Main screening factors that a plaintiff’s attorney uses when evaluating mental and emotional injury claims in accident cases
Many mental injury claims are multiple-trauma cases, such as sexual abuse, discrimination and harassment. But many other mental injury claims are single-trauma cases, such as construction injuries, medical negligence, product liability and other “accident” cases. For even the best plaintiff’s lawyer, presenting a mental and emotional injury claim in an accident case is often an uphill battle.
When determining whether to accept an accident case in which the potential plaintiff is suffering from a significant mental and emotional injury, the plaintiff’s attorney will consider numerous factors including:
- The clarity of liability. There should be no ambiguity about the defendant’s responsibility for the accident.
- The type of event (exploding battery; construction site accident; cancer misdiagnosis) that forms the basis for the accident case.
- Whether the plaintiff has also sustained a physical injury.
- Whether the subject trauma was objectively significant.
- Whether the subject trauma was significant enough to overcome plaintiff’s coping mechanisms.
- The nature of defendant.
- The provability of the mental and emotional injury.
- The extent of the mental and emotional injury.
- The vulnerability of the plaintiff.
- The clarity of causation. There should be no question that the defendant’s actions or omissions contributed to the accident that injured the plaintiff.
- The extent of insurance coverage.
- The credibility of the plaintiff.
- Whether the plaintiff has received treatment for the mental and emotional injury.
- The extent to which the mental and emotional injury has interfered with plaintiff’s ability to work and otherwise function.