Understanding Emotional Distress in Workplace Injury Claims
The effects of a personal injury are often far more complex than the victim expects. Beyond the broken bones and medical bills, many accident victims suffer significant emotional trauma and distress because of their injuries. Overcoming this trauma often requires counseling, time, and plenty of support.
If you’ve endured emotional trauma because of an injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss. Find out more about your options now by calling Weaver Tidmore at 205-989-6065.
When Are Personal Injury Claims an Option?
When you are injured at work, you can’t always file a personal injury claim. The workers’ compensation system exists to protect employers from personal injury claims while still allowing injured employees to get compensation for medical bills and partial compensation for lost wages. Part of that means that employees are not legally permitted to sue their employer, a coworker, or anyone else employed by their company.
However, many workplace accidents actually involve outside third parties. These parties are not employed by your company, so you are within your legal rights to file a claim against them. Common examples include:
- Being hit by a car while driving between worksites or to client appointments
- Suffering an electrical burn because of poor work done by the electrical company at a construction site
- A customer at your workplace assaulting you because they disagree with a company policy
- An injury caused by a defective product
Defining Emotional Distress
You may feel a multitude of emotions and feelings after being involved in a workplace accident. The term “emotional distress” encompasses all of those painful, negative emotions, including:
These emotions can make healing nearly impossible, particularly if you live in fear of a similar incident occurring at work again. As a result, your emotional distress can actually delay or prolong your physical healing. Additionally, it can significantly decrease your quality of life.
Different Types of Emotional Distress
There are a couple different ways a third party may inflict emotional distress. First, they may intentionally cause you emotional distress. This may occur in an assault. For example, if a customer at work invades your personal space, acts in a physically threatening manner, and directly threatens you with physical harm, that is an intentional choice to inflict mental trauma on you.
If you plan on seeking compensation for the intentional act of causing of mental trauma, you will need to prove that the action was intentional, that the persons’ actions were dangerous, and that they directly resulted in your own emotional distress. In this type of claim, video evidence and eyewitness testimony of the person’s behavior can be very helpful.
In other situations, a perpetrator may unintentionally cause mental distress through neglect. While these actions are not willful, they can cause just as much damage as intentional acts of intimidation. Emotional distress caused by neglect is generally more common than distress caused intentionally.
Neglect occurs when someone has a duty of care to another person, fails to fulfill their obligation, and subsequently causes that person harm. For example, someone who unintentionally put you at risk of severe or fatal injuries would still be responsible for the emotional trauma they caused, even if you did not suffer severe or fatal injuries.
How Your Attorney Can Help
Proving emotional distress can be challenging, as it does not leave the same physical marks as a physical injury. However, your attorney can help you prove your emotional trauma and link it to the actions of the liable party. This may involve seeking out psychological care and assessment, getting information from friends and family members on changes in your behavior, and getting more information about how your injury has affected your work. From there, they can use that evidence to seek compensation from the liable party or their insurance company.
Discuss Your Options with Weaver Tidmore Today
Emotional trauma can change how you experience life and even decrease your quality of life. If someone else’s actions cause you significant emotional distress, you may be entitled to compensation. Set up a time to talk with Weaver Tidmore now by calling us at 205-980-6065 or getting in touch with us online.
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