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Can You Get Compensation for Mental Anguish in a Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury cases change lives. No one makes it through a personal injury from an accident without something being affected. It’s not just physical pain and injury that people suffer from, either; people can endure emotional suffering and mental anguish.
Courts realize that a person is more than his or her body. Our minds are important and can be injured as much – if not more – than our bodies. That’s why courts include a person’s emotional and psychological suffering in compensatory damages in a personal injury case.
Mental anguish means a person is suffering from a psychological disorder of some kind as the result of an accident. Mental anguish can include everything from depression and fright to distress, anxiety, trauma (i.e. PTSD), and even grief.
What the court is looking at when evaluating mental anguish is the level and kind of mental disruption caused by the accident.
You can receive compensation for mental anguish and emotional distress in a personal injury case, and how much you can receive depends on the severity of your suffering.
Proving Mental Anguish in Your Case
To get compensated for your suffering, you’ll have to prove that you’ve suffered psychologically.
There are two elements. You must prove that you:
- Have some form of mental anguish (depression, anxiety, grief, distress, etc.); and
- Have your mental anguish as a direct result of the accident/incident.
If you suffered from depression before, say, from a car accident, then that existed prior to the accident and won’t count. You have to show that you’ve had real, psychological disturbances that have negatively impacted your life.
Maybe you can’t sleep. Maybe you can’t work. Your relationships may have been negatively impacted. You can’t ride in a car or leave the house due to fear. Depression has sapped all motivation from you. You live in a constant state of stress and it has had negative impacts on your health.
You have to prove that you have these conditions. That starts with documenting everything you can. But that’s not enough. You’ll also have to see a mental health professional to get diagnosed. It’s a lot harder to assert mental anguish without a professional’s expert assessment.
The mental health provider can then help tie the mental anguish to the accident or incident. As your personal injury lawyer, we can argue the connection and use whatever supporting evidence we can find, but we’re not the experts when it comes to mental health. It’s a lot better if you seek help and treatment for your condition.
Alabama’s Laws on Mental Anguish Compensation
In Alabama, mental anguish is considered a part of compensatory damages designed to make the victim whole. There are no caps on compensatory damages for physical or mental/emotional injuries in our state. So, there’s no limit, in theory, of how much you could receive; the total amount you’ll get depends on the circumstances of your case and the seriousness of your injuries.
It’s perfectly natural to feel distressed, depressed, anxious, afraid, or grief-stricken after a serious accident or incident. You shouldn’t feel ashamed, and you should get help as soon as possible and take treatment seriously. Our personal injury lawyers can’t heal you, but we can do our best to get you the compensation you need to make yourself and your family whole again.