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Mental distress

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Updated: 6/17/2003 5:49 pm
Damages awarded in personal injury cases are generally based on actual monetary losses, such as medical costs, lost income, and the costs of repairs to property. In addition to these actual damages, an amount can also be awarded for pain and suffering. In serious injuries, a case can be made for the mental distress that resulted from the injury. In tort law, the general rule is that you usually can't claim mental distress without the existence of accompanying physical injury or other physical consequences. In other words, you may have to demonstrate that your injury has caused you some mental anguish or distress, such as a serious disability from which recovery is slow or impossible. Successful claims based on mental distress have been made based on the strain to a marriage relationship caused by a spouse's injuries or disability. Since the basic goal of injury liability is to restore of the victim's situation to that prior to the accident or to compensate for that which can't be restored, a case can be made to include mental distress as a factor when determining the amount of damages to be awarded. In some cases, expert witnesses may be able to help you support your claim.

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