Can I Sue for Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress can be caused after an accident, an experience of medical negligence or after a distressing experience, such as being bullied, harassed or discriminated against at work.

It can take a significant toll on you. Any sort of upsetting, or even traumatic, event could leave you suffering from anxiety, depression or fear.

You may also find that you experience physical symptoms, such as lack of sleep, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, stomach problems or dizziness.

So can you sue for emotional distress?

Making an emotional distress claim

It may be possible for you to sue for emotional distress, depending on your situation. The main factor that will mean you can make a claim is whether someone’s negligence caused the harm you first suffered. You'll usually only be able to claim if you first suffered physical harm.

This could be because you were hurt in an accident that was someone else’s fault. This could be an accident in a public place, like a fall. In this case, you could hold the occupier of the building you were hurt in responsible. If your accident happened outside, it may be possible to hold the local council or other organisation, such as a car park company, responsible.

If you are suffering from emotional distress after a medical accident, you could hold your treatment provider responsible. This could be an NHS or private provider. Feeling betrayed is a common emotion after experiencing medical negligence. We understand that you will want to make things right after going through an incident like this.

An accident or medical negligence claim will take into consideration the emotional effect your injury or illness has had on you. This means that you can claim for your physical injuries, as well as the emotional distress you’ve suffered.

When it comes to work-related bullying or discrimination, you could hold your employer responsible. If your employer did not act to stop the problems you were facing, you could be able to take them to a tribunal. This could get them to acknowledge that they did not do enough to protect you.

Proving your case

You should be able to show that you have experienced emotional distress to be able to sue the person or organisation responsible.

Your solicitor will help you build your case, but it could be useful to think about what evidence you could rely on early in the process.

This could include:

  • Communications

You may have records of expressing your feelings to a friend or family member, or you may have informed the responsible party of how they’ve affected you.

  • Medical reports

If you’ve been to your doctor about your emotional distress, your medical records could show what you’ve gone through. If you make a claim, you’ll likely have to have a medical assessment. This will provide strong evidence in your case.

  • Symptom diary

You can record the symptoms you experience, both physical and emotional. Make a note of when you experience them, what may have caused them and how you felt.

  • Witness statements

Those close to you, such as your family or colleagues, will be able to confirm whether they’ve noticed any changes in your behaviour.

The financial consequences

The First4Lawyers team has seen clients who have been unable to work because of the emotional distress they’re going through. Many suffered from financial problems as a result. If this has happened to you, we understand how stressful this can be.

That’s why the law has made it possible to claim for any financial losses you’ve suffered as part of a personal injury claim. This includes lost earnings, bonus or commission.

If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own and would like to find out what you could be entitled to in compensation, just get in touch. Our team is here to make sure you know your rights and to help you stand up for yourself.

Give us a call or start your claim online and we’ll get back to you for a free chat with no obligation to go ahead.


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