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Suing For Emotional Distress: A Walkthrough

Is suing for emotional distress likely to succeed in California courts? 

As attorneys with a proven record of success in the personal injury cases, the Cohn & Swartzon team is well aware of the mental and emotional toll that trauma can inflict, both in the moment and in the aftermath. However, emotional distress alone is rarely enough to secure compensation for clients through litigation, for reasons we will explain below.

Why Suing For Emotional Distress Alone Rarely Succeeds 

Challenges like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress are common and well-known side effects of events like car accidents, dog bites, and catastrophic injuries.

In a personal injury claim, however, emotional distress or “pain and suffering” are nearly always tied to a specific incident that also inflicted physical damage injury. Without documented evidence of physical injury, it’s almost impossible to build a credible strong case and generate client compensation based on emotional distress alone.

When is Suing for Emotional Distress Successful?

If you have been in an accident or suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence, you can always seek to include emotional distress or pain and suffering as part of your personal injury claim.

Common symptoms of emotional distress named in personal injury lawsuits include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Feelings of shame or guilt
  • Insomnia 
  • Intense feelings of fear or anger
  • Flashbacks
  • Worry
  • Discomfort
  • Grief
  • Shock
  • Humiliation

An experienced attorney will want to prove these claims by using  medical records, and in some cases expert witnesses.  Additionally, attorneys often attempt to show that the client did not suffer from these conditions before the incident, as well as whether they sought treatment, to include them in the claim.

Cohn & Swartzon on Suing Someone for Emotional Distress

The Cohn & Swartzon team has more than seven decades of combined experience in personal injury negotiation and litigation. As such, we have learned to review the merits and credibility of each claim closely so that we can present a strong case that is likely to result in compensation for our clients, including compensation for emotional distress. 

“Suing for emotional distress alone is  generally a non-starter for our firm, but that isn’t because we don’t believe someone’s story or what they have experienced. When we do proceed with personal injury claims, ‘pain and suffering’ is always an important consideration because our clients deserve to be compensated for what they’ve gone through.”

– Jason D. Cohn, Founding Principal, Cohn & Swartzon

In conclusion, if you have suffered emotional distress because of an injury or accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages. The attorneys at Cohn & Swartzon can evaluate the merits of your claim and help you determine the best path forward.

Connect with Cohn & Swartzon now to schedule a free consultation.



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