Emotional distress is sometimes overlooked by accident sufferers. If you survive a personal injury accident in Georgia, there are a lot of injuries you can sustain. Many people always focus on physical or bodily injuries; however, you can also suffer non-physical wounds. These classes of injuries could be emotional or psychological. One such non-physical consequence of a personal injury accident is emotional distress.
If you or someone you know suffers emotional distress, it’ll be best to contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer. An attorney can evaluate your claim and determine how much your claim is worth. Proving and getting compensation for emotional distress is more challenging than it is for physical losses. Therefore, an attorney is your best bet at getting fair compensation for your suffering.
What Is Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress is a noneconomic loss you can suffer in an accident. It refers to all the emotional suffering a person goes through because of a traumatic experience. In Georgia, emotional distress falls under pain and suffering. It can be the result of the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of a person.
Emotional suffering is a real consequence of accidents. So, it’ll be best not to overlook your distress in favor of physical and financial losses. An excellent attorney can help you recover damages for emotional pain too. Examples of emotional distress include:
- Fear and anxiety
- Persistent and uncontrollable bouts of crying
- Interrupted sleeping patterns
- Emotional outbursts
Sources of Emotional Distress
Any accident or event that can cause you physical injuries can result in emotional distress. They include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including truck crashes
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Slip and falls
- Fire accidents
It’s vital to understand how these accidents cause emotional distress. For instance, if you’re in a car accident that results in a fire outbreak, your face or skin could get burnt. A disfigurement can result in humiliation before people and depression if they mistreat you as a result.
Emotional Distress and the Impact Rule
Your distress claim cannot succeed if you didn’t suffer a physical injury in the traumatic experience. This principle is called the “impact rule.” Georgia is one of the few American states that still apply the impact rule to these claims. This rule makes it highly unlikely to recover any compensation for emotional distress stemming from property loss. For instance, if you lose a precious item and suffer emotionally, the courts may not entertain a claim for such sufferings.
This strict rule makes it more difficult for Georgia personal injury victims to get compensation for their emotional injuries. Fortunately, the impact rule doesn’t apply in all cases. It only applies where the claim is for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Georgian courts still retain this rule as a check for frivolous litigation. The courts believe that without the law, even bystanders in an accident may file emotional distress claims.
Elements of the Impact Rule
There are three critical elements under the Georgia impact rule. To receive any compensation, the plaintiff must prove that:
- They suffered a physical impact from an accident
- The physical impact caused a bodily injury
- The physical injury caused the plaintiff’s emotional or mental anguish
How Much Can I Get for Emotional Distress?
This type of compensation isn’t related to special damages. Therefore, it isn’t straightforward to attach a definite dollar amount to your suffering. Furthermore, it’s usually part of a broader claim for damages. People claim it along with other economic and non-economic losses. Many factors affect the total amount of damages you can get for your emotional distress.
These include the nature and severity of the accident injuries and the surrounding circumstances of the injury event. Furthermore, there’s no statutory cap on the total amount of damages you can recover for emotional distress in Georgia. Therefore, what you get depends on what you can claim and prove before the court. Usually, it’s the jury that awards a specific amount at trial. So, you’ll most likely get what a jury of your peers thinks you deserve.
Georgia’s Personal Injury Attorneys Can Get You Damages
If you’ve been suffering emotionally because of an accident, you can get compensation for your distress. It would be best if you didn’t discount your emotional suffering. A Georgia personal injury attorney can present your pain to the court and get damages from the responsible party.
Since Georgia is an at-fault state, you’ll have to prove the fault of the negligent party. Establishing the three elements of the impact rule without an attorney can be challenging. Our attorneys at Calvin Smith Law have spent multiple years representing emotional distress clients. We can use our experience to get you the maximum compensation for your claim. So, call us today for a consultation on your case.