Emotional Distress in Mississippi
Emotional distress is a compensable injury suffered due to undue mental anguish and suffering inflicted on you. In certain circumstances emotional distress can be grounds to recover damages, depending on how these mental injuries were sustained. When you are seriously injured in a medical procedure, a car accident, an attack, or any other personal injury, the physical damages are usually apparent. But a serious injury can damage your emotions as well.
Emotional distress can manifest itself in many ways, including:
- Mental anguish
- physical pain
A mental healthcare professional is going to have to diagnose and help you recover from these problems, but our firm may be able to help you recover from the individual or entity that caused you to suffer.
Mississippi Law on Emotional Distress
Mississippi recognizes a plaintiff’s right to recover for mental and emotional injuries as an additional element of damages in the event that a right to recover for physical injuries is established. Although a “physical impact” (someone or something actually striking you, and causing both physical and emotional damages) is not necessarily required, due to the uncertain nature of mental injuries, cases are certainly much more difficult without some component of physical injury that relates to your mental injury.
Intentional infliction of Emotional Distress
In order to prove a case for intentional infliction of emotional distress, it must be shown that you were injured due to conduct that is “so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.” Brown v. Inter-City Federal Bank for Sav., 738 So. 2d 262, 264–65 (Miss. Ct. App. 1999). If it can be shown that the conduct was “malicious, intentional or outrageous,” our burden of proof in your case is met. Adams v. U.S. Homecrafters, Inc., 744 So. 2d 736, 743 (Miss. 1999). But this is very, very hard to do. Insults, employment disputes, and threats alone usually won’t cut it.
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
Negligent infliction of emotional distress occurs when an individual fails to use reasonable care and causes you emotional injury. As stated above, Mississippi law certainly recognizes that emotional distress damages are available as an additional element of damages in physical injury cases. What is not entirely clear, however, is whether negligent infliction of emotional distress is an independent cause of action. In 2007, the Mississippi Supreme Court stated that a “plaintiff may not recover damages for emotional distress without showing a physical manifestation of injury or demonstrable harm.” Paz v. Brush Engineered Materials, Inc., 949 So. 2d 1, 4 (Miss. 2007). What is fairly clear, however, is that emotional distress which causes you to seek medical attention, and which is supported by a medical diagnosis and treatment from a certified mental healthcare professional, is a stronger case than complaints supported by your own testimony alone.
What we can do for you in emotional distress cases
Emotional distress can be a terrible element of an injury case, and most of the time your mental health injuries do not get the respect and attention they deserve. The law makes it difficult to pursue damages for emotional distress alone, but we will help you evaluate your case to determine if we should be pursuing damages for emotional distress in addition to other claims you have. You deserve the best care, support, hope for your future, so call The Guthrie Firm, PLLC at 601-991-1099 or toll-free at 866-991-1055 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation. Feel free to contact us by email as well.