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Suing For Emotional Distress: Can You Sue For Emotional Distress In Florida?

Enduring emotional trauma can leave invisible but very real scars. When that distress is inflicted due to someone else’s negligence or intentional harmful acts, the victim may have grounds to seek justice.

Suing for emotional distress allows plaintiffs to hold the responsible parties accountable. However, proving emotional distress claims can be an uphill battle due to different laws.

Let’s look at all the information you need about suing for emotional distress in Florida.

What Is Considered As Emotional Distress In Florida?

An answer post explaining emotional distress in Florida

Emotional distress is a psychological injury form that people can experience after traumatic incidents. For instance, you may suffer from a panic disorder after being stuck in a malfunctioning elevator.

The incident may have occurred due to the negligence of a building owner. Other types of emotional distress suffering include examples of:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Sleeping troubles
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of humiliation

Suing for emotional distress is possible if you can prove such suffering in court after traumatic events.

Types Of Emotional Distress Claims In Florida

An infographic on the types of emotional distress claims in Florida

Let’s look at the types of claims you can file for suing for emotional distress:

1.   Negligent Infliction

When learning about suing for emotional distress, it is necessary to understand common claims. Negligent infliction occurs when someone’s carelessness causes you to suffer emotionally.

For instance, a drunk driver may speed by you too closely while you’re crossing the road. The near-death experience may cause you anxiety when walking on the road. It may even lead to leg tremors when on crosswalks.

Such type of emotional distress doesn’t require you to have physical injuries. However, you must still prove the other party’s fault when suing for emotional distress.

The case must also meet specific symptom requirements which vary from one state to another. For instance, some states will allow suing for emotional distress for symptoms such as insomnia due to trauma.

Meanwhile, other states may allow suing when symptoms are severe such as PTSD signs. Some places have also removed the need for having physical symptoms.

You can file cases for mental changes that may not be visible clearly.

2.   Intentional Infliction

Suing for emotional distress is also possible for intentional infliction. Such events occur purposely instead of unintentional or negligent accidents.

Someone may prank you on the stairs and cause you to suffer from a severe fall leading to physical injuries.

The incident may also put you in mental anguish. Of course, you must meet specific requirements when filing a case. That is because people are not allowed to sue for every little thing that upsets them.

You must convince the judge or jury that the incident was extreme enough. For instance, telling someone that their wife is in a hospital after a life-threatening accident may allow suing for emotional distress if:

  • The husband believes it and suffers from fear or anxiety
  • The husband was so shocked that they suffered from a stroke

However, such cases will fail if the husband doesn’t believe the joke or it doesn’t bother them. So the facts of the intentional infliction will affect whether you have a case or not.

3.   Workplace Emotional Distress

Emotional distress doesn’t always happen because of physical accidents. It may also occur because of someone else’s behavior towards you especially in a workplace.

You may suffer from racial discrimination at your workplace which can cause you emotional trauma. Acts such as negative comments against you may cause you to suffer from depression.

Other unfair treatment at work may also affect your mental health. Suing for emotional distress under such claims is easy. This is especially true if you have an expert lawyer beside you.

You’ll have to prove a breach of duty when filing such an emotional distress lawsuit in Florida to seek compensation.

4.   The Bystander Emotional Distress

Some people believe suing for emotional distress is only applicable if you’re directly involved in the accident. However, that is not true. You may also experience emotional distress after witnessing someone else’s accident.

Such claims are called bystander emotional distress lawsuits. A prime example of this type is seeing your parent get hit by a speeding car on a crosswalk.

The event may cause you to worry excessively whenever your parents go out after the accident. You may have traumatic flashbacks of the event. It may also cause you to suffer from panic attacks.

You can file a case against the driver who caused the accident for emotional suffering damages. However, there is one specific requirement of a bystander emotional distress lawsuit.

If you don’t have a familial relation with the victim, suing for emotional distress is not allowed. The victim must be your:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Other blood relatives

You cannot file a case if you see your friend getting hurt and suffer from emotional distress due to it later.

How Can Emotional Distress Attorneys In Florida Prove Emotional Distress?

When suing for emotional distress, your lawyer must prove the suffering in court. Here are some things that serve as evidence and will help your attorney prove emotional distress:

1.   Medical Reports

Medical reports are one of the things lawyers use to prove emotional distress. It shows in court that your condition was extreme enough to go to a doctor.

The report may also prove the date when the symptoms began to prove why you didn’t file a claim immediately. It can also offer evidence of how long the emotional distress will last.

Such factors are considered when calculating the accurate value for emotional damages. This is why lawyers ask for medical reports from clients suing for emotional distress.

The medical bills also allow the calculation of economic damages which can be multiplied by certain factors to determine emotional damages. So people need to seek medical attention before suing for emotional distress.

Remember your lawyer will need other evidence to prove an emotional distress lawsuit.

2.   Eyewitness Testimonies

Eyewitness testimonies are crucial for proving emotional distress in Florida. It can include a statement from a bystander on a pedestrian pathway who saw you having a panic attack.

Testimonies from family members and office colleagues may also serve as eyewitnesses. Your lawyer will collect such statements in depositions for your case.

They may also inform you which witnesses must be present in court to give statements in front of a jury. Testimonies from eyewitnesses of the initial accident will also be necessary.

The witnesses will describe the nature of the accident which can prove that it was traumatic enough to cause emotional distress. Accident reports by police officials may also serve as solid evidence.

3.   Mental Health Experts Testimony

When suing for emotional distress, your lawyer will have to prove the case by expert testimonies. Law firms usually have contacts of mental health experts who can offer factual statements in court.

The mental health expert may hear accident details in court and mention how such accidents cause mental trauma. They may also offer factual statements on the symptoms of the victim.

Such testimonies can help your lawyer prove the long-term impact of emotional distress on your life. It may also highlight the behavioral changes you’ve been experiencing after the accident.

The stronger the testimony is, the easier it will be to win the emotional distress lawsuit.

4.   Your Personal Statement

The final way your lawyer will prove the emotional distress case is through your statement. Expert testimonies will offer scientific evidence of how trauma affects victims.

However, your testimony will show how distress is affecting you. It can also play a crucial role in gaining the favor of the jury.

You must offer an accurate statement of how the trauma is impacting your life.

Types Of Accidents That Can Cause Emotional Distress In Florida

An infographic on the types of accidents causing emotional distress

Let’s look at the types of accidents that cause emotional distress in Florida:

1.   Car Accidents

In 2023, about 394,255 motor accidents occurred in Florida. Most of these were car crashes that led to more than 100,000 injuries in the state. This is why car accidents are the common cause of suing for emotional distress.

A car may hit you while crossing the road during the day. It may also crash into your vehicle as you return from work at night. The accident may cause you to suffer from PTSD.

You may develop a fear of driving a car again. The pain from injuries may also cause you to suffer from mental anguish. This comes under emotional distress too.

Suing for emotional distress will be applicable if the other car driver was at fault.

2.   Truck Accidents

Truck accidents lead to severe injuries which come with significant emotional trauma. It may even cause bodily impairment that can reduce your quality of life significantly.

You may experience anxiety after the accident especially when you see trucks moving near your car. Night terrors are also common after truck accidents.

Flashbacks of the accident at unexpected times can also affect your life significantly. For instance, you may be triggered by the accident’s memory during an important meeting.

Your declining mental health may cause you to lose your job or relationships.

3.   Premises Liability

Premises liability injuries are those that may occur on someone else’s property. You may suffer injuries because of a store owner’s negligence.

For example, you may fall because of a loose step on the stairs of a furniture store. You may suffer from a severe fracture that can cause you to receive surgery.

While recovering you may experience emotional distress due to pain, financial bills, and accident flashbacks.

Suing for emotional distress under premises liability requires you to prove the property owner’s negligence. The accident must also be extreme enough to cause significant trauma.

4.   Animal Bites

Animal bites in Florida are common because a lot of people keep pets. Someone’s dog may attack you in a park or near your house. You may file a case against the pet owner for economic and non-economic damages.

About 600 residents of Florida go to hospital for injuries from dog bites every year. The incident may cause you to suffer from a panic disorder around animals.

Dog barks around your office or home may also lead to traumatic flashbacks. This can affect your capacity to work efficiently. You may also have to go to therapy to recover from the fear of animals.

So suing for emotional distress because of dog bites can help you seek compensation and recover your therapy bills.

Suing For Emotional Distress: How Can You Sue In Florida?

An infographic on the process of suing for emotional distress in Florida

Suing for emotional distress is a breeze if you know the right steps. Here are the things that will help you:

1.   Document Your Evidence

Evidence is necessary to prove an injury claim and seek compensation. You’ll have to submit oral and written evidence in court. Typically, you should prepare a personal written record of your emotional distress.

Write down when you suffered from the accident and how it affected your life. You should write comprehensive details of how the emotional distress presents itself.

For instance, if you suffer from night terrors you may explain the dreams in detail. If you experience panic attacks, you may offer details on:

  • What triggers them?
  • How do you feel during a panic attack?
  • The frequency of the panic attacks e.g. they may occur twice daily
  • The duration of the attack e.g. it may last for five minutes or more than 30 minutes sometimes

A record of every emotional distress incident you suffer from because of the injury will serve as strong evidence.

2.   Hire A Personal Injury Attorney

Once you have made a written record, consulting an attorney is essential. A personal injury lawyer will look at your statement and hear the case details from you.

They will then offer advice on the type of claim you must file for. A lawyer will also prepare paperwork to submit for a court hearing.

Your attorney will start collecting other evidence such as testimonies from eyewitnesses and medical experts.

Without an expert lawyer, suing for emotional distress would be difficult. Such claims are difficult to prove because there must be a strong link between the accident and the emotional suffering you’re experiencing.

3.   Do Pre-Trial Preparations For Case

Pre-trial preparations will be necessary when suing for emotional distress. Your lawyer will do most of the things such as filing paperwork, collecting evidence, and notifying the at-fault party. However, some tasks will fall to you.

For example, you must prepare yourself for giving an oral statement in court. You may also ensure your family members are ready to give testimonies.

The best way to prepare for such things is by keeping a meeting with your lawyer while all family witnesses are present. Your attorney may ask them possible questions that the defense lawyer would ask.

This will prepare you and your witnesses for cross-examination in court.

4.   Emotional Distress Settlement

The final aspect of suing for emotional distress is settling for damages. Sometimes the case may not go to court if the at-fault party is willing to settle.

They may offer you a financial amount to help you recover your losses. You may reject the offer if it is too low. The case will go to court in such a situation.

Your lawyer may even present a counter-offer calculated accurately according to different methods that judges use.

How Is The Value Of An Emotional Distress Lawsuit Claim Calculated?

The value of an emotional distress lawsuit can be calculated using the multiplier method. It involves totaling your economic damages such as:

  • Lost income
  • Medical expenses
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Loss of earning potential

The total amount is multiplied by any figure between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of your trauma. This will offer the final amount you must receive for emotional suffering damages.

Sometimes the per diem method may also be used, which puts a fixed dollar value on each day of emotional suffering. The amount is calculated by multiplying the fixed rate with the duration of the trauma.

For instance, you must receive $1,000 for each day you suffer from PTSD. If your disorder lasts for 20 days, it means you must receive $20,000 in compensation.


What Is The Most You Can Sue For Emotional Distress?

Typically, the max cap for non-economic damages such as emotional suffering in Florida is 500,000. The exact compensation you can receive will depend on your case factors.

Can I Sue My Ex For Emotional Distress In Florida?

You can sue your ex for emotional distress if their negligence led to the trauma. Proving negligent or intentional actions to cause emotional suffering will be necessary.

How Do You Prove Emotional Distress?

You can prove emotional distress through medical reports, testimony from your therapist, personal statements, and police reports.

Contact Emotional Distress Attorneys In Florida

Suing for emotional distress requires you to meet the grounds for filing a case. A lawyer can help you understand the things that qualify for suing for emotional distress.

So dial our number now to meet our lawyer and start your lawsuit promptly in Florida.

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