If you were involved in an accident, you are probably suffering physically and financially and also emotionally. Accidents can be traumatic experiences, and in Georgia, the courts recognize this. That’s why, in certain situations, Georgia courts allow you to seek compensation for emotional distress.
In Georgia, to recover damages for emotional distress, a plaintiff must have sustained a physical impact in the incident, the physical impact must have caused physical injury, and the physical injury must have led to mental or emotional distress.
If you endured an accident and are now suffering emotional distress, we want you to know that you’re not alone. At MG Law, we have a team of compassionate attorneys who can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve after an accident.
Below, this post will discuss some topics relating to emotional distress damages. We will also talk about suing for emotional distress in Georgia. That way, you can be better informed as you explore your legal options.
So, What Is Emotional Distress?
Before answering the question, “can I sue for emotional distress,” it’s important to know what emotional distress is. Emotional distress is a broad term that refers to many different types of emotional or mental suffering.
Some common forms of emotional distress include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder,
- Interrupted sleep patterns,
- Uncontrollable crying,
- Emotional outbursts,
- Humiliation or embarrassment,
- Psychological trauma,
- Panic attacks,
- Nightmares, or
- Distress relating to a disability or impairment.
If you’re suffering from any of the above or another type of emotional distress due to an accident, we recommend that you seek medical help and reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
What Are Some Sources of Emotional Suffering?
Emotional suffering can stem from a broad range of physical accidents.
Some accidents and events that often lead to emotional distress include:
- Automobile accidents,
- Slip-and-fall accidents,
- Workplace accidents,
- Construction zone accidents,
- Medical malpractice,
- Nursing home abuse, and
- Fire accidents.
These are not the only types of accidents that can lead to legally recognized emotional distress. You can suffer from emotional distress from almost any kind of physical accident.
Suing for Emotional Distress in Georgia: The Impact Rule
When you are suing for damages stemming from an accident, you can usually include emotional distress in your list of damages sought. However, Georgia is a part of the minority of states that follow something called the Impact Rule. The Impact Rule requires that the person seeking emotional distress damages must have also suffered some sort of physical injury.
More specifically, the Impact Rule states that someone seeking emotional distress damages must have:
- Suffered a physical impact during the accident,
- Suffered an injury as a result of that physical impact, and
- Suffered mental distress as a result of that physical injury.
That means, unless you suffered some sort of physical injury in a Georgia accident, you might not be able to seek emotional distress damages.
How Do You Prove Emotional Distress In Georgia?
There are many different ways that you can prove the presence and effect of your emotional distress. However, because emotional distress can’t usually be verified with normal medical tests, like X-rays or lab results, proving emotional distress can be challenging.
This is one of the reasons why you will want an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Personal injury attorneys have the tools and knowledge needed to prove emotional distress in court.
Some of the most common ways lawyers establish emotional distress are explained below.
A medical diagnosis is a statement from a doctor that describes your emotional trauma. The doctor will have to be a qualified medical specialist who deals with and treats psychological injuries. A medical diagnosis will usually also explain your diagnosis and lay out a treatment plan for your injuries.
Expert testimony is a useful tool when it comes to proving emotional distress. An expert can substantiate a medical doctor’s diagnosis of your emotional injuries and help relay the severity of your injuries to the judge, jury, and opposing party.
Lay Witness Testimony
In addition to expert testimony, your lawyer can also use the testimony of your friends and family to substantiate your emotional distress. Your friends and family are allowed to testify about the symptoms they have seen, and they can talk about how your symptoms have affected your life.
Because documentation is key when attempting to prove emotional distress, your psychiatric records may also provide useful evidence. Psychiatric records can help establish when your emotional distress began and the cause of your emotional distress.
These are just some of the ways that your lawyer may establish the existence and impact of your emotional distress.
How Much Can I Recover For My Emotional Distress?
Because every case is unique and everyone’s suffering is different, there is no reliable way to predict how much you might be able to recover for your emotional distress. However, there are some factors that are commonly used to calculate how much compensation you might be able to seek.
These factors include:
- The severity of your emotional distress,
- The type of treatment needed,
- The amount of time you will need to heal, and
- The impact of the emotional distress on your daily life.
These are just a few factors that can influence how much you can recover for emotional distress. An experienced Georgia personal injury attorney will be able to explain these factors in more detail and give you a more accurate estimate of how much compensation you might be entitled to.
Contact MG Law for Help
At MG Law, we know how traumatizing an accident can be. We deal with personal injury cases every day, and we see firsthand the emotional effects accidents have on our clients.
When you want to seek damages for emotional distress, you need a lawyer who understands what you are going through in order to get the most compensation possible.
You can rely on the MG Law team to be the compassionate and fierce advocates you deserve. You don’t have to worry about upfront costs when you work with MG Law. We work on a contingent basis, which means that we don’t get paid until you’re awarded compensation.