Can I Seek Compensation For My Emotional Distress After an Accident?

In the realm of personal injury law, physical injuries are often visible and quantifiable. However, the emotional turmoil and psychological impact that comes with these injuries are harder to measure, yet equally significant. Emotional distress damages seek to compensate the victim for the psychological impact of an injury. This article delves into the essence of emotional distress within personal injury claims and outlines how these damages are calculated.

What Is Emotional Distress in a Personal Injury Claim?

Emotional distress, also known as mental anguish, encompasses a wide range of psychological effects suffered by an individual following an injury. These can include anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, and insomnia, among others. Unlike physical injuries, emotional distress does not have a clear medical bill or a straightforward way to measure its impact. It is subjective and varies significantly from one individual to another.

The legal recognition of emotional distress underscores the understanding that the pain of an injury is not solely physical. The psychological scars left by an accident or injury can be long-lasting and debilitating. Personal injury claims thus consider emotional distress as a non-economic damage, recognizing the pain and suffering of the victim beyond just physical injuries. 

Calculating Damages for Emotional Distress

Calculating damages for emotional distress is more complex than calculating economic damages like medical bills or lost wages. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula, but here are several methods and considerations involved in the process:

The Per Diem Method

This method assigns a daily rate of compensation for the pain and suffering the victim experiences. The rate is then multiplied by the number of days the victim is expected to suffer or has suffered from emotional distress. Determining the daily rate is subjective and often relies on analogies to everyday life’s monetary discomforts. 

The Multiplier Method

Under the multiplier method, the total amount of economic damages (such as medical bills and lost wages) is multiplied by a certain number to reflect non-economic damages, including emotional distress. The multiplier varies depending on the severity and impact of the emotional distress, typically ranging from 1.5 to 5 or even higher in extremely severe cases. 

Consideration of Severity and Impact

The severity of the emotional distress and its impact on the victim’s life plays a crucial role in calculating damages. Factors considered include the duration of the distress, the necessity of psychological treatment, the impact on the victim’s daily life, and whether the emotional distress has led to physical symptoms or disorders. 

Evidence and Documentation

To support a claim for emotional distress damages, victims need to provide evidence of their suffering. This can include psychiatric evaluations, therapy session records, medication prescriptions, and personal journals or testimonies that document the distress’s impact. Witness testimonies from family, friends, or coworkers who can attest to the change in the victim’s demeanor or lifestyle can also be powerful.

Legal Precedents and Jurisdictional Standards

Courts and jurisdictions vary in how they approach emotional distress damages. Courts or judges may look at previous cases with similar circumstances in order to provide guidance on what amount of compensation could be considered reasonable. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can also help this process tremendously. At LifeLaw Personal Injury our personal injury lawyers will use the knowledge they have learned from their experience to navigate Utah’s local legal system and get you the compensation you deserve.

While the physical injuries in a personal injury claim is usually at the forefront of your case, the emotional and psychological toll should not be underestimated. Emotional distress damages are created to help recognize the comprehensive impact of an injury for an individual’s life. Calculating these damages requires a nuanced approach that considers the unique circumstances of each case. For victims, obtaining fair compensation for emotional distress underscores the legal system’s recognition of their full spectrum of suffering and aids in their journey towards recovery. 

If you or someone you know has been injured and is dealing with the emotional aftermath, it is critical that you reach out to the personal injury experts at LifeLaw Personal Injury. Our team of the best personal injury lawyers in Salt Lake City understand how difficult life can be after an accident, and we will fight for your rights fervently on your path to receiving the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and to discuss your options further.