Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Virginia?

In Womack v. Eldridge, 210 S.E.2d 145 (1974), the Virginia Supreme Court recognized that the deliberate infliction of emotional distress upon a victim is cause for legal action. As such, people who suffer injuries and emotional distress from accidents in our state can pursue legal action against the responsible party.

To claim compensation for pain and suffering damages in Virginia, you must have a personal injury claim that includes recovering compensation for medical expenses. You must have a solid legal team on your side to prove the elements of negligence existed to prevail on your emotional distress lawsuit.

Elements of Negligence

To recover from pain and suffering damages, you must demonstrate that the four elements of negligence existed during your accident. These elements include:

  • The conduct of the defendant was reckless or intentional.
  • The conduct of the defendant was intolerable or outrageous.
  • There is an underlying connection between the defendant’s conduct and the emotional distress you experienced.
  • The resulting emotional distress was severe in nature.

Proving these elements can be particularly challenging. Defendants and their insurance companies will often do everything in their power to minimize the pain and suffering that you have experienced. For this reason, you must have a knowledgeable legal team who will help prove your damages and demand total compensation for your suffering.

You must understand what is considered emotional distress to recover the maximum compensation possible for this damage.

Emotional Distress Examples

Several things constitute emotional distress here in the state of Virginia. These include:

  • Severe or serious posttraumatic stress disorder or other emotional trauma.
  • Persistent nervousness that is severe or serious in nature.
  • Persistent worrying that is severe or serious in nature.
  • Persistent anxiety that is serious or severe in nature.
  • Intense grief, shock, fright, or horror.
  • Overwhelming mental suffering and anguish.

In general, a person can file an emotional distress lawsuit if the mental or emotional consequences they experience would cause an ordinary person to have problems coping with the fallout or the stress of the same circumstances.

There are several signs and symptoms that can indicate that a person is dealing with overwhelming emotional distress, such as:

  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, or depressed.
  • Having chronic pain, headaches, or digestive upset as a result of the emotional trauma.
  • Being unable to sleep or eat.
  • Eating or sleeping in excess.
  • Having problems with falling behind or struggling with work.
  • Suffering from withdrawal from hobbies, community, and loved ones.

Proving emotional distress can be complicated. To do so, you must be able to present the most substantial evidence to help the court calculate the pain and suffering that you have experienced.

How is Pain and Suffering Calculated?

You need to consider several factors when determining how much a person can recover from the pain and suffering they experienced due to the accident. In general, pain and suffering damages are determined by the type of injuries a victim has suffered. Additionally, courts will consider the length of medical care they require, their injuries’ impact on the quality of life, and whether they will face long-term consequences due to the accident.

You must have a solid legal team to seek the maximum compensation for your lawsuit. An experienced personal injury attorney can gather evidence from various sources to prove your damages and help you seek the maximum compensation possible for your emotional distress lawsuit.

Whether seeking advice, legal representation, or a way to protect your rights, Huffman & Huffman Brothers-in-Law PLLC can provide the help and services you need. From the initial consultation to representation in court, Hoffman & Hoffman will fight for your rights every step of the way.

For more than five decades, our team has fought to safeguard the legal rights of victims who have suffered debilitating injuries and accidents due to the negligence of others. You can depend on our team to fight for your legal rights and help you get justice. Contact our personal injury law firm today to get started on your case.


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