Georgia’s Take on Emotional Distress Claims: The Reality of Suing for Mental Anguish

Blog-Images-Robin-Frazer-Clark--300x169When you’re hurt because someone else was negligent, it’s not just about the physical injuries. Personal injury law accounts for the mental toll—what we call emotional distress or mental anguish—is just as real. Whether someone did something wrong on purpose or just wasn’t paying attention, if it left you dealing with psychological pain, that matters.

Although your anguish is quite real, proving it in court is another story. You need solid proof of how deep the hurt goes and how it’s impacted your life. It’s not just about saying you’re stressed or upset; it’s about showing the real impact of what you’ve been through.

Types of Emotional Distress Claims

Georgia law recognizes two distinct categories of emotional distress claims: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED). IIED claims address situations where an individual’s deliberate and outrageous actions cause severe emotional distress to another. The conduct must be so extreme that it surpasses normal bounds of decency. On the other hand, NIED claims stem from a failure to exercise reasonable care, leading to someone’s emotional suffering. Unlike IIED, NIED does not necessitate intentional wrongdoing but requires proof of negligence causing the distress.

The subjective nature of emotional harm presents challenges in proving emotional distress within the confines of Georgia law. Essential elements for a successful claim include:

Evidence of Negligence or Intentional Harm: For NIED, the claimant must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence directly resulted in emotional distress. In contrast, IIED claims require showing that the defendant’s actions were intentional or reckless.

Severity of Distress: The law mandates that the emotional distress be severe, meaning it is so intense that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it. Documentation from mental health professionals often plays a pivotal role in establishing the severity.

Causation: There must be a direct link between the defendant’s conduct and the emotional distress experienced by the claimant. This typically involves showing that the distress would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s actions.

Physical Manifestation: Historically, Georgia law required a physical injury resulting from emotional distress for NIED claims. Recent developments, however, have started to allow claims for emotional distress without an accompanying physical injury under specific conditions.

Damages for Emotional Distress

The damages awarded for emotional distress aim to compensate for the psychological impact of the defendant’s conduct. These may include costs for therapy, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering, with the amount varying based on the distress’s severity and duration.

Filing a Claim

If you’re considering a lawsuit for emotional distress in Georgia, brace yourself for a battle that demands strong evidence and a clear demonstration of impact. It’s about more than recounting a painful experience; it’s about proving the depth of your suffering and its effect on your life. This path isn’t easy, but with the right legal support, you can navigate it successfully. Remember, your emotional well-being is as important as your physical health, and the law here supports you in seeking justice for both.

If you or a loved one is experiencing emotional distress caused by another party, you do not have to face this challenge alone. Contact Robin Frazer Clark, P.C. today to schedule a consultation. Let us help you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve, providing the support and guidance you need during this difficult time.

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