Can I Sue My Insurance Company For Emotional Distress?

Yes, you can sue your insurance company for emotional distress, but it can be hard to prove. To win, you need to show that the insurance company acted carelessly or in bad faith and that this caused you serious emotional harm. Unlike medical bills, which are easy to show, emotional distress is harder to demonstrate because it’s a feeling, not a number. You will need strong evidence, like records from a therapist or doctor, to support your case.

Let you think about it,

Insurance companies are supposed to help you out when life throws a curveball. But what if they don’t do their job after an accident? You might be thinking, “Can I sue my insurance company for emotional distress?” The answer is, yes, sometimes you can!

If your insurance company isn’t keeping its promises, you might be able to sue for emotional distress, also known as non-compensatory damages. Whether it’s your home, car, or something else, they have a duty to do what they said they would.

If they fail, talking to a lawyer is a smart move. 

When Can You Sue for Emotional Distress?

Can I sue insurance company for emotional distress

You can sue for emotional distress when your insurance company doesn’t do its job right. Here’s how to know if you have a case:

  1. Negligence: If the insurance company was careless with your claim.
  2. Bad Faith: If they acted unfairly or lied to you.
  3. Direct Harm: If their actions caused you serious emotional pain and suffering.

For example, if your claim was denied for no good reason and this made you very stressed or anxious, you might be able to sue. 

Emotional distress is harder to prove than physical injuries, so you’ll need strong evidence like reports from a doctor or therapist.

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What Is Emotional Distress?

Before we get into the details of suing an insurance company for emotional distress, let’s first define what emotional distress means. 

Legally, emotional distress is any mental pain, suffering, or trauma caused by the person or company you are suing. 

Common examples in lawsuits include,

  • Depression, 
  • Anxiety, 
  • PTSD.

“In a lawsuit, emotional distress is part of general compensatory damages. These are damages meant to cover harm that isn’t easy to measure with numbers”.

Examples of general compensatory damages include,

  • Long-term physical problems, 
  • Future pain or medical issues, and 
  • Physical disfigurement or impairment that lowers your quality of life.

If you think you’ve suffered emotional distress due to your insurance company’s actions, it might be time to talk to a lawyer. They can help you understand your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

What is the most you can sue for emotional distress?

Emotional distress lawsuits fall into different categories based on how the distress was caused and whether there was physical harm involved. Here are the main types:

Severity of Distress/ Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

The more severe your emotional distress, the higher the potential compensation. If you’re dealing with major issues like severe anxiety, depression, or PTSD, you could be looking at a larger settlement.

Quality of Evidence

Solid evidence makes a big difference. This can include:

  • Medical records
  • Therapy notes
  • Testimonies from doctors or therapists
  • Statements from friends or family who have witnessed your distress

State Laws

Different states have different rules. Some states have caps on how much you can receive for non-economic damages, which include emotional distress. 

These caps can limit the amount, sometimes to a few hundred thousand dollars.

Impact on Life

How much the emotional distress has impacted your daily life matters. If it has affected your ability to work, enjoy hobbies, or maintain relationships, this can increase the compensation.

Jury Perception

If your case goes to trial, the jury’s view of your suffering can greatly influence the amount. They consider the emotional toll and how convincingly you present your case.

Bystander / Zone of Danger Exception

Allows emotional distress claims without physical injury if the person witnesses a close family member being seriously harmed.

Examples of Compensation Amounts

  • Minor Cases: For less severe emotional distress, amounts can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Moderate Cases: Moderate emotional distress cases might see awards from $50,000 to $100,000.
  • Severe Cases: In extreme cases, especially with strong evidence and a significant impact on your life, awards can go into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

How to prove Emotional Distress Claims Against Insurance Companies?

To prove your emotional distress claim against your insurance company, you need to show how much you’ve suffered because of their actions. 

Here are some important steps to make your case stronger:

Keep track of your feelings

Write down how you’ve been feeling in a journal. Include any anxiety, sadness, or other emotions caused by the insurance company’s behavior.

Get professional help

See a counselor or therapist and get records showing how the insurance company’s actions affected you mentally.

Collect proof of what the insurance company did wrong

Save any letters, emails, or denials from the insurance company that show they treated you unfairly.

Find witnesses who saw what happened

Get statements from people who can back up your story about how the insurance company hurt you emotionally.

Talk to a lawyer who knows about insurance claims 

Find a lawyer who understands these kinds of cases. They can look at your situation and decide the best way to handle it legally.

Show how the insurance company caused your distress

Prove that what the insurance company did directly caused you to feel so bad. Show that their actions made you suffer mentally.

Measure how much distress you’ve had

Give proof of how bad your emotional pain has been, like medical bills or missed work. Show how this has affected your daily life.


Working with a good lawyer and following these steps can help you build a strong case. Remember, the laws are different in each state, so talk to a local lawyer to understand what you need to do to protect your rights.

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What Are Bad Faith Insurance Claims?

Bad faith insurance claims let policyholders get compensation from an insurance company that didn’t fulfill its promises fairly and honestly in their contract.

Some of the bad faith insurance claims are,

  • Rejecting a claim for no good reason, even though it should be paid.
  • Offering too little money for a claim that should clearly be paid in full.
  • Not looking into a claim when there’s no valid explanation for not doing so.
  • Investigating a claim without a valid reason for doing so.
  • Ignoring proof that shows a claim deserves to be accepted.
  • Not agreeing to resolve a case when it’s obvious the policyholder is responsible.

What Are The Three Different Legal Concepts Of Bad Faith Claim?

Three different legal concepts of bad faith claims are,

  1. Breach of contract
  2. Common Law bad faith
  3. Statutory bad faith

Breach of Contract

A breach of contract bad faith claim happens when an insurance company breaks its promise in the contract by not paying a valid claim.

Requirements to Prove

  • There is a signed contract between the insured person and the insurance company.
  • The insured person did what the contract required them to do, or they had a good reason for not doing it.
  • The insurance company did not fulfill its part of the contract.
  • The insured person suffered losses because the insurance company did not fulfill its part of the contract.

Common Law Bad Faith

In a common law bad faith claim, the insured person argues that the insurance company acted unreasonably and knew it or didn’t care.

Key Point: The insurance company’s actions lacked a proper reason.

Statutory Bad Faith

A statutory bad faith claim can be filed under C.R.S. § 10-3-1116(1).

Criteria: This law allows a claim if the insurance company unfairly delayed or denied a claim that should have been paid promptly.

Benefits: The plaintiff can ask for attorney fees, court costs, and up to double the covered benefit.

Relationship Between Statutory and Common Law Bad Faith

Statutory bad faith provides additional options for the victim, not replacing common law bad faith.

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Best Examples Of Bad Faith Insurance

Delayed Claims Processing: Keeping your claim on hold for no good reason.

Biased Investigations: Doing unfair or incomplete investigations that lead to unfairly denying or undervaluing claims.

Unjustified Denials: Saying no to a claim that should be covered without explaining why.

Misinterpreting Contracts: Twisting the words in your policy to favor the insurance company, not you.

Low Settlement Offers: Offering much less money than what your claim is really worth.

Poor Communication: Ignoring questions, not explaining things clearly, or not talking to you about your claim.

Retaliation: Punishing you by raising your rates or canceling your insurance.

Intimidation Tactics: Using threats or pressure to make you accept a small settlement or drop your claim.

False Information: Giving you wrong details about what your policy covers.

Unfair Negotiation: Not trying to settle your claim fairly, even if they know they’re responsible.

What Damages Can Be Recovered For A Bad Faith Insurance Claim?

Compensatory Damages

Actual Damages: Money that should have been paid for your claim, plus any costs directly caused by the insurer’s actions.

Consequential Damages: Extra financial losses, like additional expenses or missed income, caused indirectly by the insurer’s actions.

Punitive Damages

These are awarded when the insurer behaves maliciously, fraudulently, or recklessly to prevent them from repeating their actions.

Attorney Fees and Court Costs

You can get these costs back if the insurer breaks your insurance contract or specific laws.

Other Damages

Interest: Added to what you’re owed during legal proceedings, at a rate of 18% per year plus 5% during the lawsuit.

Non-Economic Damages: Compensation for emotional distress, pain, and suffering.

Treble Damages: You might get three times the actual damages if the insurer knowingly acted in bad faith.

When Can I File a Lawsuit Against My Insurance Company for Negligence?

You can file a lawsuit against your insurance company for negligence when they fail to handle your claim properly. 

  • This could include not investigating your claim fairly, 
  • Denying a valid claim without a good reason, or 
  • Offering too little money for a claim that should be fully covered. 

If their actions cause you financial loss or emotional distress, you may have grounds to take legal action against them.

When Can I Sue My Insurance Company for Emotional Distress?

You can take legal action against your insurance company for emotional distress when their “unfair actions, like denying a valid claim without reason or treating your claim unfairly, cause you a lot of mental pain or suffering”. 

This lets you seek compensation for the emotional harm caused by their wrongful behavior.

Can I Sue My Insurance Company For Emotional Distress – Final Word

If your insurance company unfairly denies a valid claim or treats you unfairly, causing significant emotional distress, you may have grounds to sue. 

Emotional distress claims against insurers can be challenging, as they require strong evidence like therapy records or witness statements to prove the insurer’s actions directly caused your suffering. 

Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney who understands insurance laws is crucial to navigating this legal process effectively and ensuring your rights are protected. 

Remember, laws vary by state, so it’s essential to seek local legal advice to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Can I Sue My Insurance Company For Emotional Distress – People Also Ask

What is the most you can sue for emotional distress?

Emotional distress damages can vary depending on where you are and the specifics of your case. These damages are meant to cover mental anguish, pain and suffering, and other intangible losses caused by what an insurance company did. They can be a lot, but it’s hard to say exactly how much. The amount often depends on how bad the emotional distress is, how it affects your daily life, and what proof you have in court.

What is an example of an emotional distress lawsuit?

An example of an emotional distress lawsuit could be when a patient feels mental pain because a doctor didn’t follow the right medical steps, causing harm. Another example is when someone sees a loved one die because of someone else’s carelessness, leading to long-lasting sadness and pain. A car accident might also cause severe anxiety or fear of driving.

What are three ways in which an insurer can be liable for bad faith?

Insurers can be responsible for bad faith in three main ways. First, they might not act carefully enough, causing harm to the person they’re supposed to protect. Second, they could intentionally or recklessly cause emotional pain, like by denying a claim for no good reason. Third, they might act unfairly, going against their duty to be honest and fair, such as by not checking into a claim properly.

What is emotional distress damage?

Emotional distress damages are meant to make up for mental pain, suffering, and other hard-to-measure losses caused by an insurer’s actions. These damages can also include money you lost, costs for going to court, and lawyer fees. Sometimes, insurers are also punished with extra payments to stop them from doing the same bad things again.

What is proof of emotional distress?

To prove emotional distress, you need to show proof that backs up your claim. This can include medical records showing your mental pain, statements from people who saw what the insurer did to you, and a journal where you write down how you feel because of what they did.

Is suing for emotional distress worth it?

Suing for emotional distress can be a tough and long process. But if you have a strong case and want to get a lot of money for your mental pain, it might be worth it. It’s important to talk to a good lawyer who knows about these cases to figure out the best way to handle yours.

What is the worth of emotional distress?

The worth of emotional distress is hard to say exactly. It depends on how bad it is, how much it changes your life, and what you can prove in court. The money you could get might be a lot, but without knowing all about your case, it’s hard to give a number.

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  • Published on 13th July 2024 by breakingpronews Editor Team
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