You go through a wide range of reactions when you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else. You’ll have pain, yes, but during and after such an experience, you might also struggle with emotional distress.
Distress resulting from an accident or injuries can seriously impact your quality of life. Suing is an option in some NYC personal injury cases.
Our NYC personal injury lawyers at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb are prepared to answer your questions on this topic. We’ll review your case to determine whether you can pursue emotional distress compensation. Call our office today at 1-800-PAIN-LAW or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress vs. Intentional Infliction
Emotional distress in the context of an NYC personal injury claim or lawsuit may fall under one of these categories:
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED)
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED)
NIED involves a party carelessly causing someone to experience mental or emotional distress. Typically, physical injuries must accompany the distress to prove NIED.
IIED occurs when a party causes distress through extreme recklessness or intentional actions. An example of IIED might involve a nursing home abuse case.
Perhaps a resident of a nursing home fears for their safety when left alone for prolonged periods of time. Maybe a staff member knows this. IIED could occur if the staff member intentionally isolates the resident, knowing the distress this may cause.
No specific statute defines what constitutes NIED or IIED and what does and doesn’t. This is an area of New York law that has developed over time as a result of various court decisions.
That means the law may continue to evolve. Thus, when suing, you need legal representation. Personal injury attorneys familiar with the law know how to prove that you deserve compensation for emotional harm.
Common Types of Emotional Distress Claims in NYC
Various types of cases and accidents may involve emotional distress in NYC. Examples include:
- Car accidents
- Truck crashes
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Airplane/helicopter crashes
- Boat crashes
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- Nursing home injury and abuse
- Police brutality
- Sexual abuse
- Birth injuries
Any injury or accident that causes emotional or mental anguish might allow a person to sue for emotional distress. What matters most is proving emotional distress resulting from negligence or intentional actions.
Suing for Emotional Distress in NYC: Calculating Compensation
To some extent, losses a person sustains due to emotional distress in New York can have specific dollar values. For example, if someone’s emotional distress is significant enough that they need psychiatric care, they may account for the cost of their treatment when filing a compensation claim.
However, emotional distress is a non-economic loss. This type of loss is intangible and doesn’t have a specific dollar value. A similar type of loss is pain and suffering.
When negotiating for a settlement that includes emotional distress, personal injury attorneys may use a variety of methods to calculate appropriate compensation. Two common methods are:
- The Multiplier Method involves adding up all of an injured party’s economic losses, like lost wages and medical expenses. An attorney multiplies this sum by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of an injured party’s condition and emotional distress.
- The Per Diem Method involves determining the daily monetary value of an injured party’s pain and suffering or emotional distress. The injured person may receive compensation for every day they endured this suffering. For example, maybe their suffering has a daily “value” of $50. Perhaps they endured this pain and suffering for 200 days. They may be entitled to $10,000 in compensation for such losses in this scenario.
When Is Suing Not an Option in NYC?
There are instances when injured parties in New York may not seek compensation for emotional distress. For example, perhaps you’ve been injured in a car accident. Because New York is a no-fault state, your first means of seeking compensation would be to file a claim with your insurance.
Registered car owners in NYC must purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, according to the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). This form of insurance allows an injured party to seek compensation after a car accident without proving negligence. However, PIP coverage doesn’t apply to emotional distress.
Or, maybe you sustain injuries in a work-related accident. Because virtually all NYC employers must buy workers’ compensation insurance, you could seek compensation by filing a claim for workers’ comp benefits. New York workers’ comp benefits don’t cover emotional distress.
That’s not to say suing is never an option in these circumstances. A car accident victim can sue if someone else caused their accident and their injuries qualify as “serious.” They might also be entitled to sue the at-fault party if the injured person exhausts their PIP coverage.
In addition, an injured worker may file a third-party claim against a negligent party other than their employer that caused the accident that harmed them. Doing so could allow them to seek compensation for emotional distress in a claim or lawsuit.
How to Prove Emotional Distress in an NYC Personal Injury Case
Various types of evidence may help an injured party and their attorney prove distress. Examples include:
- Medical records
- Expert testimony
- Personal testimony and testimony of witnesses
- A journal or log in which an injured party describes their emotional distress
- In some cases, video demonstrating the way emotional trauma manifests in a victim’s life
Contact a New York Personal Injury Lawyer Today
At Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb, our NYC personal injury lawyers can evaluate your case and determine whether suing is an option in your circumstances. If it is, we’ll gather the evidence needed to show why you deserve compensation for emotional anguish. Get started today by calling us at 1-800-PAIN-LAW or contacting us online for a free case review.