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Pain and Suffering vs Emotional Distress

Bicycle accident survivors can suffer physical, mental, or emotional injuries–depending on the seriousness of the accident. People manage the aftermath of an accident differently because some people are strong while others are sensitive–thanks to different temperaments. The law requires accident victims to be handled just the way they are, without trying to change them–they could be suffering mental distress although they look healthy.

There’s a different between pain & suffering and emotional distress and a Bakersfield bicycle accident attorney can help you distinguish the two. Also, the attorney offers a free consultation to evaluate the facts of your case and explore the likely recoverable damages to your injuries.

Emotional Distress: Prerequisites and Proving a Claim

Emotional distress is a form of pain & suffering resulting from an accident or injuries caused by the negligence of another party–it is typically filed as part of another claim. For instance, if a motorist crashes into a pedestrian while drunk, they may be sued for two civil claims; a claim for negligence for the car accident and an emotional distress claim. The following three factors must be proven in emotional distress claim:

  • The defendant failed had a duty of care to the plaintiff;
  • The defendant failed to exercise their duty of care to the plaintiff(s)–negligence;
  • The defendant’s acts of negligence resulted in physical harm or emotional distress.

You can state that the defendant’s actions caused you emotional distress to be eligible for the damages. However, you need something extra–otherwise, every one would be citing that statement to recover damages for emotional distress.

The law requires a plaintiff to not only cite the defendant’s negligence but also prove how their actions were resulted in the accident and subsequent injuries. For instance, if the defendant drinks excess vodka before driving, you would qualify for damages because such extreme behavior is considered recklessness.

The next step is to prove that the defendant’s actions caused harm by showing the physical injuries you sustained, or emotional distress–you might need to provide medical records to prove emotional distress because it’s a subjective injury. The emotional distress suffered after the accident should exceed what a person would suffer after an accident.

The final step is to prove that your injuries resulted from the recklessness of the defendant. Here, your accident lawyer in Las Vegas has to submit evidence to prove this–the defendant’s behavior could be used for evidence at this point. Proving emotional distress needs the expertise of a personal injury attorney and that’s why representing yourself is highly discouraged by legal experts.

Factors to Consider when Evaluating Emotional Distress

The factors to be considered when bringing an emotional distress claim can include:

  • Intensity of distress;
  • Duration of suffering;
  • Physical injuries;
  • Medical reviews and conclusions.

You should gather relevant information to prove the above-mentioned points and that’s why your treatment should be recorded in a journal. The recoded information should also include the negative consequences of the accident, such as:

  • Loss of wages;
  • Lost opportunity for employment;
  • Loss of consortium.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering in personal injury law is a broad term referring to physical and non-physical pain. Physical pain results from bodily injuries while non-physical pain is subjective (mental injury). Consequently, emotional distress is a form of pain and suffering. We can also safely say that pain and suffering is the parent of emotional distress. The common medical conditions associated with pain and suffering can include:

  • Amnesia;
  • Increased anxiety;
  • Depression and fear;

Distinction in Proving Pain & Suffering and Emotional Distress

You can bring a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress and recover damages for pain and suffering if you prove you claim. On the other hand, you can’t sue for pain and suffering. However, you can file a claim for emotional distress and demand damages for pain and suffering. In other words, emotional distress attracts damages for pain and suffering.


Supposing X (who is not insured and is driving a stolen car) drank excess alcohol and got behind the wheel. They’re over speeding in a school zone and they crash into an oncoming vehicle. The other driver’s young children in the back seat are seriously injured-one of them is to be confined in a wheelchair for life while the other suffers a permanent traumatic brain injury.

You also suffer a hip bone injury that can be rectified with a series of surgeries, but you’ll require long-term physical therapy to recover. Although you or a personal injury attorney can bring two claims in this case; car accident and emotional distress you’ll only recover damages for pain and suffering if no other types of damages were demanded, such as:

  • Damages for loss of wages;
  • Damages for physical injuries;
  • Damages for medical costs, and others.

Pain and suffering is different from emotional distress but they’re related. Emotional distress is a form of pain and suffering while pain and suffering is a broad term encompassing many types of damages in personal injury law.

Eleena Wills
Eleena Wills
Hi, I’m Eleena Wills. Being a writer and blogger, I strive to provide informative and valuable articles to people. With quality, constructive, and well-researched articles, one can make informed choices. I cover a wide range of topics, from home improvement to hair styling and automotive.


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