Courts across the nation allow patients to sue medical providers for emotional distress resulting from negligence under medical malpractice laws. Allowing emotional distress claims without physical harm is important because it provides redress in situations where doctors act inappropriately but might otherwise escape accountability. This kind of recovery is generally limited to cases with a special relationship where it is foreseeable that the breach of duty would result in distress so extreme that a reasonable person should not be expected to endure it.
Under the current rules, severely distressed patients can recover damages for their valid, and sometimes crippling, emotional injuries. This rule ensures that doctors and hospitals in a position to prevent this type of emotional harm have incentives to do so. With each ruling, courts and juries are re-enforcing the message to doctors and hospitals that they must follow the safety rules or pay the consequences of their malpractice.
Emotional distress is one of the most difficult injuries to prove for a medical malpractice claim. Emotional distress is largely psychological, so there are no X-rays or scars you can point to prove your injuries. Plaintiffs can have a hard time proving they are entitled to damages given the difficulty of proof. Fortunately, there are some ways to prove that you have suffered distress due to a medical provider’s negligence.
If you feel that you have suffered emotional distress due to the actions of a medical provider, it is important to visit a doctor or psychologist to be evaluated. Corroborating evidence from a trained medical provider should be provided to support every claim. The practitioner will also be able to testify to the intensity of the emotional distress. The more intense the mental anguish, the better chance you have of proving that your emotional distress was severe enough to deserve compensation.
There are also physical symptoms that would indicate severe emotional distress. The development of ulcers, headaches, and other physical signs of distress, like persistent and recurring pain, may help prove emotional distress occurred. You can demonstrate both the intensity and duration of your distress by providing supporting medical documentation from your doctor for the psychological pain and any related physical injuries.
Navigating a claim of emotional distress in a medical malpractice lawsuit can be complicated, so it is best to hire an experienced medical malpractice attorney to help guide you through your claim. The attorney will help you weigh your options and choose the best course of action based on the facts of your case.