Recognition that inflicting emotional distress on another person may be the basis for legal action dates to the early 20th century. Today, it is widely understood that if one person wrongfully causes emotional or mental trauma in someone else, the victim may be able to recover compensation in a lawsuit.
Because emotional distress cannot be seen or objectively quantified, it may be harder to get money for this type of injury compared to, for example, a broken arm. In many cases, emotional distress is part of a harassment case, such as sexual harassment or another form of workplace harassment. A medical misdiagnosis may cause emotional distress, as well.
An experienced lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve in an emotional distress claim. The personal injury attorneys of the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, can help you pursue a claim for emotional distress in the workplace, from a medical error or in other circumstances.
Our experienced lawyers invest the time and resources to get full value for our clients’ emotional distress claims. We know how to calculate damages and justify it to an insurance adjuster or a jury.
Don’t settle for less. Contact us now to find out how we can help you.
At first, an emotional distress claim could be successful only if the mental injury was connected to the infliction of physical harm. But courts in many states – including New York – now recognize the right to compensation for emotional distress without physical injury or even physical contact.
Emotional distress may be caused by intentional or reckless conduct, or negligence. Intentional behavior that might cause severe emotional distress that rises to the level of legal action may include multiple incidents of sexual or racial harassment in the workplace.
An example of a negligent act that could cause emotional distress is if a doctor mistakenly gives a patient a dire medical diagnosis, such as telling a patient they he or she is HIV-positive when in fact that is not the case, or diagnosing cancer that does not exist.
In many – but certainly not all – cases of negligent infliction of emotional distress, there must be physical harm in addition to mental harm for a plaintiff to recover damages. In the case of an incorrect cancer diagnosis, for example, the plaintiff might show that he or she underwent unnecessary chemotherapy or radiation treatment because of the error.
In general, an emotional distress claim must show that:
For instance, if a supervisor needs to reassign, discipline or fire an employee, any of these may cause the worker extreme emotional distress. But these actions – assuming they are not unlawfully discriminatory – are probably not extreme and outrageous, and there would be no cause for an emotional distress claim.
In a valid lawsuit for emotional distress, the main hurdle is documenting what happened and the fact that it caused emotional harm. Opposing attorneys may claim that the plaintiff’s distress is feigned or exaggerated, or even that the triggering events did not happen as alleged.
Documenting a case of emotional distress almost always requires professional testimony from a therapist or psychiatrist who has treated the plaintiff.
Testimony may help a claim if it comes from co-workers, friends or family members who can attest to witnessing or hearing about what happened and changes in the plaintiff’s mood, demeanor, etc., around the time of the incident.
Additionally, any diary or journal entries, email message or other records made by the plaintiff or witnesses at the time of the incident may also be useful evidence.
If you have been subjected to an incident or ongoing harassment that has caused you emotional distress, you have a friend and a sympathetic ear at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP.
We have helped many people get the money they deserve after suffering serious emotional distress on Long Island. We work with investigators, medical professionals and financial specialists to ensure we fully document a case before we present compensation demands. If we go to court, we go prepared to win.
Personal injury, handled personally. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.