How Do You Prove Emotional Distress in California?

If you sustain an injury that was caused by another person’s negligence in California, you have the right to pursue compensation for your subsequent losses. This includes fair compensation not only for your financial damages (i.e. medical bills and lost income), but also your emotional distress. 

At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, our Bakersfield personal injury lawyers understand that serious injuries affect more than just a victim’s finances. The emotional devastation of a severe injury can impact a person’s ability to enjoy life. Our firm is committed to helping the wrongfully injured obtain the maximum compensation they deserve for their physical, emotional, and financial losses.

Evidence You Can Use to Prove Emotional Distress in California

Proving emotional distress requires evidence that is legally admissible in court. Even if you are negotiating with the insurance companies (or your lawyer is negotiating with the insurance companies), you need to be able to show that you could win your case in court if forced to do so. 

Emotional distress is inherently personal. And, unlike financial losses, you cannot simply “add up” the emotional effects of your injuries. With this in mind, some of the types of evidence you can use to prove emotional distress in California include: 

A Personal Diary or Journal 

When seeking financial compensation for emotional distress after an accident in California, the more details you can provide, the better. While sharing the day-to-day effects of your injuries can be uncomfortable, it can also be extremely important for making sure you receive the financial compensation you deserve. 

Keeping a personal diary or journal will allow you to recall the consequences of your emotional distress with as much detail as possible. A good “pain journal” will include daily records of information such as:

  • Pain levels (i.e. on a scale from 1 to 10)
  • Activities of daily living you were unable to perform or that caused you pain (i.e. getting dressed or unloading the dishwasher)
  • Other activities you missed as a result of your injuries (i.e. parties, games, or dance recitals) 
  • How you felt emotionally at various points throughout the day
  • Instances in which recalling the accident impacts you emotionally  
  • Instances in which you are unable to have or find yourself disinterested in intimate contact
  • Any negative effects on your sleep, health, happiness, or general wellbeing
  • Any negative effects your emotional trauma causes for your relationships 

All of these effects (among others) will help paint a picture of the emotional distress you have experienced as a result of the accident. 

Medical Records

Medical records are also key evidence for proving emotional distress in California. This includes records from your medical treatment following the accident as well as records of your ongoing psychological or psychiatric care. 

Crucially, you should not sign a medical authorization form that allows the insurance companies to obtain your medical records directly. These forms give the insurance companies far too much authorization—they know it, and they use this to their advantage. Instead, you should rely on your lawyer to provide appropriate records to the insurance companies at the appropriate time. 

Prescription Records 

The same goes for your prescription records. If you are on any prescription medications related to your accident, you should do your best to keep copies of your prescriptions and your receipts. 

Also, be sure to get all of your prescriptions filled. Prescription records can help prove both the physical and emotional effects of your injuries, but you will have a tougher time filing a successful claim if the insurance companies find out you haven’t actually gone to the pharmacy.

Expert Testimony

Hiring an expert to testify regarding the severity and consequences of your emotional distress is vital to maximizing your financial recovery after an accident in California. This is because a qualified expert will be able to testify not only to your injuries’ effects to date, but also to their effects in the future. If you will suffer from emotional distress for months or years to come, proving this will be essential for recovering the full compensation you deserve. 

Testimony from Friends and Family 

Testimony from friends and family can also be key evidence of emotional distress. In many respects, loved ones can have a clearer understanding of the emotional effects of victims’ injuries than victims themselves. If the people who care about you can see that you aren’t the same, this can be powerful and compelling evidence of the true impacts of your emotional distress. 

Talk to Bakersfield Personal Injury Lawyer for Free

If you were injured because of someone’s negligent behavior and you have questions about seeking financial compensation for emotional distress, contact The Law Offices of Mickey Fine today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Don’t face your injuries alone. Call (661) 333-3333 or contact us online now for a complimentary case evaluation. Our firm serves Bakersfield and other areas in California.

Personal Injury
by Mickey Fine Law
Last updated on - Originally published on