5 Ways to Prove Emotional Distress
Published on:May 3, 2018


In a personal injury case, proving genuine emotional stress can be difficult. Civil courts require evidence to prove injuries, psychological or physical, before an award can be made. Lawyers in New York State understand the criteria required to prove emotional distress, and they use different processes to make their points. There are many ways to prove emotional distress, but there are five that New York civil courts find most effective.

Physician’s Diagnosis

The insurance company or any other defendant in a personal injury case where emotional distress is involved will usually force the plaintiff to get evaluated before the court makes a decision. Many plaintiff lawyers try to reinforce the court-appointed psychological results with results of their own from tests given by other doctors. When the medical evidence of emotional distress is overwhelming, courts find that difficult to ignore.

Chronic Re-Appearance

One of the reasons emotional distress is hard to prove is because it is usually difficult to see. But under some circumstances, such as some forms of post-traumatic stress disorder, a court can physically see the unmistakable signs of emotional distress. Attorneys have ways of proving the physical signs of emotional distress that, under most circumstances, are very hard to fake.

Physical Signs

Emotional distress can often have the same physical effects as anxiety and stress. Ulcers, recurring headaches, profuse sweating, and shortness of breath are real physical signs of emotional distress that civil courts find compelling. It is often helpful to get a physical evaluation done of a plaintiff claiming emotional distress to go along with the psychological evaluation.


A company owner who had to let the plaintiff go from their job because the plaintiff was constantly displaying the signs of emotional distress can be a powerful story for a civil court to hear. Credible witnesses who will testify to the real effects of emotional distress can help to convince a court that the distress is real and that the distress is damaging the plaintiff’s life.

Signs Of Intense Distress

Intense and prolonged emotional distress can have physical symptoms such as hypertension, weight loss, loss of hair, and loss of sleep. It can take very severe distress to create these types of symptoms, and intense emotional distress is a very powerful argument for any plaintiff. These symptoms are usually beyond symptoms such as ulcers and sweating. With these intense signs of distress, there is a strong possibility of heart disease or some other potentially fatal affliction. Very intense emotional distress is something that civil courts in New York look at very closely in a personal injury case.

When a plaintiff brings up emotional distress in a personal injury case, it can change the entire complexion of the case. The plaintiff must prove that they are experiencing real distress or else this part of the claim will get thrown out of court. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to prove emotional distress and knows how to bring a compelling case that the courts will have to consider.