How Much Money Is Emotional Distress Worth in California (and How Can You Prove It)?
An accident can damage more than just your body.
The mind and emotional state of a person are often the last things thought about after an accident.
First and foremost, their concern is about a person’s physical body any injuries they may have sustained.
Then, the worry shifts to the person’s financial state, to how the accident may impact them fiscally.
Both of these are absolutely valid things to be concerned about.
A person’s emotional state is crucial, however, and can’t be ignored.
Just like you need your body to navigate the world around you day after day, you need your mind and emotional state to filter your life for you.
And if that filter is affected, your life may become something that much more difficult to handle.
Thankfully, emotional suffering is something you’re legally able to seek compensation for.
You might think that would be a difficult thing to quantify in a court of law.
In California, there are three categories of compensation.
The first is economic damages, which is as straight forward as it sounds. Any financial losses that occur as a result of an accident are eligible for compensation.
Another is compensation for punitive damages. This is additional compensation awarded to a victim in order to punish the defendant.
The last kind is non-economic damages, which is where emotional distress falls under.
However, non-economic damages can be difficult to suss out.
That’s why it’s important to get the help of an experienced group of Los Angeles lawyers. A California personal injury attorney will help get you the compensation you deserve.
Beyond that, knowing the different sorts of damages that occur after an accident and what receiving compensation for them entails is something you owe it to yourself to learn.
Pain and Suffering
Any reimbursement you receive that covers physician bills would fall under pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering constitute any sort of longlasting physical pain you felt after an accident. It also counts as the subsequent negative impact the pain has had on your life. The suffering it caused.
Depending on the circumstances of your personal injury case, being awarded compensation for pain and suffering can be fairly straightforward.
Emotions are invisible to everyone besides those feeling them.
They are unable to be quantified scientifically, so they are, therefore, underrepresented. Both by the general public and by a court of law.
Any long-lasting physical pain you feel after an accident will certainly affect your mind.
An injury will affect your everyday life. It may leave you with a new sense of anxiety or post-traumatic stress. You could experience depression after your accident as well.
Luckily, there are legal moves you can make to be compensated for the long term negative impact an accident has on your life.
Loss of Consortium
Consortium refers to a relationship, often between a couple, married or otherwise.
As stated, your physical being isn’t the only thing at risk because of an accident.
In its most stark scenarios, the death of a loved one constitutes a loss of consortium.
In the more grey shades, a loss of consortium can count as a degradation of a relationship.
An accident may be so strenuous that the relationship suffers or ends because of it, something that certainly counts as emotional distress.
Luckily, the State of California recognizes this as a very real thing, something that may qualify you for compensation.
Injury to Reputation
In this scenario, emotional distress will have had to occur as a result of damage to your reputation.
This counts as someone slandering you or shaming you publicly, or defaming you in some way.
There would have to be a clear cause and effect of someone else’s slander negatively impacting your life, but it does count as something for which you can receive compensation.
This can be the case whether or not an actual accident and injury occurred.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Severe injuries impact your everyday existence. They are an absolute cold-water-shock to your life, and because of that, can very much impact your enjoyment of life.
Everyday activities you once loved can become an uninteresting blur after an accident.
If this is the case, you are able to seek compensation after such an upheaval in your life’s quality.
In the most severe examples of this, if you are disfigured or made disabled because of an accident you weren’t responsible for, you are absolutely able to seek compensation.
Limitations on Claiming Non-Economic Damages in California
While it is always advised to seek compensation for the emotional suffering that occurs after an accident, that compensation is predicated on that on that one simple thing- the accident.
You cannot simply seek compensation for general emotional traumas you’ve suffered. If they have nothing to do with an accident, there’s no compensation you can seek.
It does get tricky for some of the more complicated scenarios, however.
If someone is a witness to an accident, is in close proximity to an accident occurring, or witnesses a loved getting injured in an accident, then that person may be entitled to compensation.
How Do You Put a Price on Non-Economic Damages?
Although it seems nebulous and hazy, there are ways to assign a monetary value to emotional damage done.
There are many factors that could affect the compensation you receive, such as the nature of the accident itself if it is deemed as stressful a situation as you claim.
The severity of your emotional suffering, how long it’s lasted, and the quality of your life both before and after the accident will be gauged.
All of this should be done by someone with your best interests at heart.
Get the Legal Help You Deserve in California
You might feel hopeless after an accident, crushed under its weight, emotionally strained.
Luckily, there is hope.
Contact the lawyers of Tawni Takagi at (310) 954-7248.
With years of experience handling cases just like yours, our California accident attorneys will help you get the compensation you are owed.