Can I Recover Damages for Emotional Distress After a Personal Injury Accident?

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
May 21, 2024
emotional distress

When you are involved in a personal injury accident, the physical injuries are often visible and quantifiable, leading to straightforward claims for medical expenses, lost wages, and other tangible losses. However, the emotional distress that accompanies these incidents can be just as debilitating, though less visible. The short answer to whether you can recover damages for emotional distress is yes, but understanding the nuances of such claims is crucial for those seeking compensation.

Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. has a long history of guiding individuals through the complexities of personal injury claims, including those for emotional distress. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that every aspect of your suffering is recognized and compensated, not just the physical injuries. By working with us, you tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience that can help navigate the legal system to secure the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Emotional Distress Claims

Emotional distress in the context of personal injury law refers to the non-physical pain suffered as a result of an accident. This can include anxiety, depression, PTSD, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other conditions. However, proving emotional distress can be more challenging than demonstrating physical injuries because it requires substantial evidence that your emotional state has been significantly affected due to the accident.

Documentation is key in these cases. Medical records from psychologists or psychiatrists, personal journals detailing your emotional state post-accident, and testimonies from family or friends who have witnessed your suffering can all support your claim. It is important to start collecting this evidence as soon as possible after the accident to build a strong case.

The legal system recognizes two types of emotional distress: intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) and negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED). IIED cases are where the defendant’s actions were deliberate and meant to cause distress, while NIED involves cases where the defendant’s negligence led to your emotional suffering. Each has its criteria and complexities, but with skilled legal representation, you can navigate these challenges effectively.

Proving Emotional Distress

To successfully claim damages for emotional distress, you must prove that your emotional distress is real, severe, and directly caused by the accident. This typically involves demonstrating that you have sought and received psychiatric or psychological treatment for your distress. The court will look for evidence of the duration and severity of your emotional distress, as well as any pre-existing conditions that might affect your claim.

Another crucial factor is the impact of your emotional distress on your daily life. Evidence that your distress has hindered your ability to work, maintain social relationships, or enjoy life as you did before the accident can significantly strengthen your claim. Your legal team will work with you to gather all necessary documentation and expert testimonies to present the most compelling case possible.

It is also worth noting that some states have specific criteria for emotional distress claims, including requirements for physical injury in some cases. Understanding and navigating these legal requirements is where the knowledge of a seasoned legal team becomes invaluable. They can help you understand the specific laws that apply to your case and how best to proceed.

Why Choose Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.?

At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C., we understand the profound impact that emotional distress can have on your life after a personal injury accident. Our talented attorneys are committed to not only seeking justice for your physical injuries but also ensuring that the emotional and psychological toll is recognized and compensated. We provide a combination of strong legal representation and compassionate understanding, with a focus on your specific needs and goals. Choosing to work with us means partnering with a firm that has consistently been recognized for excellence in legal services. We offer the personal attention of a small firm with the resources and experience of a larger practice. 

Whether you are dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, workplace incident, or any other situation where negligence has caused you harm, we are here to help. If you are seeking compensation for emotional distress following a personal injury accident, contact us today at (215) 822-7575 or visit our contact form. Our initial consultation is free, and we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no fees unless we recover for you. Let us help you navigate this challenging time with the care you deserve.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
May 21, 2024
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.