consumed to calm your distress.
03. Medical records and doctor’s diagnosis.
If in the event of the accident you were treated at a hospital or medical center, request for your medical records. Request the staff for the records and make photocopies of them. These records are vital in solidifying your claim. It can also be a piece of evidence for your physical inflictions. There is nothing more incriminating than tangible documents that you can present to the judge or the jury. Keep all the medical bills as well. Records of medical expenses are convincing evidence that will prove your claim is valid.
If you are seeking medical treatment for emotional and psychological distress, make your symptoms known to the doctor. This is no time for stories, refrain from being dramatic but be as detailed as possible. A medical practitioner’s documented records can be detrimental to a successful claim.
04. Bodily manifestation of emotional trauma.
The effects of deep psychological trauma can show up as physical damages in the body. Most frequently they occur in the form of ulcers and migraines or headaches. If you have been treated for these ailments, it always pays to produce the medical records.
However, if you don’t have the records, the bodily afflictions themselves can be strong pieces of evidence to your claim. For obvious reasons, you cannot demonstrate a headache or display your ulcer in the courthouse. Your best option is to get a doctor’s evaluation and present the records before the jury.
05. Depth and severity of emotional distress.
The severity of emotional trauma affects people differently. Something that was deeply disturbing and traumatic for one person may not have the same effect on another and vice versa. However, the more intense and profound the suffering is the more chances of you getting compensated for it.
This is no reason to magnify or over dramatize your anguish though. Careful personal evaluation and a thorough professional examination can determine the level of your emotional hurt.
Individuals who underwent significant physical distress are very susceptible to suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They typically require effective and long term professional help. This is why maintaining a medical record comes in absolutely advantageous.
06. Identify the cause of emotional distress.
The fundamental thing or the primary cause of emotional disturbance is a vital piece of information in establishing your claim. Quite naturally, a survivor of a bombing incident has more serious implications than that of a minor auto mishap. Although it affects everyone differently, the magnitude of the primary triggering incident is a serious thing to consider.
Understandably, if you have prior experience with anxiety or other emotional issues, the symptoms can be more aggressive. If you had suffered or had been subjected to a traumatic experience as a child or as an adult, the current circumstances can resurrect the past hurt.
If you are someone who had an unfortunate experience in the past, it can make the symptoms worse. Therefore, consulting a licensed professional can be detrimental to your recovery. It can also be a significant factor in establishing the seriousness of your emotional injury.
The behavior of the other person who inflicted the injury is also a piece of crucial evidence. An enraged person showing absolutely no remorse, exhibiting outrageous animalistic violence can cause significant trauma. Although it can be challenging, it is essential to remember and recall these details as best as you can.
You are the best as well as the most trusted witness who can provide these details that resulted in aggravating or chasing you emotional distress.
07. Additional papers and evidence.
The consequences of deep emotional trauma can go way beyond the physical and domestic life. It affects your daily routine, social life, relationships as well as professional responsibilities.
Undergoing serious emotional turmoil not only makes focusing difficult. The anxiety and the paranoia can keep you away from work. This problem is compounded if there is physical injury involved. The emotional suffering, as well as the constant visits to the hospital or the inability to function properly, can severely affect your career. The direct result is the loss of wages.
If this has happened to you, request your employer for your payroll records. You can easily make a copy of this. The files will clearly state that your income has been acutely affected due to emotional trauma. Next, to the doctor’s diagnosis and the medical records, the proof of lost income is the most important evidence of emotional distress.
It may seem impossible to establish evidence when all you have is the emotional turmoil, and you want to hide away on your own. However, no one stays away from your responsibilities and playing your role in the family and community. The earlier you seek help and get on your feet, the better.
With careful planning and some professional help, you can claim your compensation. It is not weak or a sign of helplessness if you seek help from someone. Seek medical guidance from a counselor or a medical doctor.
Hire a proficient lawyer if needed. There is no reason to suffer in silence when you can be out there, taking control of your life. After all the pain and the turmoil you suffered at the hands of someone, you may as well claim a personal injury compensation and get on with your life.