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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Is Emotional Distress Considered a Personal Injury in Ohio? - The Impact of Mental Well-being

Emotional distress, a state of profound psychological suffering, is often a consequence of traumatic events. Regarding personal injury law, victims tend to wonder if emotional distress is considered a valid claim in Ohio. This article delves into the subject, exploring whether emotional distress is recognized as a personal injury in the Buckeye State or not.

What Is Emotional Distress?

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress refers to a state of intense mental anguish characterized by feelings of extreme sadness, fear, anxiety, or anger. It is often a response to traumatic or distressing events, such as accidents, acts of violence, natural disasters, or losing a loved one. The experience of emotional distress can be overwhelming, disrupting anyone's ability to function and affecting their overall quality of life.

Causes of Emotional Distress

Various factors can contribute to the onset of emotional distress. Personal experiences of trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, can leave lasting emotional scars, triggering distressing emotions and memories.

Chronic stressors, such as work-related pressures, financial difficulties, or ongoing conflicts in personal relationships, can also contribute to the development of emotional distress.

Emotional Distress Symptoms

The symptoms of emotional distress can manifest in different ways. Individuals could experience persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or despair. They could also have trouble sleeping, experience appetite changes, pain and suffering, or difficulty concentrating.

Emotional distress can also lead to physical symptoms, including headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue. In severe cases, individuals may contemplate self-harm or have suicidal thoughts.

When to Seek Help

It is important to note that emotional distress is a valid and recognized condition, and seeking help is crucial.

Mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists, can support and guide individuals experiencing emotional distress. They will employ therapeutic techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or medication, to help individuals cope with their mental anguish and regain a sense of well-being.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event.

It is characterized by a range of symptoms that can persist long after the traumatic incident has occurred. PTSD can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background, and its symptoms can significantly impact a person's daily life and well-being.

PTSD Causes

The traumatic events that can trigger PTSD vary widely and include experiences such as military combat, physical or sexual assault, natural disasters, accidents, or the sudden death of a loved one. What sets PTSD apart from other emotional responses to trauma is the persistence and severity of the symptoms.

Emotional Distress as Personal Injury Claims

In Ohio, emotional distress can be classified as a personal injury under certain circumstances. Personal injury law typically revolves around physical harm, but it also encompasses mental and emotional anguish resulting from the actions or negligence of another party.

Ohio law recognizes emotional distress's impact on an individual's well-being and quality of life, extending legal protections to those who have endured such suffering.

Proving Emotional Distress

Certain criteria must be met to establish a claim for emotional distress as a personal injury in Ohio.

Severe Emotional Stress

Firstly, the distress experienced must be severe and substantial, surpassing the ordinary and inevitable distress that someone might face in their daily life.

In order to prove emotional distress, it must have caused significant disruption, affecting the victim's ability to function normally and profoundly impacting their emotional and mental state.

Proving Liability

Moreover, it is crucial to demonstrate that the distress stems directly from another party's negligent or intentional actions.

This could include witnessing a loved one's injury due to someone else's recklessness, suffering emotional trauma due to a car accident caused by a negligent driver, or enduring emotional distress due to workplace harassment or discrimination.

Types of Emotional Distress Claims

According to Ohio law, those affected by emotional distress can file one of two types of claims to build their personal injury case.

Negligent Infliction

In cases of negligent infliction of mental pain, the claimant must show that the defendant's negligence caused the distress and that it was reasonably foreseeable.

This means that a reasonable person should have anticipated that their actions or omissions would result in emotional harm to another person.

Intentional infliction

On the other hand, intentional infliction of mental distress claims require the victim to establish that the defendant acted with intent or recklessness, intentionally engaging in conduct that caused severe emotional distress.

These claims often involve situations where the defendant's actions were particularly egregious, such as intentionally causing physical harm or engaging in extreme and outrageous behavior.

Statute of Limitations

It is important to note that emotional pain claims in Ohio are subject to certain limitations. Ohio follows a statute of limitations, which sets a specific time limit within which a claim must be filed.

Generally, in personal injury cases involving emotional injuries, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the incident or discovery of the distress. Therefore, victims must take prompt action and consult with an experienced personal injury law firm to ensure compliance with the legal timeframe and get fair financial compensation for their personal injuries.

The "Physical Injuries" Rule

Additionally, Ohio law sometimes requires a "physical manifestation" of emotional distress. This means the distress must have resulted in a physical injury or harm to be considered a valid personal injury claim.

Physical injuries can include insomnia, ulcers, headaches, or other physiological symptoms directly linked to the pain and suffering.

Getting Compensation for Psychological Harm

Getting Compensation for Psychological Harm

In conclusion, emotional distress is indeed considered a personal injury in Ohio under specific circumstances. The severity and substantial impact of the distress, its direct relation to the actions of another party, and the presence of physical manifestations are crucial factors in establishing a valid emotional distress lawsuit. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also advise on how to calculate personal injury damages in Ohio.

Personal injury victims should consult with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer from Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to assess their situation, determine the viability of an emotional distress lawsuit, and pursue the legal recourse available within the applicable time limits. This law firm will go to war for their clients to help them recover lost wages, medical bills, and other financial consequences caused by the suffered emotional distress.


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