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socrateaser
socrateaser, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Can I sue someone for verbal and emotional abuse?

Resolved Question:

Can I sue someone for verbal and emotional abuse?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
There is a civil action called "intentional infliction of emotional distress," which as its name implies, permits a person to sue another for outrageous conduct intended to inflict, extreme mental distress.

However, in order to recover, the injured party must show damages (medical, psychological hospital, costs, an associated physical injury requiring mental health therapy). Otherwise, while the court can give judgment, no damages can be assessed, so there is little point in filing suit.

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If I can get all the records of trauma therapy I've had, as well as doctor visits and hospitalizations due to extreme anxiety/panic attacks, is that what I'd need? I have several years of that on record. How much- ball park estimation- could I receive?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
The required proof for an IIED lawsuit is:

1. Defendant engaged in conduct directed at plaintiff;
2. Defendant's conduct was intentional or substantial certain to affect Plaintiff;
3. Defendant's conduct was outrageous by ordinary community standards;
4. Plaintiff suffered extreme mental distress; and
5. Plaintiff was damaged as the result of that mental distress.

Your records would go to prove element #4.

Re how much, the answer depends on how badly you were injured and how outrageous the defendant's conduct was. Assuming severe injuries, such as the inability to work, or hospitalization, clinical paranoia causing a lost enjoyment of life, then the standard measurement is to calculate the losses based upon what the defendant's life is worth times the number of days of injury, and then add any out of pocket costs (medical, or mental health therapy bills, lost wages, etc.).

Also, where the conduct is sufficiently outrageous, the jury can award punitive damages to discourage future similar conduct -- which generally can be up to three times the amount of the other/compensatory damages.

Calculating the value of your life is difficult to do. It's an art more than a science, and requires an ability to convince a jury that your life is extremely valuable. For example, you would have no trouble communicating to a jury that the life of Albert Einstein was valuable. But, for the average person, a jury may be unimpressed -- and that's where you need a great attorney to convince the jury that the defendant should pay through the nose.

I'm not ducking the question here. There just isn't any way for me to estimate your damages without knowing everything about you and your life. But, let's say that you sell carpet and earn $50,000 per year on average. You might be able to divide that by the number of days in the year, then by two, to consider the fact that you have a life outside of work, then times 4 to include punitive damages, then times the number of days of injury.

Given all of the above, you would have a claim for around $1,000 per day of injury.

Hope this helps.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“ToCustomerrdquo;), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!

socrateaser, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 34823
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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