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Is Emotional Distress a Type of Personal Injury?


When people think of a personal injury, their first thought often goes to very visible injuries, such as a broken arm or leg. In fact, some of the greatest damages occur in instances of mental distress. In cases filed on the premise of emotional distress, the stress may be caused by many different instances, including an injury, recklessness, or negligent conduct.

These types of cases are typically broken into two categories: intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress


This type of distress occurs whenever a person or business causes emotional distress on purpose. This is typically seen in forms of harassment, attacks, and even forms of physical harm. All of these things can have a negative effect on the person’s mental health; therefore, it can make a case in court.

For example, let’s say your friend decides to lie and tell you that your entire family has died in a car accident. Overcome with grief, you become physically ill and end up in the hospital. Your friend may be liable for intentionally causing your emotional distress.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is also often associated with abuses of power. For example, let’s say your boss has to lay people off. However, he doesn’t want to pay anyone a severance package. Instead, he calls your coworker into his office and mercilessly bullies and threatens her until she resigns. Your coworker is so distressed that she becomes ill or injures herself. That would be a clear abuse of power and potentially grounds to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress


This case is much more common in areas of premises liability. It occurs whenever someone’s negligence causes mental distress for another person. Often, emotional distress follows a physical injury caused by the negligence of a business.

For example, if a man is in a grocery store and he slips on a spilled liquid and breaks his leg, this will cause the initial issue of the physical distress. He will likely have many surgeries and doctor’s visits, and this will lead to a pile of medical bills. But underneath it all is often emotional distress as well. This could include, for example, the pain of not being capable of doing activities he once loved.

What To Do If You’re Victim of Emotional Distress


If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in an instance where you feel a heavy weight of emotional distress from an incident such as one listed above, whether intentional or negligent, there are steps that need to be taken toward your recovery.

  • Seek help: Mental health should never be taken lightly. If you feel that you are suffering from a previous injury or mental trauma, it is of utmost importance that you seek treatment from a trained psychologist or even seek medical attention from a trained psychiatrist.
  • Document: Once you feel that you have taken care of your immediate health needs in this regard, it is important to start looking toward the next step. If you choose to sue for emotional distress, it is important that you document and file everything. Be sure to document any bills and notes from your psychologist, as well as any of your own notes.
  • Contact an experienced lawyer: While your health is the priority, we must also acknowledge that sometimes the time frame in which you are eligible to sue is limited. It is important that you get in touch with a legal team as soon as possible in order to get your case handled.

Help from an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been the victim of any type of emotional distress due to a personal injury of any kind, call Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online for a free consultation. Let us get you the compensation that you deserve.