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- Can I Sue For Pain And Suffering?
Can I Sue For Pain And Suffering – Workplace discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation take an emotional toll. If you’ve experienced mistreatment at work, you may be wondering, “Can I sue my employer for emotional distress?”
Fortunately, victims of employment violations can claim emotional distress damages. In this article, we will explain the process of suing for emotional distress and how to file an emotional distress claim.
Can I Sue For Pain And Suffering
Emotional distress is the mental suffering an employee experiences as a result of discrimination, harassment or a hostile work environment in the workplace. Lawsuits for wrongful termination, retaliation and sexual harassment often award emotional distress damages.
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The traumatic impact of workplace problems and losing a job can be just as powerful as losing a permanent relationship or learning of a terminal illness, according to industrial psychologists.
In an emotional distress lawsuit, the jury decides how much damages to award the employee. It is not unusual for juries to award millions in emotional distress damages.
However, the jury did not determine the final amount the plaintiff received. Judges can (and do) reduce emotional distress damages, sometimes dramatically.
Victims of wrongful termination may receive a refund. These damages pay what the employee would have earned without being laid off. Terminated employees may also receive front pay to cover lost income in the future.
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Courts can also award punitive damages. This punishes employers for violating laws against discrimination, sexual harassment and other employment violations.
Emotional stress damage comes in several forms. Although courts do not use a set standard, they usually classify damages in a few common categories: garden variety, significant and egregious.
As one law explains, a plaintiff with a garden-variety claim “describes his injury in vague or conclusory terms, without attributing either the severity or the consequences of the injury.”
However, unlike garden variety emotional distress, courts expect more evidence to find significant emotional distress. This can include evidence that the victim sought help from their doctor or visited a therapist or counselor. Corroborating evidence from witnesses can also prove significant emotional distress.
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Most courts classify severe emotional distress as a case of “outrageous or shocking conduct.” This category also includes occupational violations that have a significant impact on the physical health of the victim.
Emotional pain and suffering can come in many forms. When evaluating an emotional distress lawsuit, the court looks for evidence of mental suffering, emotional trauma or a newly diagnosed mental health disorder.
Counselors or therapists can testify about emotional harm or mental health disorders. Victims and their co-workers or family members can testify about disturbances, insomnia, or other forms of mental suffering. The next section discusses how to prove emotional distress.
For example, a judge upheld an award of nearly $500,000 for a case where “the plaintiff’s career was destroyed because the defendant spread rumors that the plaintiff was a ‘gay child molester’ and that the plaintiff had been suicidal for years.”
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In a racial discrimination case, the victim received $1.3 million after years of being harassed by a co-worker. The extreme disorder caused “post-traumatic stress disorder, short-term adjustment disorder, depression, panic disorder and multiple hospitalizations.”
In a disability discrimination case, the victim received $600,000 after the court heard evidence of serious emotional trauma and damage.
Judges and juries look for specific evidence to award emotional distress damages. But what counts as hard evidence?
Employees can testify about emotional harm caused by discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Likewise, co-workers, family members or friends can act as witnesses to explain how the employment violation affected the plaintiff.
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Providing letters, emails, texts and other written evidence of emotional pain and suffering will help strengthen the testimony.
Documents from mental health professionals can also help prove emotional distress. If the victim goes to a therapist or counselor to talk about what happened, these records can help prove their case.
Sometimes victims of employment violations experience depression or anxiety. Evidence that a mental health professional diagnosed the victim with a mental health disorder can increase damages in an emotional distress lawsuit. Likewise, a professional who prescribes medication to manage emotional harm can help prove emotional pain and suffering.
In addition to the evidence provided by the plaintiff, the court also looked at the severity and duration of the employment violation. Long-term or more severe impairments can translate into higher awards.
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During employment lawsuits, juries award damages for pain and emotional suffering. However, judges can reduce “excessive” awards. For example, in a 2014 case, a Manhattan judge reduced emotional distress damages from $250,000 to $80,000. The judge argued that the plaintiff did not provide enough evidence of lasting emotional impact.
In the 2008 case, another judge reduced the award from $125,000 to $25,000 because the trial did not include medical testimony.
These examples offer guidance to people considering emotional distress lawsuits. More evidence usually translates into higher damages awards. New York courts often uphold awards of more than $200,000 when mental health experts testify about the victim’s emotional trauma and mental suffering.
If you are suffering from emotional distress due to an employment violation, you can take concrete steps to increase your chances of suffering damages.
How Much Money Can You Sue For Pain And Suffering?
First, consider discussing the situation with your doctor, especially if you’re experiencing trouble sleeping, increased stress, or anxiety because of harassment, discrimination, or wrongful termination.
Second, start compiling documents that support your emotional grief. For example, an email or text that talks about your emotional state and why.
Third, make a list of people who can be witnesses. Co-workers who witnessed an employment violation, friends who supported you through job loss, and family members or clergy who can testify about your mental state can all strengthen your case.
Finally, an emotional distress attorney can help you prove emotional distress and increase your damages from a lawsuit. Plaintiffs need someone on their side who understands the law and will fight for their rights. Most employment cases are settled out of court – a lawyer can also ensure you receive a fair settlement.
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Emotional distress means mental suffering such as sadness, anxiety, anger, or other upsetting emotions. In a legal context, courts award damages for emotional distress. For example, if harassment or discrimination at work affects your mental health, you may receive emotional distress damages.
Yes, you can sue your employer for emotional distress. This is known as an emotional distress claim. When suing for emotional distress, you need to prove that your employer violated your rights and that it caused emotional harm. Discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and harassment can all cause emotional distress. Contact an emotional distress attorney to learn more.
Damages in an emotional distress lawsuit depend on the facts of the case and the strength of your evidence. New York courts typically award anything from $30,000 to $200,000 or more in damages for emotional distress. For more information on how to calculate damages for emotional distress, contact an emotional distress attorney.
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Can I Sue For Pain And Suffering?
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