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How to Document Emotional Distress


It is well known that accident victims can receive compensation for medical expenses incurred to treat their injuries. They can also receive compensation for other economic losses, such as lost wages or damage to their vehicle or other property. But accident victims can also receive money damages for their emotional distress caused by an accident. To help your case, you should carefully document the full extent of your emotional injuries.

Collect Medical Records

Jurors are sometimes skeptical that accident victims are truly suffering from emotional distress. After all, they can see a burn or missing limb quite easily, but they cannot see into your mind. Nevertheless, you can use medical records to help show that your emotional distress is real. For example, you might have:

  • Reported emotional distress to your doctor. If this was noted in your file, get a copy.
  • Received medical treatment for physical disorders caused by emotional distress. For example, you might be suffering from panic attacks or sleeplessness.
  • Visited a therapist or counselor. You can request copies of your records, as well as a list of dates you attended therapy.

By receiving treatment for negative emotions like depression, anger, anxiety, irritability, and fear, you bolster your claim that these emotions have seriously impacted your life.

Save Medication

A doctor might prescribe antidepressants, muscle relaxers, or other prescription drugs to treat your negative emotions. This medication serves as some proof that you are truly suffering from emotional distress. Remember to save your refill bottles or receipts that show how long you have been taking the medication.

Have Friends and Family Testify

People who are close to you can provide testimony about how your mood and personality have changed since the accident. For example, your family might report that you have become withdrawn and depressed. This testimony helps convince skeptical jurors that the accident caused profound emotional distress.

The more detailed testimony, the better. For example, family members should not just conclude you are depressed. Instead, they can explain how you no longer pursue your favorite hobbies, like running or playing with your grandchildren. They can also testify about whether you leave the house, and how often. This detailed testimony from a third person can create a vivid picture in the mind of the jury.

Keep a Journal

You can also document your own struggles with depression, anger, and other emotions. Keep a daily journal in which you record your mood and how it has affected your daily life. For example, you might be unable to sleep because you are continually reliving the accident. This journal provides contemporaneous proof of your emotional distress.

Receive Full Compensation for Your Injuries

In some cases, emotional distress damages are considerable. If you seek to maximize the amount of compensation you can receive, then carefully document all injuries, physical as well as emotional.

At Earnhart Law in Delray Beach, our team of personal injury lawyers has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, which we owe to our skill and dedication. We would like to hear from you, so please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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