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Proving emotional distress after an injury

You may have heard the term "emotional distress" in law movies or discussions about civil legal claims. And if you've been in a serious accident you are probably intimately familiar with emotional suffering.

You may have a claim for emotional distress but, because there is no physical evidence of emotional injuries, it can be difficult to prove. Fortunately, there are a number of things that may serve as proof of emotional distress. You will often have to show multiple signs or symptoms to support your claim, and the determination is ultimately up to a court.

Those factors include:

  • the intensity of the mental anguish
  • the duration of the distress - for example, long-term effects like post-traumatic stress may be easier to prove.
  • related bodily harm, such as headaches, back pain or ulcers that indicate distress
  • the underlying cause of the accident and its intensity
  • a note from a doctor or psychologist, which is usually required to support a claim of emotional distress

If you or someone you love have been seriously injured in an accident caused by someone else's negligence, you may have a claim for damages including emotional distress, pain and suffering, medical bills or lost wages. These damages will be up to a court to determine so it is important to make sure you present your case properly.

You may be wise to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she can work with you to understand your case, advise you of your options and represent your interests in and out of court to help you pursue the best possible result.

Source: Injured, "5 Ways to Prove Emotional Distress," Andrew Lu, Feb. 4, 2013

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