Avoid Emotional Damages Claims Unless You Are Truly Badly Damaged.
Every week we get a call from someone who wants to sue somebody for pain and suffering, or so-called 'emotional damage'. As Denver business lawyers, we are normally litigating in areas such as partnership, securities, real estate, franchise and other commercial fields. So when emotional damages crop up, it is often in the context of hurt feelings, humiliation, stress and frustration proceeding from some breach of contract, or fraud, or other business claim. For instance, take securities fraud. An investment adviser puts you into unsuitable securities and loses your money, causing you to lose sleep and worry month after month. Certainly, you might feel that the emotional stress deserves some kind of compensation.
In the above situation, securities laws can aid in collecting as damages all of your lost monies, presuming you can prove your case. But getting compensated for the emotional damage is an entirely separate claim, and rests upon demonstrating 1) an emotional injury, 2) caused by the adviser, and 3) an amount of actual financial damage which has resulted. The adviser's first line of defense will be that he did not cause all of your stress, and shouldn't be blamed for all of it. His second defense will be any history in your medical background of nerves or stress or inability to cope with life, including all the times you have been to a therapist or shrink. His attorneys will argue that you had a preexisting condition and your stress existed long before the adviser came on the scene, thus proving it was not his fault. So be prepared to have your entire medical and psychological history laid out publicly for all to see, since you have put it into question by making an emotional damages claim.
Next, the Adviser's attorneys will show that you did not seek any medical attention this time, or engage the services of a psychiatrist, and they will argue that this proves you have not really suffered any serious emotional damage, or else you would have sought attention. After all, if you get hurt badly, you go to a doctor. Hence, if you do not seek attention, there is a strong inference that you are not very hurt. Finally, they will argue that your stress, if any, did not result in any financial loss since you did not expend any monies on medical attention or otherwise suffer a financial setback from the alleged stress. As you can see, adding the emotional damages claim opens an uncomfortable, costly, and possibly embarrassing series of developments in a case, which will be expensive for you to litigate and will likely not result in any additional damages payments, unless that is, you really have checked yourself into an asylum or suffered some grievous and verifiable emotional injury. In most commercial matters, it is best to leave pain and suffering claims out of the case. The courts and laws simply don't exist to help you get compensated for the emotional irritations in life. Many attorneys will not tell you this, but rather will sympathize and be willing to take your money to pursue a rather weak claim. We prefer to tell you from the get-go that these claims are usually weak, awkward to prove, expensive, and often embarrassing. Smart litigants generally leave them out of a good business case.