Though popular understanding most often identify civil law torts of personal injury with the occurrence of actual, physical harm, suits can also be filed and financial restitution recovered for instances of negligence which caused mental distress or anxiety rather than physical wounds. In this regard, the legal understanding of the personal injury tort is largely geared toward helping plaintiffs compel the financial assistance of the person responsible or the insurance company involved.
The need for medical care and inability to find and maintain employment caused by mental illness or mental distress can thus be said to meaningfully resemble the more recognizably relevant area of physical injury law. In order to establish the liability of the defendant for the suffering of mental illness or anxiety, either the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s legal representation must show that these ill-effects are the direct result of actions taken or not taken by the accused individual.
The suffering of mental distress in various forms can be attributed to an occurrence or near-occurrence of physical trauma, either through the personal injury plaintiff or to another individual. A person who makes a near escape from physical trauma may be able to sue the individual felt to be at fault if mental anxiety can be shown to have resulted to a debilitating degree.
The mental distress caused by the actual infliction of bodily harm can also be appealed to as a cause for separate or supporting legal action. A person who witnesses other people suffering some kind of significant physical harm and develops mental illness or an anxiety disorder as a result may also be file for personal injury against the person responsible for the initial occurrence of bodily trauma.
Mental illness or severe mental distress experienced in the workplace may also constitute grounds for filing suit if it can be shown that the actions of the employee’s superiors specifically caused those disorders to develop or generally contributed to an overwhelmingly negative working atmosphere. Under the strictures of the American legal system, employers have an obligation to guard against their workers suffering either physical harm or mental distress to the full extent available to them.
Studies have found that unpleasant working conditions often lead to the appearance of anxiety disorders and forms of mental illness which negatively impact both the personal lives of employees and their ability to effectively carry out their work. For this reason, businesses are encouraged to provide for workplaces which do not cause concerted levels of stress in their workers, as can later lead to serious, debilitating levels of depression and anxiety.
Employers who are found to have been markedly and demonstrable negligent toward fulfilling this obligation, with the result of serious mental illness problems arising among their workers, can be liable in personal injury lawsuits. Personal injury attorneys may find workplace lawsuits arising from mental distress or mental illness to be comparatively difficult to prove, in contrast to which cases of mental distress caused by workplace accidents can be more clearly and reliably demonstrated.