How Emotional Distress Compensation Is Calculated
Emotional Distress Compensation
Often, as the plaintiff in a personal injury case, your suffering can’t be entirely summed up by medical reports or X-rays. Being injured in an accident is an upsetting and frightening incident, made even more stressful by dealing with lost wages, uncertain financial situations and the headache of filing a lawsuit.
That’s why personal injury plaintiffs have the option of suing for emotional distress, or pain and suffering, compensation on top of reimbursement for their medical claims. But how is calculating emotional distress damages done? This article will explain the basics of the logic behind the amount of compensation and give you a general idea of what to expect if you’re currently suing for emotional distress after a car accident, workplace injury or other incident.
Adding Up the Dollar Value
It can be tough to put a number on emotional distress, but often this non-tangible experience will lead to a financial burden that can be summed up in concrete numbers. One way of coming up with a dollar amount to represent your pain and suffering is to go off of the value of any psychological treatment you sought. Adding up the cost of psychiatric treatments you required as a result of your traumatic incident is one of the simplest methods of putting a number on emotional distress.
Missing work as a result of emotional distress is another way to contextualize the monetary significance of a traumatic experience or injury. Lost wages the plaintiff incurred while dealing with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological repercussions can be calculated and added to the damages your personal injury lawyer is suing for.
As with many facets of a legal battle, documenting everything is the best practice when it comes to preparing a lawsuit for pain and suffering — particularly when it comes to emotional distress that doesn’t have a direct monetary correlation in terms of a bill from a mental health professional or a week’s worth of lost wages. If you’re struggling with anxiety or see your marriage or business relationships suffering as a result of the emotional damages you’ve incurred, take diligent notes of these experiences, complete with dates and times. It will help the judge to understand the depth and extent of your pain and suffering, even if you do not seek medical help or take time off of work.
Consider Pre-Existing Conditions
In terms of pre-existing conditions, lawsuits related to emotional distress are the same as physical injuries. It will be harder to claim a knee injury as a result of an accident if medical records show your knee had already been hurt; likewise, it may be more difficult to prove in court that an incident caused anxiety if you have already been in treatment for an anxiety disorder. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible — people with pre-existing mental health issues are equally deserving of restitution for pain and suffering legitimately caused by an accident or injury. You and your lawyer should carefully consult your medical records to be prepared for any previously reported issues that could cast doubt upon your claim when suing for mental anguish and emotional distress.
Timothy C. Moynahan is the CEO and owner of Moynahan Partners, which offers business development consultancy, identifying strategic business partnerships and funding sources. He founded and heads the Moynahan Law Firm, Waterbury, Connecticut, and is “of counsel” to the Jin Law Group at 200 Park Avenue in New York. He is a sought-after and successful trial lawyer, earning the Super Lawyer of New England and Connecticut awards from 2009 to 2012 and Best Criminal Defense Attorney accolade in 2013.