Can You Sue for Emotional Distress in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
Emotional distress, also referred to as mental anguish, describes a person’s psychological injury following a traumatic event such as a car accident. If you suffered psychological trauma or mental harm as a result of your injury, you might be able to recover damages for emotional distress in your personal injury claim in Florida.
Filing a Claim for Emotional Distress in Florida
Unlike physical injuries, emotional distress is difficult to prove. Often, a victim needs help from an experienced personal injury attorney and expert witnesses to prove that they are entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering in Florida.
To sue another person for emotional distress in Florida, you must demonstrate evidence proving that the at-fault party’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness resulted in your mental anguish.
Also, Florida law allows you to file a claim against another person when you witnessed how their negligence caused a serious injury or death to your loved one or another person. Thus, you may be able to file a claim for emotional distress if you witness your spouse, parent, child, or another family member’s injury.
Signs That You Can File a Claim for Emotional Distress
Signs that you suffered emotional distress as a result of your injury or seeing another person’s injury or death include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Suicidal thoughts
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia)
- Dramatic weight changes
- Compulsive/obsessive behaviors
- Memory problems
- Mood swings
- Shame and humiliation
Emotional distress and pain and suffering damages are considered non-economic damages. These damages are harder to prove and evaluate because, unlike economic damages, they do not come with a price tag.
When Can You Recover Damages for Emotional Distress in Florida?
Typically, it is easier to establish your non-economic damages if you can prove that you also suffered physical injury. You may need expert witnesses to help you establish a direct link between your emotional distress and the responsible party’s negligence.
As a rule of thumb, it can be tricky to prove emotional distress since others, including insurance companies, cannot see your injury. You should also be aware of Florida’s “impact rule.” In the state of Florida, you may be able to sue another person for emotional distress if you can establish negligent infliction of emotional distress, also known as NIED.
Under the “impact rule,” you are required to prove that physical contact was involved in the occurrence of your emotional distress. However, you may still be able to recover damages for emotional distress if you were in the zone of danger.
In Florida, the zone of danger is a legal term used to describe the area where you were in physical danger due to another person’s negligence. The zone of danger exception allows you to recover damages even if you were not physically harmed in a car accident or another traumatic event.
For instance, you may be able to pursue a claim for emotional distress if your loved one sustained a bodily injury in an auto accident while you were not harmed in the crash. Consult with a skilled personal injury attorney in Miami to help to file a claim for emotional distress. Contact our Miami personal injury attorneys at Pita Weber Del Prado to seek compensation in your case. Call at 305-670-2889 for a case review.