Can Personal Injury Claimants Seek Compensation For Emotional Distress In Florida?

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Have you considered that, sometimes, serious injuries may not be easy to see? Victims of personal injury may not only suffer physical injuries or impairments, but may also suffer from crippling anxiety, depression, or emotional distress. If you suffer from mental anguish or distress following a traumatic event, you may be able to seek compensation for that emotional pain and suffering in a personal injury action. It can be important that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in Florida to understand your options and ability to recover.

Florida law applies what it calls the “impact rule” when assessing the recoverability of emotional distress damages, and requires that a party have suffered some physical impact in order to make a claim for emotional distress. Historically, the “impact rule” required that the victim was actually physically injured. Over time, however, the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Legislature have created many exceptions to the “impact rule” to expand coverage to victims who suffer emotional distress but no tangible physical injury. For example, if you witness a family member get injured and you suffer emotional distress as a result, the “impact rule” may not bar you from bringing a claim to recover for that distress.

In addition to the “impact rule,” another hurdle that those seeking emotional distress damages must overcome is the issue of proof. Mental health issues may not always be apparent, expert witnesses may often be needed to explain to a jury the impact of the particular emotional distress suffered. A personal injury attorney can help evaluate your specific circumstances and advise you on the possibility of recovering emotional distress damages in connection with your claim.

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