Legal Help When Buying and Selling Property

Legal Help When Buying and Selling Property

Can You Sue Strictly For Emotional Distress?

by Louise Boyd

When people think of personal injury, they usually think strictly in terms of physical injury. However, along with a physical injury you may also experience real and severe emotional distress. But what happens when you are the victim of emotional pain and suffering without a physical injury to go with it? You may still have a case, but it's not an easy battle to win.

Defining Emotional Distress

Pinning down a definition of emotional distress isn't always easy, especially when it comes to a legal definition. It's easier to think of emotional distress as mental or psychological distress. Switching that first word gives a better understanding of what it actually is. In general, these terms denote any of a number of symptoms that negatively affect you mentally and, arguably, emotionally. Signs of mental distress can manifest in a variety of ways, but the main indicators typically include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Apathy

There are other signs too, but they can vary depending on the individual. For example, one person in the grips of emotional distress may start to have trouble sleeping. Another person may have the opposite issue and sleep too much. These things can negatively affect someone's life, sometimes in unforeseen and profound ways. Stress in general can also have a way of turning into physical ailment as well.

Proving Emotional Distress

The problem when it comes to litigation for emotional distress is that it's hard to prove. After all, almost anything can cause distress in a person. The key here is to prove that your emotional distress is directly because of intentional actions or negligence.

There are terms for these two things.

  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED)
  • Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED)

These are specific torts. And while the names say exactly what they are, they have different interpretations in different courts around the country. It's on you to prove emotional distress as well as how it was inflicted, and that's not always easy to do.

Not just that, but the act also has to fall under "extreme and outrageous conduct." For example, someone calling you a racial slur can cause you great emotional distress. But if it occurs once, there's no real expectation that it will unduly affect your life going forward. If the same action occurs each day then you may have a case.

Evidence of Emotional Distress

There are a few things you can do to help your case:

  • Keep a journal – Describe your daily struggle with your stress.
  • Seek professional mental help – A professional evaluation can go a long way towards helping your case.
  • Ask for documentation from friends and family – If others can describe how you have changed and how dealing with you is now different, then it can work as good testimony for you.

It's hard fighting these complex cases, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. You should speak to a personal injury lawyer about emotional distress cases. If the evidence is there and the situation is clear then you may have a winnable case on your hands.


About Me

Legal Help When Buying and Selling Property

I am a real estate attorney, and I have been helping clients buy and sell property for many years. Some clients do not realize their legal obligations and options when it comes to purchasing or selling a house or land. I hope that this blog will be a way for people to get information about legal issues in real estate and what they need to know when doing business. Buying and selling property can be complicated, and all parties involved have legal obligations. Know what is expected of you, and you will be able to get the best out of your real estate transactions.