About 8.3 million adults in the United States suffer from serious emotional distress. While most of these people are in this situation because of personal circumstances such as job loss, massive debt, terminal illness, or death of a loved one, there are others who’re distressed because of another person’s deliberate or negligent conduct.

If you’re in the latter group, you’re probably wondering whether there are legal actions you can take against the person who has caused you so much anguish or suffering.

So, can you sue for psychological distress?

Continue reading for detailed insight.

It’s Complicated

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Although you can sue for emotional distress, it’s not that straightforward.

First, you need to have a clear understanding of the legal definition of emotional distress.

Legally, emotional distress is a kind of severe or extreme emotional pain that arises from the actions, deliberate or otherwise, of another party. This could be a person or an organization.

To be able to sue, you must prove that the party’s actions caused you more than just embarrassment, disappointment, or anger. The distress has to be extreme, often leading to health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

That said, there’s usually a thin line between mental health and mental anguish.

Let’s say you’re currently recovering from a mental health disorder, such as depression. Then something happens, like your spouse filing for divorce. Because you’re still vulnerable, this new development causes you to relapse into depression.

In this case, you might not be able to sue for emotional distress. You already had an underlying mental health condition, which was made worse by the divorce.

Examples of Instances When You Can Sue for Emotional Distress

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In most cases, emotional distress occurs as a result of another event.

For example, if you’re injured in a car collision, you might sustain physical injuries. You’ll be treated for these injuries, but your troubles might not end there. You might keep having disturbing flashes of the crash in your mind. These are telltale signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now, if another driver was at fault for the collision, you might be able to sue them for your emotional anguish. You’ll need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you file the lawsuit.

You don’t have to be the direct subject of a traumatic event for you to suffer emotional distress and be able to sue.  

If you witness someone threatening a loved one at gunpoint, for example, the event can cause both of you severe emotional anguish. Both of you can sue that person for emotional distress.

Can You Sue for Emotional Distress? It Depends!

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Can you sue for emotional distress? Well, now you have the answer.

Yes, you can sue when someone inflicts emotional pain on you, but there’s a high legal threshold for this pain. Remember the burden of proof lies with you, so you need a competent lawyer to help you get the justice you deserve. 

Good luck and keep reading our blog for more handy tips.

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