5 Key Elements In Proving Emotional Distress

When it comes to an injury caused by someone else's negligent actions, physical injuries are not the only thing that victims are left with. Some people are left with mental anguish in the form of emotional distress. Like physical injuries, emotional distress is a compensation-worthy injury, but it is not always as easy to prove. Several elements go into proving this claim.

Underlying Cause

To succeed in a personal injury claim, you must prove that the specific incident led to distress. For example, if you were involved in an accident, you must prove that the emotional distress resulted from the accident, not another life event. An assessment of your mental health history before the incident may be used to help prove this connection.


The length of time you have experienced this issue is also a factor. Many personal injury claims can last for months or even years. In this case, a person who experienced a small period of emotional distress but has recovered may have a more challenging time gaining compensation than someone still dealing with the distress. 


Severity also matters when it comes to proving an emotional distress claim. For any personal injury claim, the victim must prove that the injury has impacted their life. Insomnia, an inability to drive again, or nightmares all speak to the extent of emotional distress and help prove that the injury has had a major impact on your ability to lead a normal life. 

Physical Connections

Another factor that is sometimes used to prove emotional distress is a physical connection. Specific physical injuries can be directly linked to emotional distress. Consider someone who slips and falls and suffers a leg injury that makes them unable to walk independently. In this case, the victim can link the emotional distress they experience because of their mobility issues to the physical injury.

Medical Diagnosis

Emotional distress might not be deemed a physical injury, but it is a medically related issue. For this reason, one way to help strengthen your claim is to have a medical professional assess this diagnosis. A medical professional will review your symptoms along with your past medical history to help formulate this diagnosis and put it in your medical records.  

Working with a personal injury attorney is always helpful when seeking compensation for an injury, but in the case of emotional distress claims, it is especially important. Be sure to work with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.