A claim for emotional distress in a lawsuit may be part of a physical injury claim or may result from negligence by a defendant, according to AllLaw. A claim may also arise from a loss of consortium, which occurs when personal injury impairs a person’s ability to fend for his family or spouse, says FreeAdvice.
Psychological symptoms, such as loss of sleep and anxiety after an accident, qualify for compensation. A claimant should medically document emotional distress occurring due to physical injury, because the burden of proof lies with him, advises AllLaw.
In a claim for negligence, emotional distress occurs due to the defendant’s actions, and personal injury need not be part of the claim. For a claim to be admissible, the defendant’s actions must cause some form of physical contact to the plaintiff. Alternatively, the plaintiff must be in the defendant’s zone of danger or close to the defendant’s negligent act. The defendant must reasonably predict that his actions could injure the plaintiff emotionally, states AllLaw.
An individual may file a loss of consortium claim after suffering emotional distress or a physical injury that makes him unable to provide for his spouse or family physically or emotionally. Other actionable losses include loss of sexual intimacy, affection and companionship. However, experts advise those pursuing loss of consortium claims to keep their expectations reasonable, because the claims are difficult to prove, according to FreeAdvice.