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Suing for Mental Anguish

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Suing for Mental Anguish

A victim of intentional or negligent actions caused by another person can sue for emotional distress. For example, the plaintiff could sue the defendant for emotional distress after witnessing the injury of a family member. Mental anguish is similar to suing for emotional distress because the plaintiff suffers psychological injury, not physical one. However, it is usually connected to another type of personal injury tort claim other than emotional distress.

What Is Mental Anguish?

Mental anguish implies a high level of mental distress and pain. The pain is not physical, but emotional. This emotion is not simply resentment, embarrassment, disappointment, or anger. Suing for mental anguish refers to suffering from emotional disturbances:

  • Anxiety
  • Distress
  • Fear
  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • Depression

How Do Mental Anguish Lawsuits Arise?

They usually arise from another type of tort that can cause serious emotional distress, such as medical malpractice, defamation, or battery.

A plaintiff can usually sue for mental anguish if it would be reasonable for the defendant’s actions to cause mental anguish.  For instance, a plaintiff can sue for mental anguish if:

  • The defendant held a gun to the plaintiff’s head
  • The defendant threatened serious physical bodily harm
  • The defendant swung a baseball bat at the plaintiff

What Kinds of Damages Can I Receive by Suing for Mental Anguish?

If successful in a mental anguish lawsuit, a plaintiff can receive non-economic damages. Non-economic damages, or general damages, are awarded to a plaintiff in personal injury cases. These damages do not reimburse the plaintiff for out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills. Instead, they are provided to a plaintiff to cover damages that are not easily calculated, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of reputation
  • Disability such as ptsd
  • Long term effects of an injury

Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer Regarding Suing for Mental Anguish?

Yes, as successfully proving mental anguish in a personal injury case is a difficult thing to do. Thus, you should absolutely talk to a personal injury lawyer about how to proceed with your mental anguish case.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-09-2017 08:44 PM PDT

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