Can I Seek Compensation for Emotional Distress in My Personal Injury Case?

Hoffspiegel Law Blog

Emotional distress, also known as mental anguish and pain and suffering, can be debilitating and overwhelming. It is not uncommon for victims of car crashes, slip and fall accidents, and other traumatic events to deal with emotional distressin the aftermath of the accident. 

The severity of emotional or psychological injuries varies from one case to another and depends on the circumstances of the traumatic event. While injured persons can recover damages for emotional distress in personal injury cases, they must meet certain requirements to be eligible for compensation for the psychological harm and emotional distress caused by another individual. 

It is crucial to seek help from a skilled personal injury attorney in Atlanta to determine whether you are eligible to seek compensation for your emotional distress. At Hoffspiegel Law, our knowledgeable attorneys are committed to delivering personalized legal service and helping victims recover the financial compensation they deserve. 

What are examples of emotional distress?

Some of the most common types of emotional distress after car accidents and other traumatic events are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Humiliation
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Fear
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Mental anguish
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Uncontrollable anger
  • Frustration
  • Embarrassment
  • Psychological trauma

Let’s imagine the following scenario:

A parent is crossing the intersection with their 5-year-old child when a car driver appears out of nowhere and hits the child. The parent has not been harmed in the accident, but their child sustained a life-threatening injury. The parent may have grounds to seek compensation for emotional distress due to witnessing their child suffer. 

When can you recover damages for emotional distress in Georgia? 

If you have suffered an emotional injury or psychological trauma as a result of someone else’s negligent or careless conduct, you may be entitled to financial compensation for emotional distress in Georgia. 

However. Georgia requires you to prove these two elements to be eligible for compensation: 

  1. Another person or entity’s negligence is directly responsible for the infliction of emotional distress; and
  2. You were impacted physically or in some other way due to the negligence of the other person or entity. 

Georgia’s “impact rule” permits injured parties to seek compensation for emotional distress only when the negligent party’s conduct causes a direct physical impact on the injured party. 

However, Georgia courts have held that an injured person may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress if the “impact” was a monetary loss from an emotional or psychological injury. This is known as the “pecuniary loss” rule. Oliver v. McDade, 762 S.E.2d 96, 328 Ga. App. 368 (Ga. Ct. App. 2014)

Seeking compensation for purely emotional distress damages without a physical impact can be difficult, which is why it is advised to seek help from an experienced attorney in Georgia to help you build a claim. 

Consult with our Atlanta car accident attorneys Lloyd and Alex Hoffspiegel to discuss your particular situation and understand what types of damages you are entitled to in your personal injury case. 

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