Can You Sue for Emotional Distress in Indiana?
When you think of the term “personal injury,” you may assume it means a physical injury like a broken bone or whiplash from a car crash. However, personal injury includes emotional harm, too. In Indiana, the law favors anyone who proves that the accident left them with severe psychological injuries.
If you’ve suffered from emotional distress, you are already well-aware that it can be as traumatic as the injury itself. The common signs of emotional distress after a traumatic event include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Nightmares and insomnia
- Frustration and anger
- Headaches and ulcers
To be compensated for emotional distress, the victim has to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused them severe emotional pain. In order to file a lawsuit for emotional distress, you must be able to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injury, the injury caused financial damages, and those damages were the result of the injury.
The Two Types of Emotional Distress
There are two main types of emotional distress. These include negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In other words, did the person’s mistake cause your distress, or did they do it on purpose?
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Intentional infliction means the person purposely caused emotional distress to another person. This type of stress usually manifests in harassment and, in extreme cases, physical attacks. Abuse and domestic violence are also causes of intentional infliction of emotional distress. In these cases, the defendant deliberately traumatized you for their own personal gain.
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
This type of emotional distress occurs when someone unintentionally causes emotional anguish. A good example is post-traumatic stress disorder caused by witnessing a workplace accident. If your employer caused unsafe conditions that resulted in a violent accident taking place in front of you, they may be liable for your emotional anguish.
When You Should File an Emotional Distress Claim
Much like other settlement claims, emotional distress claims have to be submitted within a certain timeframe. The time limit by which an emotional distress claim can be made is called the statute of limitations.
Usually, the statute of limitations for claims of emotional distress cases is two years from when the complainant was injured, but this is different in every state. It would be best to get in touch with a reputable traffic injury lawyer who will guide you on the steps to follow to file your claim and explain your rights under the law where you live.
Proving Emotional Distress
Mental anguish can be challenging to prove. Unlike a physical injury, one cannot fully ascertain the extent of emotional distress. The following are four ways you may be able to prove the extent of your emotional distress.
- Duration: Persistent or long-term pain like post-traumatic stress disorder can prove extreme mental anguish.
- Severity: If your emotional distress is severe, chances are the courts will rule in your favor. However, you must note that most courts require physical evidence of injury for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
- Related physical injuries: It is usually difficult to prove emotional distress because there is no tangible evidence of it. However, physical wounds related to mental anguish, such as headaches and ulcers, can be used as proof of emotional distress.
- Doctor’s note: For your emotional distress claim to hold up in court, you need to have a certified psychologist’s letter. The record can be entered as proof to show that you suffered emotional distress as a result of the car accident.
If You’ve Suffered From Emotional Distress
Mental anguish cases can be costly because your attorney may have to bring in more expert witnesses. These experts can include therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists who would evaluate the mental distress of the patient. Doctors can also prove the extent of the emotional damage the accident caused and the amount of money required for recovery.
If you are planning to file a claim for emotional distress in Indiana, you should consult an experienced attorney. They can tell you what kind of evidence you’ll need to prove your claim.