Understanding Emotional Distress in Workplace Injury Claims

Understanding Emotional Distress in Workplace Injury Claims

When a person gets hurt in a workplace accident, they may suffer moderate to severe injuries and incur high medical bills. They might also have to miss work for an extended period of time, resulting in a significant amount of lost earnings. But in addition to the monetary losses that can be tied directly to the injury, there are intangible losses that must be considered, among them being emotional distress.

Sometimes referred to as psychological distress, emotional distress encompasses all of the psychological trauma and negative emotions that a workplace injury causes. Losses for emotional distress are separate and distinct from physical pain-and-suffering, which is another major difficulty that someone who sustained a personal injury goes through.

It is important to point out that obtaining compensation for emotional distress, pain-and-suffering, and other types of noneconomic losses is not possible in all workplace accident claims. Workers’ compensation does not provide coverage for intangible losses, and an injured worker will need to find other legal avenues from which to recover these types of damages. This will most often involve a personal injury claim against an outside party (other than the employer or a coworker) who may have been responsible for their injury.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a workplace accident, it is crucial that you speak with skilled and knowledgeable attorneys who can review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. In West Virginia, get in touch with Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979. We have 50 years of experience successfully representing injured workers and those who have suffered all other types of personal injuries because of someone else’s negligence.

Workplace Accidents and Emotional Distress

People often fail to consider the psychological toll that a workplace injury can take, and this is where it is extremely helpful to have attorneys by your side who understand how to accurately calculate these types of damages. As we touched on earlier, there are a number of different types of emotional pain that can result from a workplace accident, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental Anguish
  • Fright
  • Shame
  • Humiliation
  • Embarrassment
  • Grief
  • Despair

Plaintiffs can seek damages for emotional distress in a personal injury claim based on negligence or intentional actions. Negligence is the most common basis for a personal injury action, and it is easier to prove. To recover damages based on negligence, you must show that the defendant owed a duty of care, that they breached that duty with their negligent actions, and that these actions directly caused your injuries, including psychological harm.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is a more difficult claim to substantiate. If you file a claim on this basis, you must show that the defendant’s actions were intentional and malicious, which will require a significant amount of evidence.

Recovering Damages for Emotional Distress from a Workplace Injury

As we mentioned earlier, it is not always possible to obtain compensation for emotional distress and other intangible losses in a workplace accident case. You will either need to identify a third party who may have caused or contributed to the accident, or you may be able to file a claim against a West Virginia employer based on the legal theory of “deliberate intent”.

Deliberate intent claims are very difficult to win, but not impossible. We will examine your situation to see if you may have a viable case against your employer.

The more common way to recover damages for emotional distress in a workplace injury case is to file a personal injury lawsuit against an outside party. Many workplace accidents involve complicated circumstances, and there are often a number of different parties that could be at fault.

Examples of third parties that an injured worker may be able to file a claim against include:

  • Subcontractors who cause an accident with injuries while working nearby employees.
  • Drivers of vehicles who crash into an employee while the employee is on the clock.
  • Designers, manufacturers, and distributors of defective or dangerous machinery that causes an accident.

Injured in a Workplace Accident in West Virginia? Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. for Assistance

For strong legal guidance with workplace injuries in West Virginia, call Contact Bailey, Javins, and Carter L.C. at (800) 497-0234 or (800) 296-6979 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you!