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5 Ways to Prove Emotional Distress in Oregon Courts

Accidental injuries are a common occurrence and can happen due to a variety of factors. In addition to the impacts your injuries may have on your physical health and financial security, they can result in serious and long-term emotional health conditions as well.

In personal injury claims in Oregon, you may be entitled to compensation for the emotional distress you suffer as the result of your accident and injuries. Unfortunately, while the symptoms you are experiencing are common among accident victims and potentially debilitating, proving emotional distress can present challenges when taking your claim to court.

Impacts of Emotional Distress

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that emotional distress can have a significant impact on an accident victim’s ability to cope with life situations and events that are going on around them. While not a specific diagnostic category in and of itself, it may be classified by symptoms that include the following:

  • Sleep disturbances;
  • Problems with appetite and weight loss or gain;
  • Social anxiety and isolation;
  • Increased irritability and fits of rage;
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts.

Under Section 31.710 of the Oregon Revised Code, victims with emotional distress can seek compensation in the form of non-economic damages. In order to do so, you need to prove and quantify the amount of emotional distress you suffered that is directly related to your accident or injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney will be instrumental in demonstrating this on your behalf.

Proving Emotional Distress In Personal Injury Claims

The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) points out that while the criteria varies based on location and the type of proceeding, the following are five ways in which emotional distress may be proven to the court:

  1. Plaintiff testimony: Statements from the victim themselves may be used to relay symptoms they suffer and the impacts those symptoms have on their day to day activities.
  2. The injury itself: In many cases, there needs to be an underlying physical injury the victim suffered from to prove emotional distress. With disabling and potentially life threatening injuries, such as spinal cord injuries or brain trauma, the injury itself may be enough for non-economic damages to be awarded.
  3. The circumstances surrounding the accident: Accidents are generally traumatic due to their unexpected nature. The circumstances under which your injuries occurred, such as being blindsided by another driver or having an improperly functioning product explode in your hands, could be a clear indicator of emotional distress.
  4. Corroborating statements from family and friends: In addition to your own testimony, statements from family, friends, and even coworkers can help establish the impact emotional distress from your accident has had on your life.
  5. Testimony from doctors and therapists: Statements from doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists could all be used to prove emotional distress in your case.

If you believe you have suffered emotional distress as the result of accidental injuries, contact Marc Johnston today. Attorney Johnston can assist you in gathering the evidence needed in support of your claim, and help you achieve the compensation you need to recover.


Marc Johnston

Lead Attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C.

Based in downtown Portland, Marc A. Johnston is the owner and managing attorney of the award-winning, internationally-known personal injury law firm, Johnston Law Firm, P.C. Marc's career has been dedicated to representing the injured and individuals who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. His focus on trial law creates the backbone of the Johnston Law Firm — a firm that is ready to go the distance in seeking justice for its clients.