How are emotional damages calculated

Emotional distress is just as serious as physical injuries, but it’s difficult to quantify for compensation. How are emotional damages calculated, though? Calculating emotional damage can feel like measuring shadows with a ruler or weighing thoughts on a scale.

A significant number of drivers develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following serious motor vehicle accidents. Statistics indicate that approximately 25-33% of drivers exhibit PTSD symptoms lasting at least 30 days after a car accident. Among survivors with PTSD, over 50% also experience mood disorders, and a substantial portion display symptoms indicative of a major depressive episode. 

In such cases, lawyers are crucial in advocating for accident victims, aiding in legal proceedings, negotiating settlements, and ensuring fair compensation.

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of emotional distress damage and how they affect individuals, explain how legal professionals quantify emotional suffering, and analyze the factors they consider when determining these damages. 

Understanding Emotional Damages

Emotional damages, also known as emotional distress or mental anguish, refer to the non-economic harm a victim suffers after an accident. This pain can take various forms and is subjective.

Emotional distress can take many forms, from PTSD to intense mood changes, depression, insomnia, heightened anxiety, and even rage. Unlike physical injuries, which are visible and more accessible to quantify for compensation purposes in a personal injury case like a car accident, calculating these invisible wounds is more complex.

Types of Emotional Damages

Emotional damage may result from various situations and can manifest in different ways. Here are some types of emotional damages:

  • Mental Anguish: Intense emotional suffering, often associated with feelings of anxiety, fear, or distress
  • Depression: Prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a general lack of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Anxiety: Excessive worry, fear, or nervousness about future events or situations, which can be debilitating
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Emotional distress that occurs after experiencing a traumatic event, often characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety
  • Grief and Loss: Emotional pain resulting from the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or any significant loss
  • Fear: An overwhelming sense of fear or panic, which specific situations or events can trigger
  • Frustration: Emotional distress arising from the inability to achieve a desired goal or resolve a challenging situation
  • Isolation and Loneliness: Emotional damage caused by a lack of social connection, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • Low Self-Esteem: Persistent feelings of inadequacy, low self-worth, and a negative self-perception

Factors Considered in Calculating Emotional Damages

Courts don’t employ a standard method when calculating compensation for emotional distress. Instead, they consider the particular facts and effects on an individual’s personal/professional life. They evaluate each claim based on its unique circumstances and impact on the victim’s personal and work life. 

Some of the common factors considered in calculating emotional damages are as follows:

The Impact of Economic Losses

Economic losses such as lost wages and medical expenses are critical factors courts consider while determining suffering damages for victims’ emotional pain. A loss of independence due to the inability to work or the need for constant medical treatment intensifies the severity of psychological turmoil experienced by accident victims.

Nature And Intensity of the Incident

The nature and intensity of the incident causing injury greatly influence how much you might receive for emotional damages. Cases involving extreme violence or cruelty typically result in higher payouts than those stemming from less shocking events because these instances inflict deeper psychological wounds.

Personal Circumstances

Your circumstances at the time of the accident play a role, too. For instance, if you were already struggling with mental health issues before the incident, courts might award higher damages to account for amplified emotional distress.

Methods for Calculating Emotional Damages

Generally, the law uses two methods to calculate emotional damages: the Per Diem and Multiplier methods.

The Per Diem Method

This method calculates compensation for pain and suffering based on the duration of your pain, using a fixed daily rate usually equivalent to a day’s wages.

The Multiplier Method

A more commonly used tactic by personal injury attorneys is the multiplier method. In this system, tangible economic damages like medical bills or lost wages are multiplied by a specific number—typically between 1.5 and 5—to determine compensation value for intangible harm such as severe mental stress or post-traumatic stress disorder.

In either case, proving your claim of psychological torment can significantly increase your chances of securing maximum compensation from insurance companies responsible for someone else’s negligence in causing an accident.

Finding The Right Value For Your Pain And Suffering

Deciding on what multiple to use when calculating emotional damage involves several considerations. It’s not just picking out numbers randomly but rather taking into account various factors surrounding each unique personal injury lawsuit:

  • Type and severity of physical injuries suffered
  • Prolonged effects on life quality, like loss of sleep or depression
  • The duration and cost of medical treatment required for recovery

It’s also essential to remember that each case is unique; thus, the multiplier can vary based on these factors. It’s necessary to consult with knowledgeable personal injury attorneys who can assist you through this procedure.

Proving Emotional Damages in a Personal Injury Case

The journey to prove emotional distress after an accident can be challenging, but it’s vital for securing the compensation you deserve. This requires showing that your mental anguish is a direct result of someone else’s negligence.

The Role of Medical Records in Proving Emotional Distress

Medical records play an essential role when it comes to proving emotional distress. Having documented evidence from a physician who diagnosed and treated your post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health issues makes a strong case.

Medical records are vital in demonstrating the physical harm caused and its effect on your life. Plus, expert testimony further strengthens these claims by linking symptoms like sleep disturbances or severe mood swings directly to the accident. 

Gathering Evidence

To maximize compensation in an injury lawsuit, gathering strong evidence for economic damages (such as medical bills) and non-economic damages (like pain and suffering) is essential. This includes detailed data and personal stories illustrating how the incident has impacted daily life. 

Collecting all necessary evidence falls on you and your legal team’s shoulders. If you’re an accident victim, getting help from a law firm skilled in injury cases can simplify this task. By enlisting the assistance of a law firm experienced in injury cases, your chances of success can be increased.

Upholding Justice and Healing Through Comprehensive Legal Support

Understanding the importance of emotional damages is crucial when seeking justice. Emotional distress can have a profound impact on a person’s well-being, affecting their mental health, relationships, and overall quality of life. 

Recognizing and compensating for these damages in legal proceedings is essential to achieving a fair and comprehensive resolution. It acknowledges the intangible harm caused and sends a message addressing the full consequences of an injury or wrongdoing.

If you or a loved one has experienced emotional distress due to someone else’s negligence, Temple Injury Law is here to help. Our experienced team of attorneys is dedicated to advocating for your rights and securing the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your case and explore your options.