Sue a hospital for emotional distress

Sustaining injuries in a serious accident or facing a difficult medical diagnosis can be challenging physically and taxing mentally. Sadly, there were 139.8 million emergency department visits in the US in 2021. These resulted in 18.3 million people being admitted to the hospital.

Such patients have the right to expect competent and thorough care when they are being treated in any professional healthcare setting. A medical provider’s negligent or careless actions can have devastating physical and emotional consequences for the patient. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice and are suffering emotionally, you may have legal recourse against your medical providers and the hospital in which you received care.

Below, we will discuss emotional distress in medical malpractice cases and what is involved in suing a hospital for emotional suffering.

What Is Emotional Distress in a Medical Malpractice Claim?

After learning that your healthcare provider made a serious medical mistake, you may feel shaken to your core. A misdiagnosis or other medical error may lead to deep depression and anxiety. This can make it difficult to live life normally.

Symptoms of emotional distress when medical malpractice takes place may include:

  • Anxiety and mental anguish
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Grief
  • Insomnia
  • Anger and frustration
  • Inability to function at work
  • Phobias
  • Changes in your ability to maintain personal relationships

Such symptoms and feelings are life-altering and deserve to be addressed. Under the Utah Health Care Malpractice Act, healthcare providers include physicians, medical staff, and hospitals where a patient is being treated. Therefore, the law allows you to pursue a claim for emotional distress against a hospital or other healthcare institution.

How to Prove Emotional Distress in a Hospital Setting

Hospitals may be held accountable for medical malpractice if they hire doctors and other healthcare providers who provide poor, inadequate, or improper care to a patient.

To successfully pursue a claim for emotional distress against a hospital, you must be able to prove that:

  • You were a patient in the hospital; therefore, hospital personnel had a duty to provide you with a reasonable standard of care
  • Hospital personnel failed to provide a reasonable standard of care
  • You experienced emotional suffering that you would not have otherwise if the healthcare providers had met the standard for reasonable care
  • Your resulting emotional distress is causing a real and actual impact on your ability to live everyday life

Taking on a hospital in any kind of medical malpractice suit is no easy feat. A personal injury lawyer who is experienced in such cases can prove to be a valuable asset as you pursue compensation for your pain and suffering.

Helpful Evidence in Medical Malpractice Cases Involving Emotional Distress

Emotional injuries are typically more challenging to prove than physical injuries because they are not outwardly visible. When suing a hospital for emotional distress, you will need to present evidence that your psychological injuries have caused a considerable and observable impact on your overall well-being.

In order to demonstrate the actuality and negative effect of your emotional distress, you may need to present such evidence as:

  • A clinical diagnosis of a psychological or psychiatric disorder resulting from the incident
  • Written statements from mental health professionals about your emotional state
  • Statements from friends and family members who can attest to the difference in your emotional well-being before and after the hospital experience
  • Testimony by your employer about how the incident has affected your ability to work
  • Documentation showing how the emotional distress has adversely impacted your finances
  • Documentation showing changes in your social activities or hobbies

A knowledgeable attorney can assist you in gathering evidence of emotional distress. He or she can then help you build a strong claim against the practitioner or entity that caused your suffering.

Potential Compensation for Emotional Distress in Hospital Lawsuits

Emotional distress stemming from medical negligence and a bad hospital experience can throw your entire life into turmoil. Filing a lawsuit against the hospital may help you get your life back on track after the unfortunate incident. You may be able to seek both economic and non-economic damages for the emotional distress you are experiencing.

Claimants often seek compensation for such losses as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Cost of mental health counseling
  • Other medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of consortium

Like many states, Utah does impose a cap on the amount of non-economic damages a patient can seek in a medical malpractice claim. A well-practiced attorney, though, can closely evaluate how your emotional distress has influenced your life. By doing so, he or she can help you pursue the maximum compensation possible for what you have gone through.

You Have a Limited Amount of Time to File an Emotional Distress Lawsuit Against a Hospital

Generally, in Utah, the claimant has 2 years from the date of the incident to file a medical malpractice claim against a hospital. At times, the injury or the psychological impact of it is not immediately apparent. In such cases, you have 2 years from the date during which you should have reasonably discovered the medical malpractice act to file a suit.

That being said, the statute of limitations limits you to 4 years max to bring a medical malpractice action. This applies regardless of when the negligent act or error was discovered. Additionally, in some situations, you may have even less time to take legal action against a hospital.

Unfortunately, if you fail to file your emotional distress claim within the legally allowed time limit, you will likely forever lose your right to compensation for your losses. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases can be confusing, and suing a hospital for emotional distress is a significant undertaking. It is in your best interest to consult a medical malpractice attorney who can guide you through the claims process, ensuring that no important deadlines are missed.

Contact the Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Siegfried & Jensen for Guidance

Every patient deserves to feel confident and well cared for when undergoing medical treatment. If you have endured emotional trauma as a result of your healthcare provider’s negligence or error, you may have grounds for a claim or lawsuit against the hospital. This is the time to seek empathetic legal support.

With all you are suffering, the idea of pursuing a claim may seem like too big of a burden to bear. That’s why we are here to help.

The team of personal injury attorneys at Siegfried & Jensen are ready to assist you during this difficult period. In practice since 1990, we have dedicated our careers to helping Utah injury victims get the justice they deserve, recovering over $1.2 billion for our clients.

Medical malpractice cases can be particularly upsetting and we believe that every emotional injury victim deserves a voice. If you or a loved one is suffering emotional distress caused by such an incident, we want to hear your story. In Utah, you can find us in Salt Lake City where we have two offices, OgdenOremSt. GeorgeLaytonLogan, and upcoming locations in Saratoga SpringsPayson, and West Valley. In Washington, you can find us in Spokane and in Spokane Valley soon. In Idaho, you can find us in Boise and soon in Meridian.

Let us help you hold the hospital accountable for all you have gone through so you can regain your quality of life. Please don’t wait – reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer at Siegfried & Jensen today. Call us at (801) 845-9000 or complete our online form for a free case evaluation. A member of our legal team is standing by to take your call.

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Content checked by personal injury attorney Todd Bradford. I worked for a small law firm in Utah County, where I handled various types of cases. My main focus was personal injury and I decided that is what I enjoyed doing the most. I rejoined Siegfried and Jensen in 2012 where my focus is solely on helping personal injury clients. I take pride in helping personal injury clients and enjoy serving them. If you need an attorney for auto accidents or injuries of any kind in Salt Lake City, UT, Ogden, UT, Spokane, WA, or Boise, ID, contact us.