Can I Seek Compensation For Emotional Distress Caused By A Doctor?

If you were injured due to a doctor’s medical negligence or medical error, you could file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor. In your lawsuit, you can seek compensation for medical malpractice-related injuries and damages.

What is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress is the psychological pain and mental anguish that a traumatic event or injury causes. Each individual experiences emotional distress in unique ways and to varying degrees.

A person may exhibit one or more of the following emotional distress symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • alterations in appetite
  • Weight reduction or gain
  • Problems sleeping, including night terrors
  • Memory problems
  • Aggression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Flashbacks
  • a decline in sexual desire
  • Absence and isolation
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance mistreatment
  • lack of vitality

Emotional distress can be just as incapacitating as a serious physical injury. A person experiencing extreme emotional distress may be incapable of completing daily tasks or working. They may be unable to meet their own or their family’s basic needs.

In some instances, emotional distress symptoms may not be incapacitating. However, the symptoms can cause significant difficulties in their social life, family life, and professional life.

Suing a Doctor for Damages Caused by Emotional Distress

Damages for emotional distress are included in the majority of medical malpractice claims. The assumption is that a person who suffers a physical injury due to medical negligence will also experience emotional distress.

Therefore, emotional distress is included in cases of medical malpractice in which a doctor causes physical harm to a patient. This may occur, for instance, if a surgeon operates on the wrong surgical site or misdiagnoses a patient’s condition, resulting in unnecessary medical treatments.

However, if the patient did not sustain a physical injury, can the patient sue the doctor for emotional distress?

It is Possible to Recover Damages For Emotional Distress Without Sustaining Physical Injury

In some states, an individual must suffer a physical injury in order to be compensated for emotional distress. Even if the doctor did not cause a physical injury, victims of medical negligence in New York may sue their healthcare provider for mental anguish and suffering.

For instance, you could sue your physician for emotional distress if they failed to diagnose a serious illness.

Mental distress caused by a medical error can be equally debilitating or harmful as physical injury. Occasionally, emotional distress can be significantly more detrimental.

How to Prove Your Doctor Caused Your Emotional Distress 

It can be difficult to demonstrate that you sustained a serious or severe emotional injury. Expert testimony will be required, such as that of a psychiatrist or therapist.

Other evidence that can help establish an emotional distress claim includes:

  • copies of therapy-related expenses and
  • Recordings of time away from the office
  • Pharmaceutical costs
  • Personal testimony from friends and relatives

Keeping a journal detailing your struggle with emotional distress following medical malpractice can also be beneficial. Be sure to record the days you are unable to work and the occasions you miss due to depression or anxiety. If you experience flashbacks or night terrors, describe them in your journal.

Providing evidence of your suffering is only one aspect of establishing emotional distress. Demonstrating to a jury that the emotional distress has had a significant impact on your life in multiple ways can help the jury comprehend the extent of the suffering caused by the physician. This level of suffering influences the amount of your claim for emotional distress.

The process of seeking compensation for emotional distress caused by a doctor is complex. Working with seasoned personal injury attorneys can increase your likelihood of receiving the compensation you deserve.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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