Can a Hospital be Sued for Emotional Trauma?

When you check into a hospital for treatment of an illness or injury, you expect to receive the best possible care. Sadly, your nurse or physician failed to provide you with the accepted medical standard of care, and their negligence caused you additional harm, including emotional trauma.

How do I build a case for emotional trauma?

You can bring a lawsuit against the hospital to receive financial compensation for your injuries and damages. In most instances, you will also be eligible to collect compensation for non-economic damages, including emotional trauma. However, it is important to understand the conditions under which you are able to sue a hospital for emotional trauma and what is involved in the process so you know what to expect.

If you have experienced medical negligence, you should consult an experienced Virginia medical malpractice lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp who can explain all of your legal options moving forward and ensure you receive fair and just compensation for your injuries.  

What Is Emotional Trauma?

Emotional trauma is a phrase that refers to any kind of mental suffering or anguish that one person endures due to another person’s willful negligence or misconduct. In most personal injury cases, including medical malpractice cases, emotional trauma is a type of damage you are able to recover provided that your lawyer can adequately prove the trauma was directly related to your injury.

Just like loss of fellowship, and pain and suffering, emotional trauma falls under the category of non-economic damages. In other words, it was not the immediate cause of your economic losses, but it was the cause of negative impacts that you will have to live with long-term or for the rest of your life. Emotional trauma can impact your ability to go to school, work, perform vital daily tasks, and participate in activities you once enjoyed.   

Non-economic damages such as emotional trauma are intangible, non-monetary losses which makes them difficult to quantify. A qualified Virginia personal injury lawyer can help you calculate how much compensation you are owed and ensure that you don’t settle for anything less. 

When Can You Sue a Hospital for General Damages?

Virginia only allows you to recover damages for emotional trauma when:

  • A physical injury is the immediate cause of the trauma
  • The injury was caused by careless or deliberate misconduct

Unlike other states, Virginia does allow for the recovery of damages for the negligent infliction of emotional trauma on its own, except in very specific and very rare situations. Any damages awarded for emotional trauma are part of the overall damages you recover from the injuries caused by another’s negligence. This standard is designed to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits for emotional trauma. Sadly, many plaintiffs are happy to exaggerate or even lie about being emotionally traumatized. This is why courts require plaintiffs to show compelling evidence of emotional trauma and egregious conduct on the part of the defendant. 

Were You a Victim of Hospital Negligence?

As with any tortious claim where damages are being sought, you need to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer in order to build a solid case. When addressing emotional trauma in your injury claim, your lawyer will establish a direct connection between your emotional trauma and your physical injury but it is important that they do so quickly since the state of Virginia only gives you two years from the cause of action to file a medical malpractice suit with the court.  

If you have been the victim of emotional trauma related to medical malpractice or any other kind of personal injury claim, call the experienced Virginia Beach medical malpractice lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp at (833) 997-1774 to schedule a free consultation and learn about your options for collecting compensation. 

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