How Do You Prove Emotional Distress in Pennsylvania?
After suffering a serious personal injury, victims may find themselves crippled by anxiety, bouts of insomnia, panic attacks, and depression. Claims arising from car accidents or product liability often focus on the physical and financial impacts on a victim– but what about the psychological trauma?
For many people, the mental and emotional repercussions are, if not more, devastating than the physical ones. Can plaintiffs sue for “emotional distress” in Pennsylvania, and what elements are necessary to prove it?
Emotional anguish is more difficult to quantify
Emotional anguish, unlike physical injuries, is more difficult to quantify, and Pennsylvania law requires plaintiffs to meet specific requirements to seek compensation.
Proving emotional distress requires tangible, credible evidence of your condition and in-depth knowledge of the law. Plaintiffs stand a better chance of success when they work with an experienced Pittsburgh personal injury attorney who knows how to build a strong case.
When you partner with us, you’ll never have to settle for less. We know that the manifestations of emotional distress have the potential to undermine the very fabric of your life. In cases where this type of mental harm is rooted in negligence, legal compensation is merited.
Indirect emotional distress from observing an accident
Emotional distress claims are more prevalent in vehicle accidents, but they can also be brought in product liability, malpractice, and workplace injury lawsuits.
Emotional distress can also be an independent claim, even in situations where the plaintiff sustained no physical harm. For example, let’s say you witness a catastrophic collision that seriously maims or kills a close family member.
Though you were not physically injured in the crash, the mental anguish of observing such a tragedy has saddled you with depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues that have adversely impacted your life.
In the eyes of the court, your emotional distress must also have some physical symptoms that can be documented. This could be severe migraines, insomnia, depression, or PTSD.
Elements necessary to prove emotional distress
Every state has case laws that apply to the “negligent infliction of emotional distress,” and in Pennsylvania, injured parties are tasked with proving the following elements:
- They were nearby the accident scene when it happened
- Their emotional distress is a direct result of seeing, hearing or having some sensory observation of the event
- They are closely related to the victim
In many cases, it is essential to produce expert medical testimony that shows a causal link between the physical symptoms and the claimant’s trauma.
Compelling evidence that supports the validity of your claim is critical.
- Do you have stress-related health conditions like ulcers, PTSD, and chronic headaches?
- Do you have testimony from mental health professionals that detail your condition?
- Do you have a list of the prescription medications you take to treat your sleeplessness, depression, anxiety or panic?
Studies have shown that trauma and emotional distress are associated with an increased risk for chronic pain that can hinder normal functionality. Medical records and evaluations from health care professionals treating you can go a long way toward substantiating your claim.
Compassionate legal advocacy in Pennsylvania
If you are experiencing the symptoms of emotional distress after a traumatic accident, contact us to discuss your rights to legal recourse. Our attorneys offer powerful yet compassionate advocacy to clients who are suffering because of the negligent acts of another.
Our legal team understands the debilitating effects of emotional harm and leverage the skills and experience to fight for the compensation that victims deserve. Our attorneys have procured $1 billion on behalf of clients nationwide, and bring more than 85 years of combined experience, and are eager to help you.
You can schedule a free case review with a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer by calling or texting our office.