Can You Sue Someone for Emotional Damage?

Personal injury law exists to hold people accountable financially for actions that cause injuries or other harm to others. Often, a personal injury case focuses on compensating for direct losses, such as the cost of medical care and lost wages.

But sometimes, the incident is highly traumatic for the person who is hurt, and their injuries go beyond the physical. If this is your situation, you may wonder: Can you sue someone for emotional damage?

While every case is different, and establishing emotional damage can be legally challenging, the answer is yes. You can sue someone for emotional damage.

It requires the support of personal injury attorneys, such as the team at De Castroverde Law Group. We have extensive experience in personal injury claims and will work hard to get you adequately compensated for damage to your emotional health. Here’s what you need to know about suing for emotional damage.

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What Is Emotional Damage?

What are emotional damages?

Under Nevada law, victims of crimes, accidents, and other events can sue for emotional damage, typically emotional distress. The law recognizes two types of emotional distress: intentional and negligent.

According to Cornell University, emotional distress acknowledges someone’s emotional response to an incident, series of incidents, or other situations. The law considers emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression, related physical illnesses, or interruption of life’s daily rhythms as evidence of emotional distress.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress involves incidents where someone sets out to cause emotional damage on purpose. An obvious example is when someone threatens another person with death or great bodily harm.

Under negligent infliction of emotional distress, someone causes harm through recklessness or negligence, leading to bouts of anxiety, depression, or other emotional issues. This type of distress varies under the application of laws of different states.

For instance, some states only allow such claims for people exposed to certain traumatic events. An example, according to Cornell, might be someone who witnesses an assault; that person might become fearful that they will be the next target of the assault.

How Do You Prove Emotional Damage?

Emotional distress does not have to rise to the level of a clinical, emotional disorder. After a traumatic incident, you may gain weight due to stress or experience chronic headaches, flashbacks, or fatigue. Those symptoms can become proof of emotional distress even if you’re not diagnosed with an emotional disorder.

Proving emotional damage rarely consists of one piece of evidence. Your lawyers may seek to highlight emotional damage through the testimony of family and friends, the evaluation of a mental health professional, entries in a diary, or other subjective means. Taken together, the court will evaluate the evidence and determine if it meets the definition of emotional damage.

Your legal team will want to show that the emotional damage is long-lasting, medically significant, and affects your basic enjoyment of life. Of course, you also have to find a way to link the emotional damage to the defendant as the cause of your difficulties. Your case is likely to involve some detailed medical testimony and may also require you to show some physical damages as well as emotional difficulties to support your compensation claim.

While this isn’t always easy to do, the attorneys at De Castroverde Law understand the law and have the experience to help provide proof of emotional damage so you can collect the damages you deserve.

Emotional Distress Damages

Damages for emotional distress can also play a role in other types of compensation you seek from your personal injury case. For instance, Nevada law allows plaintiffs to pursue compensation for direct financial losses.

Say, for example, you can’t work due to anxiety or depression closely linked in time to the accident or crime when you were victimized. In connection with your injury lawsuit, you may be able to seek compensation for those lost wages, including time missed from work for therapy appointments.

You can also be compensated directly for the magnitude of your emotional injuries. It’s important to note that it’s normal for everyone to feel some anxiety following an accident. The types of emotional damage we’re talking about significantly interfere with how you live your life.

Keeping careful documentation of your mental state following the accident is essential. Ideally, you want to be able to present evidence that your emotional difficulties began following the accident. Let the attorney team at De Castroverde Law Group assess your case and develop a strategy for getting you fully compensated.

Other Types of Personal Injury Damages

Emotional damage is just one of several types of compensation you can seek following an accident. By the way, seeking compensation doesn’t always require litigation. Insurance companies are often eager to settle matters out of court to limit their losses. De Castroverde Law can also represent you in those negotiations. In general, personal injury cases in Nevada allow you to sue for:

  • Direct monetary losses include the cost of immediate, follow-up, and disability care; loss of wages and salary from an inability to work; and property damage repairs. If the accident involves a family member who dies from their injuries, survivors can often also sue for similar damages, including the cost of a funeral.
  • Non-monetary losses include emotional damage. In the case of a fatal accident, the survivors may be able to sue for loss of consortium if their spouse is injured. 
  • Nevada law also allows plaintiffs in exceptional cases to seek punitive damages. These are amounts intended to punish a defendant for egregious and severe negligence.

Experienced Counsel on Matters of Emotional Damage

The attorneys at De Castroverde Law Group have decades of experience in all matters of personal injury law. We know how to establish, document, and value emotional damage when negotiating or litigating your claim. Our team serves Las Vegas, Reno, and other parts of Nevada and is ready to fight hard on your behalf. Call us or contact us online today for a consultation.

Photo Credit: Joyful by Andrew Tyson Thomas Photography is licensed with CC by 2.0