Can You Sue for Emotional Distress After an Injury Accident in Illinois?

Posted in: Personal Injury

If someone’s negligence causes your accident, you’ll likely have physical injuries to recover from. However, you might also suffer mental afflictions that significantly impact your life.

It’s possible to receive compensation for all the damages caused by someone’s reckless behavior. Under Illinois personal injury law, it’s possible to sue for emotional distress after an accident-related injury. Learn more about the process and how to calculate your losses.

What is Emotional Distress?

After an accident, emotional distress is one of the most common damages victims experience. You might experience extreme humiliation, indignity, fear, anticipation, shock, inconvenience, apprehension, or fury.

These are just some examples of potential emotional reactions to trauma or abuse. Emotional distress is not something you can simply “get over.” When distress substantially impacts your life, those responsible for causing your accident or resulting injuries should be compelled to compensate you for your suffering.

What is the Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) is when a defendant intentionally causes severe emotional distress and trauma to a victim.

You may be able to pursue punitive damages if someone intentionally harmed you. Any willful negligence, gross negligence, despicable conduct, or egregious conduct could be considered IIED if it was intended to hurt you.

Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter others from such behavior. An attorney will be able to evaluate your circumstances and advise you on whether you can seek punitive damages.

What are the Symptoms of Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress can take multiple forms. Some symptoms of emotional distress that you should be aware of include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Poor quality of sleep
  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Insomnia
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Extreme anger outbursts
  • Other behavioral changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of energy
  • Reduced quality of life

Because many of these symptoms overlap with other conditions, you might not realize you’re experiencing emotional distress. However, if you have any of these or more symptoms that impact your daily life after an accident, seek medical help and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

What Can Cause Emotional Distress?

Virtually any traumatic incident has the potential to cause emotional distress. This does not necessarily mean that you need to have suffered critical or life-threatening injuries to experience emotional distress. The accident itself could have been terrifying and led to extreme psychological distress and emotional trauma.

With that in mind, some of the most common types of accidents and incidents associated with emotional distress include:

  • Work injuries
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Wrongful death
  • Medical malpractice
  • Premises liabilities
  • Dog attacks
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect
  • Trampoline accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents

Any number of injury accidents could cause emotional distress. Part of the recovery process is recognizing that you experienced a traumatic event. No one can tell you the accident injury didn’t harm you beyond your physical injuries.

How Long Can Emotional Distress Last?

The amount of time you can experience emotional distress can vary widely depending on the type of accident you were involved in, the severity of your injuries, and the specific details of your case.

It is not unusual for emotional distress to last weeks, months, or even years after the traumatizing event.

Can I Sue for Emotional Distress?

You have the authority to file a claim for emotional distress in civil court. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation for every loss you experienced and trauma you endured.

Instead of being stuck dealing with the limitations of filing an insurance claim alone, when you go to trial, your case will be heard by a judge and jury who can determine whether the liable party should compensate you fairly for your damages.

Who is Responsible for My Emotional Distress?

It is difficult to say who could be responsible for your emotional distress. The circumstances of your case will determine who will be on the hook for your damages. The type of accident that hurt you will help your personal injury lawyer uncover the truth. The individual or entity that caused your accident should be ordered to repay you for your economic and non-economic damages accordingly.

Suppose you were in a grocery store and slipped because of a puddle. Under premises liability law, the store and its employees could be liable for your damages if they knew of the spill and didn’t take precautions to prevent slips. It will depend on if you can prove they were responsible for your accident.

Other cases, like car crashes or worksite injuries, could be easier to prove. Working with a personal injury attorney will give you a better idea of your legal options.

What Kind of Damages Can I Collect for Emotional Distress?

The value of your emotional distress will vary depending on how significantly your life has been affected. Emotional distress is considered a non-economic loss, and your attorney can help you calculate your claim’s value.

Additionally, if you had to take time from work, experienced a reduced quality of life, or needed to pay extra for mental health counseling to cope with your emotional trauma, these costs can also be recovered as part of your civil claim against the liable party.

How Do I Prove Emotional Distress?

Proving emotional distress can be challenging, as it is not a fixed financial loss. There’s a variety of evidence you can use to show how the accident has affected your emotional health.

Some evidence you can use includes:

  • Medical Records
  • Loved ones’ testimony
  • Personal journal entries
  • Expert testimony

You’ll need to show that the accident has affected your day-to-day life. Your family members can explain that you aren’t acting the same since you were injured. Your attorney will be able to evaluate the quality of evidence to introduce to support your case.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?

Having a personal injury lawyer on your side is invaluable when you are dealing with emotional distress. Some of the top ways your attorney will advocate for your right to compensation Include:

  • Finding witnesses to testify on your behalf
  • Reviewing your damages to calculate the value of your emotional distress and other losses
  • Investigating liability and proving negligence
  • Negotiating with the insurance company
  • Preparing your emotional distress claim for trial

Call an Illinois Emotional Distress Lawyer Today

When your emotional distress has turned your life upside down and made it difficult for you to live normally, it is crucial to access the compensation you are entitled to. With an experienced Illinois emotional distress lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. working for you, you can rest easier knowing a team of legal professionals is advocating for maximum restitution.

Our firm offers no-cost, risk-free consultations to injury victims across Illinois. Please take advantage of this opportunity by completing our contact form or calling our office at (888) 216-9064.