Can I Receive Compensation for Mental and Emotional Trauma?

March 28, 2024
Personal Injury

Other than physical injury, many people suffer from mental and emotional effects after a traumatic event. In a personal injury claim, a person may seek compensation for mental and emotional trauma, known as pain and suffering. Here we review common questions about making a claim for compensation for emotional distress. A qualified personal injury lawyer can answer additional questions you may have about your specific case. 

Understanding Your Claim for Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is the psychological impact a person suffers after experiencing a traumatic event. No two individuals will have the same reaction to a traumatic accident and therefore emotional distress can look different from person to person. Common symptoms of emotional distress can look like:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Nightmares or night terrors
  • Feelings of embarrassment, shame, or guilt
  • Mood swings
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unusual stress
  • Suicidal thoughts


If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms after experiencing a traumatic accident, please seek help as soon as possible. A doctor or psychologist can provide support to work through these symptoms. Returning to normalcy is possible. Healthcare and mental care professionals will also be able to diagnose any disorders which could qualify as evidence for your case. 

Outside of seeking medical help, you should contact a Decatur car accident lawyer if you are experiencing any of the above after a traumatic accident. You may be entitled to compensation for your emotional damages. 

How to Prove Emotional Distress Due to a Car Accident

The state of Georgia observes something called the "Impact Rule." This means a person seeking compensation for emotional distress must also have sustained physical impact from the accident. In order to receive compensation for emotional damages the victim must prove

  • They sustained a physical impact in the incident
  • The physical impact caused the physical injury; AND
  • The physical injury also caused the victim to suffer mental or emotional distress

FAQ: What to ask a doctor after a car accident?

To adequately prepare to prove each of these points, it is best to seek medical treatment immediately after the accident. Documenting any physical injuries and treatments in your medical records will provide evidence of your claim. Furthermore, you may seek counseling for your mental anguish. A medical diagnosis for any emotional trauma will also serve as evidence. You may also wish to keep a journal. Record all symptoms and changes in day-to-day functioning. The more details you have about the relationship between your physical injury and your psychological injury, the better. 

Can I Sue For Emotional Distress After a Car Accident?

If you are experiencing emotional or mental distress because of an injury that was caused by an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation. As previously stated, you must prove your emotional condition is a direct result of your physical injury and you must prove your injury was caused by the accident. You must also prove that the other driver was negligent and is at fault. Negligence must be proven in. order for the at-fault party to be liable. 

What Compensation Can You Claim For Emotional Distress After A Car Accident?

Compensation for emotional distress is considered non-economic damage. Economic damages are losses that can be quantified. Because non-economic damages are not quantifiable, it can be hard to determine a fair amount. The state of Georgia observes a multiplier rule to create a fair settlement for emotional distress claims.


Once they have determined the value of your economic damages, the court will multiply that amount by a number between 1.5 and 5 based on the circumstances of your case. Catastrophic injuries will have a higher multiplier as the effects will permanently affect everyday life. A person who will be able to return to a normal life after healing from their accident injuries will receive a lower multiplier. 

To determine the value of your economic damage award, the state will consider the following:

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After setting a value for economic damages, the court will review the evidence for emotional distress. Once the court has understood the extent of your mental and emotional injury, they will apply the multiplier and determine a final compensation benefits amount. 

Find Out If You Have an Emotional Distress Claim

If you are experiencing excessive stress or depression after sustaining physical trauma in an accident, you may be entitled to emotional distress damages. Do not minimize the effects your psychological conditions have on your daily life. You deserve fair compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life. Speak to a compensation attorney today to begin your road to security. Contact our team at Marks Law Group today for a free consultation.