What if my injury was not physical? What if it was psychological (stress)… can a personal injury lawyers still help me?

Assessing psychological trauma is not easy, but that does not mean that it cannot be done. In Canada, courts recognize that psychological injury and stress come in degrees. It is possible for personal injury lawyers to help you if you are experiencing extreme stress and anxiety due to the fault of another.

Individuals involved in traumatic incidents are at a high risk for developing various psychological conditions, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression
  • Prolonged mental stress and the physical symptoms it causes
  • Panic and/or anxiety disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Intense fear

All of these psychological disorders can cause a disruption in your daily life just like a physical injury. For example, psychological disorders can lead to unemployment, due to the fact that psychological injury makes it difficult to focus on work. Psychological disorders and conditions can even lead to thoughts of suicide.

While stress and depression were typically attached to the physical injuries in a lawsuit in the past, it’s becoming more and more common for them to be tried on their own.

Question: How would I be Proving my Case?

In order to win the case, you must be able to prove that you truly are suffering from psychological injury and that important aspects of your life are affected as a result from the psychological injury.

There are a few ways you can prove your claim:

You might be able to use physical evidence as proof, as many emotional disorders lead to physical symptoms, such as chronic headaches, ulcers, fatigue, a poor complexion, lack of sleep, changes in eating habits, and/or weight loss. Keep a record of all of these and make sure your lawyer knows about them.

You need to point out the duration of your emotional pain, especially if you’ve been experiencing it since the incident. You might need co-workers, family, and friends to testify that your personality has noticeably changed.

You will need documentation by a psychologist or doctor. There should be professional support for every claim. The more evidence and documentation you can provide, the better your chances will be.

Question: Intentional Infliction vs. Accidental Distress

The intention of the other party plays a huge role in these cases. Did they purposely cause you emotional distress by their actions and behavior? Or is your distress due to an accident? Even if it was an accident, you still might have a case if their negligence can be proven. Given the complexity in proving psychological injuries, it is best to hire a personal injury lawyer.

Question: Determining if You Have a Case?

Have all of your detailed notes prepared when contacting a lawyer. Find out what your chances are to prove that the emotional distress and related symptoms really are connected to the incident and that the other party is responsible for that incident.

If a lawyer agrees to take on your case, there will be a discovery period, during which time all of your information, including medical history, will be investigated by the other party’s legal team.

A lawsuit can go on for more than two years, during which time you will experience even more stress. It may or may not be worth the energy, especially if you are not certain whether or not you will win. Consult with a personal injury lawyer who have a lot of experience with cases such as yours.


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