Can I Sue Someone for Emotional Distress?

Sue someone for physical assault is common, but what about mental? Can I sue someone for emotional distress? Well, you can.

Unlike bodily injuries, mental suffering is hard to prove, and it’s also not possible to quantify the damage. However, suing for emotional distress is still practicable. It allows a victim to receive compensation for their harm.

In this article, you will get all your answer regarding this topic. So, let’s dive into the details.

What is emotional distress?

There is a legal definition of emotional distress. Emotional distress is mental suffering that is caused by negligence or an intentional event of another individual.

The common emotional distress symptoms are–

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Frequent mood swing
  • Loss of memory
  • Decreased information retention skill
  • Anger management issue
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss or gain

You can file a civil lawsuit to claim compensation for your emotional suffering. And to support your claim, you need to provide enough evidence for your psychological and emotional trauma. 

How to sue for emotional distress?

There are some steps to sue someone for emotional distress. The process involves the following steps.


Like any other case, documentation is a must while you want to sue someone for emotional damage. You need to prepare your medical record, work record, personal injury record, or documents like this to back up your cases.

If you document your distress with details, you can claim the damages more effortlessly.

Contact a lawyer

Going through a legal process is so stressful. During this challenging time, a knowledgeable person can help you to minimize your worries. That’s why seek help from a lawyer as soon as possible. They will review your documents and give proper guidelines to start legal action.

File a lawsuit

After preparing all the necessary documents, file a lawsuit against the defendant who is liable for your emotional distress.

Prepare for the trial

In this stage, you have to go through all the legal processes like exchanging information between the involving parties and come to a settlement.

Claims for emotional distress

There are two types of emotional distress claims available. They are-

Negligent infliction of emotional distress: While the defendant caused an accident unintentionally, it falls under this category. It refers to an incident when a person fails to act normally and induces damage.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress: If the defendant purposely inflicts mental trauma on another individual, this type of claim will occur. These incidents include bullying, verbal attacks, etc.

Evidence you need to collect

You need to gather the proper evidence to prove your claim. Here are examples of evidence that you can use.

Physical injuries

Getting emotional distress compensation is expected when the plaintiff suffers from physical trauma. Conditions like cognitive impairment can be referred to as mental distress.


When you are about to sue someone for emotional suffering, it’s essential to provide as much information as possible. And while collecting them, don’t forget to mention the time length as it’s definitely a significant fact. It helps to prove the credibility of your case.

Medical reports

The court considers any of these documents as solid proof of your claim, medical records, lists of prescriptions, and testimonies from medical professionals. That’s why it’s important to seek medical help as long as the incident happens.


The testimonies of family, friends, doctors, co-workers, or other close people are important. The court prioritizes their statements to check how the incident affects your life.

Common mental distress lawsuits

Although the entire process of suing for emotional distress is quite tricky, some common incidents often involve mental suffering claims. They are–

Witnessing a wrongful death

Whether it is a close person or a stranger, seeing someone dying from an accident is a very traumatic event. Witnesses of these types of cases often struggle with the mental anguish that negatively impacts their daily lives.

Medical malpractice

This is another typical lawsuit that involves emotional distress damages. Both patients and their families claim compensation for it.

Personal injury

Victims of a personal injury case often seek compensation for both physical and mental suffering. And it’s also easier to prove the mental damage since a physical assault is involved in this case.

Wrongful arrest

The wrongdoing of the court and law enforcement creates a huge negative impact on the victim’s mind. Therefore, they are entitled to claim compensation for mental anguish and the additional expense.

Final words

Can I sue someone for emotional distress? – hopefully, you have found your answer after going through this article. Although proving your mental trauma and claiming compensation for it is quite hard, you should not give up your right.

If you face this type of incident, contact a legal professional as soon as possible to have the best chance of winning.

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