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Courts have long recognized that injured individuals who experience stress, anxiety, fright, depression, grief or trauma caused by another should be compensate for these psychological injuries. To be sure, mental anguish and the mental suffering it encompasses is a very real component of an injured person’s pain and suffering. As a result, if you have been injured due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the concurrent anguish they caused.
All mental anguish damages will only be paid where the injured person may demonstrate beyond a preponderance of the evidence (more than likely) that such psychological pain occurred. The obvious difficulty is proving the existence of such trauma without clear physical indicators. How can a court be sure you are experiencing depression from the accident rather than some other life event? Was your anxiety really caused by financial concerns that preexisted your accident? Do you have a medical history of stress and fright? Documentation of mental anguish, to the extent possible, is always advisable so that financial compensation for this real and traumatic psychological damage can be awarded.
For example, in California, these “non-economic” damages remain payable to the injured person, however certain limitations apply. Beyond the basic need to prove such mental anguish as detailed above, the injured party is also capped by California law to $250,000 in non-cash damages in medical malpractice cases. This means that all forms of mental anguish, including loss of consortium, loss of life enjoyment, pain and suffering etc. can not exceed, when combined, a total of $250,000 in damages. This cap however only applies in medical malpractice cases however, and not to every civil tort claim in California. Finally it is important to note that mental anguish is a component of many defamation and slander jury awards, in addition to most medical malpractice claims. Speaking with a qualified personal injury attorney in Fresno or Clovis may provided you with the knowledge you need to help your case proceed and receive your full entitlements.