Robert L. Sears, Accepting cases throughout WA State 253-286-7444 rob@searsinjurylaw.com

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People know that they can recover damages for physical injuries, but they may not know that they can also recover damages for emotional distress. The definition of personal injury is any harm that comes to a person from an incident. This doesn’t just include physical wounds but psychological ones as well. 

In personal injury claims, the end goal is to achieve a fair settlement that will sufficiently cover the victim’s damages. People injured in an accident suffer a lot because of another party’s actions. The majority of damages insurance adjusters and attorneys will haggle are compensatory damages. This includes lost wages, medical bills, property damages, lost earning capacity, and more. There are also non-economic damages, which is where pain and suffering/emotional distress damages come in. 

Emotional distress is a very common outcome for personal injury accident victims. It’s a type of mental suffering that results from a traumatic event. There are multiple ways in which emotional distress can manifest, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety or paranoia, depression, and more. This type of harm can be as debilitating as a physical injury can be and can have a serious negative impact on a person’s life. In some cases, such as the recent Alaska Airlines door plug incident, emotional distress can be enough for its own personal injury claim. In other cases, it’s one part of a claim that has other damages, such as wage loss and medical bills. 

An example of this is if a person is in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligent behavior. One of the damages listed in their claim could be for emotional distress. If someone is getting harassed and bullied at their workplace, they could also file for emotional distress. Depending on what jurisdiction you are in, the laws surrounding this type of claim can vary. It’s important that you hire a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of personal injury law and has experience. 

Personal Injury Lawyers in Puyallup, Washington

Personal Injury Lawyers

In some states, there is something called the “impact rule.” This means that a victim has to have been physically injured or “impacted” to recover emotional distress damages. Washington state does not have this rule, however. If a person causes serious emotional distress to another person because of their reckless or intentional conduct, the victim can pursue a claim. This is true even if the victim was not physically injured in the incident. 

Although people might try to dismiss emotional harm, it is very real to the victim. When people think about a personal injury, their mind usually goes straight to a car accident, dog bite, or slip-and-fall accident – physical injuries. However, these physical injuries are often accompanied by mental harm. In some cases, even if a physical injury did not occur, the event itself could have been traumatic enough to cause emotional harm. 

Although it can seem daunting and even impossible for victims to pursue a personal injury claim, recovering compensation can greatly benefit them and is well worth it. Victims deserve to be reimbursed for how their injuries or emotional harm impacted their lives. Emotional distress can affect a person in many ways when awake and asleep. 

Some of the common signs indicating that a person is enduring emotional distress include:

  • Cognitive Changes
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Sleep Problems, Such as Insomnia and Nightmares
  • Severe Mood Swings
  • Frustration and Anger
  • Anxiety and Paranoia
  • Distress Because of Disability 
  • Depression 
  • Lessened Quality of Life
  • Humiliation and Embarrassment

Emotional distress damages can indeed be subjective. Two people suffering the same type of injury could have widely different experiences emotionally. It can be hard to prove emotional distress because of how complicated the concept can be. Emotional distress does not have a precise definition, but this can work in the favor of attorneys. If it cannot be specifically defined, then there’s room for different approaches in arguing a case. If you can’t define exactly what something is, then you can’t say what it isn’t. When you have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side, they can recover emotional damages. 

If someone gets injured in an accident and elects to file a claim, they will likely have sought out medical treatment. If another party was responsible for your injuries, your doctor should ask you to tell them about any psychological symptoms you may be experiencing. It’s crucial that your emotional distress is properly documented by a medical professional. When fighting for you, your attorney can use this as evidence. Another piece of advice is to keep a journal recording your feelings. You can be really detailed in describing what you’re going through or more to the point. These notes could be helpful for your case. 

An attorney can also prove your emotional distress by speaking with people close to you. This could include coworkers, friends, and family. Your attorney will ask them to testify about how you were affected by the accident. At Sears Injury Law, we have experience in calculating a fair settlement amount for your damages. We will add up your economic/tangible damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses. We then multiply that amount by a specific number. This total is then presented as the proposed settlement amount. The negotiations then go from there.

Car Accident Lawyer

Sears Personal Injury Law Firm

To recover emotional distress damages, it’s important to have proof of negligence. This means that a party had a duty of care that they breached, resulting in you getting harmed. It also must be proven that what you are going through is serious, not just an average person’s emotional highs and lows. In your case, evidence such as medical testimony, statistics and research studies, and accounts from loved ones can all be utilized. If you were hurt in a personal injury accident, whether that be physical harm, psychological harm, or both, you deserve justice. 

Reach out to Sears Injury Law today so our experienced personal injury attorneys in Puyallup can stand up for you and recover compensation.