Can I Sue for Emotional Distress?

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Can I Sue for Emotional Distress?

|Posted on February 13, 2019 in Personal Injury |

Most states, including Kansas and Missouri, allow accident victims to seek financial compensation not only for physical and financial damages but for emotional ones as well. Emotional traumas associated with a severe accident or injury can be debilitating for survivors.

Filing a claim may not erase emotional distress, but it can bring justice to the affected party. After a personal injury accident in Kansas City, find out if you have a claim for emotional distress with help from a Kansas City personal injury attorney.

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

Two main categories of personal injury claim damages are economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the losses that cost money, such as medical expenses, property damage repairs, and lost wages from missing time at work. Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate, as the amount stems from receipts and hard evidence of the costs associated with an accident. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, largely depend on more subjective factors.

Non-economic damages are losses the victim suffered that do not have to do with money. They refer to personal and intangible damages the accident or injuries cause the victim. Non-economic damages can include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of consortium, lost quality of life, and lost enjoyment of life. These are real damages an accident may have caused a victim, even if they do not result in financial losses.

Filing a claim for non-economic damages, such as emotional distress, is possible in Kansas City. In most cases, plaintiffs will seek both economic and non-economic damages together in one claim. It is less common for the courts to accept a claim purely for emotional distress, without any physical injuries or financial losses. Speak to an attorney to find out if you have the right to seek emotional distress damages in Kansas City.

Common Case Types With Emotional Distress Damages

The Kansas City courts allow plaintiffs to seek emotional distress damages during any civil action. However, some accident types cause non-economic damages more often than others. If you suffered severe injuries in any of the following accidents, you may have grounds to seek emotional distress damages from the at-fault party.

  • Car accident
  • Dog attack
  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Police excessive use of force
  • Medical malpractice
  • Fire or explosion
  • Traumatic amputation
  • Wrongful death

It is important to seek counsel from a personal injury attorney after any type of personal injury. That way, you can examine all your damages and form an accurate amount of compensation to request. An attorney will be able to review your case and tell you if you have the right to seek non-economic losses from the defendant.

Is There a Cap on Pain and Suffering Damages?

Many states place a cap, or limit, on the amount of non-economic damages a personal injury plaintiff can receive. This is because in many cases, no amount of financial compensation can make up for the lifelong trauma a victim will suffer. A jury will determine the amount of pain and suffering damages a plaintiff deserves based on the victim’s age, injury severity, point of maximum medical recovery, and many other factors.

In Missouri, no cap exists on economic or non-economic damages. This means the victim and his or her family can seek as much money as their attorney believes is reasonable. The only exception is during medical malpractice claims. A victim can only receive up to $350,000 in non-economic damages during a medical malpractice lawsuit.

In Kansas, the state caps all types of non-economic damages in personal injury claims. The cap started at $250,000, and will gradually increase year by year ($325,000 from 2018 to 2022, and $350,000 after June 30, 2022). Hiring a lawyer can help you maximize emotional distress damages in your state.