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Is It Worth Suing for Emotional Distress?

Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical mistakes, and other life-altering events can lead to severe emotional distress. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that adults across all age groups experience emotional distress at roughly similar rates (ranging from 2.4% to 4.3%), with only minor differences between women and men. 

If you are experiencing emotional distress after a traumatic event in Maryland, you are not alone. The effects of emotional distress can impact almost every aspect of a victim’s life, making it difficult to enjoy life and activities as they once did. Fortunately, financial compensation is available in certain cases of emotional distress; and, if you have a claim, it may be worth suing for your emotional losses.

The Baltimore personal injury lawyers at The Bishop Law Group understand the physical, financial, and emotional losses suffered by accident victims. If you were hurt because of the reckless or careless actions of someone else, you deserve justice. Our firm is committed to helping the wrongfully injured move forward with honesty and integrity.

Understanding the Symptoms and Effects of Emotional Distress

Emotional distress can manifest in several different ways. It can also have a variety of different effects over a person’s lifetime. As identified by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS), common signs of emotional distress include:

  • Abnormal eating habits (eating more or less than usual) 
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns (difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual)
  • Adopting new habits such as drinking or smoking
  • Developing drug dependence 
  • Experiencing headaches, stomachaches, or other aches or pains that do not have an identifiable physical cause
  • Feeling disinterested in work, family activities, or social engagement 
  • Feeling fatigued or “low energy”
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, worried, or guilty 
  • Having trouble readjusting to your normal routine after a traumatic event
  • Not wanting to leave the house or feeling withdrawn 

Many trauma victims will also experience “trigger events” that exacerbate their symptoms. As the DHHS explains, “the anniversary of the event may renew feelings of fear, anxiety, and sadness. Certain sounds, such as sirens, can also trigger emotional distress. These and other environmental sensations can take people right back to the disaster, or cause them to fear that it’s about to happen again.” 

These effects, among others, can have dramatic effects on a person’s life. Despite common misconceptions, emotional distress is a very real condition with very real consequences. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of emotional distress should seek treatment promptly, and they should consult with a personal injury lawyer about their legal rights as soon as possible. 

Understanding Lawsuits for Emotional Distress

In the vast majority of cases, recovering financial compensation for emotional distress involves filing a broader claim for financial compensation after an accident or medical malpractice. Maryland law entitles accident and medical malpractice victims to compensation for all of the financial and non-financial costs of their injuries. Emotional distress is one example of a “non-financial cost.” 

In personal injury and medical malpractice cases, victims’ non-financial costs will often far exceed their financial costs. To illustrate, we’ll look at the “multiplier” method for calculating non-financial losses: 

With this method, just compensation for a victim’s non-financial costs is calculated by applying a multiplier to the victim’s financial costs. This multiplier is typically between 1.5 and 5, and it is determined based on the severity and extent of the victim’s emotional distress and other non-financial harm. So, for example, let’s say your financial losses (current and future medical bills, lost earnings, and other out-of-pocket costs) total $100,000. Applying a mid-range multiplier of 3, you would be entitled to $300,000 in financial compensation for your emotional distress and other financial losses. 

Of course, no outcome is guaranteed, and the amount you can recover depends entirely on your individual circumstances. But, if you are experiencing emotional distress due to someone else’s negligence, you should at least speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. It costs nothing, and your lawyer can help you make an informed decision about whether it makes sense to pursue a claim. If it is worth suing for your emotional distress, your personal injury lawyer can pursue your claim on your behalf, and your lawyer can help ensure you seek the full compensation to which you are entitled under Maryland law. 

Our Baltimore Personal Injury Attorneys Are Ready to Help

Are you experiencing emotional distress after a traumatic accident or as the result of medical malpractice? If so, contact the Maryland personal injury lawyers at The Bishop Law Group. We want to hear your story.

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To discuss suing for your emotional distress with an experienced personal injury lawyer at The Bishop Law Group, please call (410) 390-3101 or request a FREE consultation online today.