Does Personal Injury Include Emotional Distress?

Rohan Mathew


When people talk of personal injury, the first thought that runs in their minds is accidents, wrongful death, and many more. For a case to qualify as Personal Injury, the plaintiff doesn’t have to provide evidence of physical injuries. But did you know you can sue your employer for inflicting emotional distress? Besides, how can you differentiate standard work pressure from emotional distress? To understand it in a better way, let us answer the following questions.

What Is Emotional Distress?

Daily stress causes emotional distress, a state of mental despair. When your employer frequently inflicts pressure on an employee, it results in emotional stress. In adverse situations, emotional distress develops into severe depression. Many organizations today measure the productivity of their employees with an annual report. Typically, if an employee is under emotional distress, work productivity is reduced. 

Today, you can file a lawsuit if a person causes you to go through emotional distress as long as you can prove the emotional and psychological trauma. In comparison, it was not easy to showcase emotional distress in the form of physical harm in the past. Emotional damages at work is caused by: 

  • Sexual abuse 
  • Gender discrimination 
  • Racism
  • Defamation 
  • Political discrimination 
  • Working extra hours without getting paid 
  • Denial of paid leave 

In all those situations, employees can find it difficult to report to work daily. If they get to work, they are thinking about their situation instead of working.

How Can You Recognize Emotional Distress?

You can recognize emotional distress through the work output and emotional state of a person. For an individual, you can quickly identify the beginning of the emotional pain. Furthermore, you can tell when the stress progresses. 

Every type of job has a certain amount of pressure on each individual. Employers put pressure on people to ensure that each individual meets the company’s goals. So how can you differentiate between normal work pressure and emotional distress? For an individual, you can watch out for these symptoms:

  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Regularly feeling tired 
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Body aches such as neck pains 

Furthermore, you can also recognize if your colleague is going through emotional stress. To know you look out for some of the following signs:

  •  Moody and dull nowadays 
  • They disassociate with other colleagues
  • They get into risky behavior 
  • Unhappy and anxious 
  • Rarely complete their tasks  

How Do I Capture Evidence of Emotional Distress?

Suppose you are currently working for an emotionally stressful employer, then you should always document in your journal. Regular journaling gives you a detailed description of events. Your lawyer can later use the journal as evidence in court. Apart from that, you should always keep a record of any distressful texts or emails. If email is the primary mode of communication between you and your employer, you can present a copy in court. Besides, you can also find colleagues who witnessed the distressful actions. Witnesses are not limited to your colleagues alone. Your family members and friends can also give testimonials.

The only method to treat severe anxiety and depression is by visiting a psychologist. Psychologists usually record the patients’ symptoms during sessions. They also find the route of emotional distress by asking patients to talk about their problems. Therefore, when you visit a psychologist, ensure to mention everything that happened at work. Besides, the court accepts medical records as evidence.

Should I Sue for Emotional Distress?

The first thing you should do is to contact a personal injury lawyer. Don’t find any regular personal injury lawyer. Instead, find a lawyer that has previously handled emotional distress cases. A lawyer with experience will know the ways to tackle emotional distress cases. On the other hand, when you contact an attorney, they can tell you whether your case is credible. Also, they can point you in the right direction when gathering evidence. 

After the attorney carefully examines your case, they then decide on the type of emotional distress. Usually, lawyers file for the following types of cases:

Negligent Infliction Of Emotional Distress- Clients can file a lawsuit even though the defendant did not directly harm them. Although the defendant acted unintentionally, the plaintiff is entitled to a case.

Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress– Employees file for a lawsuit when the employer intentionally causes emotional distress. Usually, if the employer repeats the distressful actions, it is considered as intentional infliction.

Finally, the plaintiff and the defendant have the option of settling the matter out of the court. Negotiating with the employer or colleague is more manageable than going through court trials. Even so, it would help if you have a lawyer who can guide you. A lawyer will know the total amount you should accept.