If you have suffered stress and discomfort because of somebody else, then you may be able to make a claim for emotional distress.
However, emotional distress is often one of the most difficult injuries to prove. That’s because unlike bruised ribs or a broken wrist, there is often nothing physical to prove that the victim has been injured. As a result, the level of evidence available to support emotional distress claims is usually far less than with a regular, physical injury.
But – and this is a big but – you should not be dissuaded from pursuing compensation under the circumstances, because the law is on your side. For those of you who are considering pursuing a claim for emotional distress, here’s how to make your claim stronger:
- Collect and save any evidence you have:
Sometimes, abuse does not come in the form of face-to-face communication. Some people can be sent hate mail, or they can be bombarded with threatening letters, emails, text messages and social media posts. Whenever you receive one of these, even if it is posted as anonymous, you should save it for your records. In addition, if you have managed to record an altercation or abuse on video or through audio only, save this and keep it in a safe place, because it is this kind of evidence that will build you a very strong claim.
- Ask for witness statements:
If you have ever been abused in front of people you know, ask these people to write a witness statement for you. In particular, ask them to describe how you have been treated by this person and what happened on the day in question. Also ask them to write a character assessment for you and the accused, because this can help your lawyer to form a clearer picture of the kinds of people they are dealing with. Witness statements can be written by friends and family or by bystanders, so long as they are truthful.
- Report everything to the police:
If you are being harassed or abused by somebody, then you should report every incident to the police for your own safety. The police take emotional and physical abuse extremely seriously. Having a police file with your name on it will also help your claim, because your lawyer may be able to get access to a copy of any police reports. These are hard pieces of evidence which will help to build you a strong claim for emotional distress. But above all else, having the police on your side will give you strength and the police may also be able to refer you to a counsellor or another form of support to help you.