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How do you measure emotional damages?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2022 | Insurance defense

In many cases, when an insurance company is being told to pay after a personal injury claim, it is possible to get an accurate account of the physical damage. The insurance company can get reports from doctors and physicians describing the injuries that were suffered and the treatment that was needed. Since the insurance company is trying to figure out the cost, looking at the price of this treatment is a logical place to begin.

When things get tricky, though, is when plaintiffs also decide to seek emotional damages. They want compensation for the cognitive or emotional issues that stem from the accident.

But a lot of this information has much less documentation than you have for physical injuries. For example, psychologists who perform the post-accident assessments can measure physical limitations and injuries, but they may just “give the plaintiff an opportunity to describe the…emotional, interpersonal, and cognitive impact” that the injury had.

Why is this a problem?

This can be a problem because it means that the extent of the injuries are simply being evaluated by the person who claims that they were injured. You can measure something like the range of motion that a person has after they recover from a shoulder injury, but how do you actually measure the emotional impact? If you just take their word for it, could the actual issue be much less severe than the way they’re describing it?

This isn’t always a problem because there are specific conditions that may emerge. For example, if someone claims they are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and can no longer drive, PTSD is a well-known medical condition. But those who say they simply have anxiety after the accident or that they’re nervous to drive are not necessarily describing a recognized condition like PTSD.

This can lead to some disagreements over how much money is actually owed after the injury. Make sure that you know exactly what steps to take.