727-381-9200

What is the Florida Impact Rule for Emotional Distress Claims?

If you have suffered from a personal injury, then you are already well aware of the mental and emotional stress that it can cause. In addition to physical injury, you may also be experiencing anger, fear, insomnia, and anxiety as a result of the accident as well.

Only a handful of states have what is known as an impact rule when it comes to claims of emotional distress. It is also widely known as the physical impact rule. If the plaintiff is seeking compensation for non-economic damages as a result of the accident, they also need to prove that the physical impact and emotional injuries have physically manifested in some way.

The Florida Impact Rule


This rule dates back as far as an 1893 Florida Supreme Court ruling in the International Ocean Telegraph Company versus Saunders case. This case has shown that emotional damages are very real events but are also intangible and difficult to prove. For this reason, they need to be tied to some kind of physical damage that can be proven.

More Clarification


The abolition of the Florida Impact Rule has been denied several times; however, there have been exceptions put into place instead. An exception to the rule exists when a plaintiff's family member is injured, and the plaintiff was at the scene of the accident, the emotional distress was the result of observing the accident, and the plaintiff and the victim were closely related. In addition, the plaintiff must also suffer from some kind of physical injury as a result of the emotional distress they experienced.

Calculating Emotional Distress Damages


There is no set formula when it comes to calculating emotional distress damages in a personal injury case. However, to collect and recover damages for pain and suffering, mental distress, and economic damages, you must be able to prove that the harm you have suffered is a result f the severity of the physical injuries you have sustained.

In Florida, there are limits on the emotional distress damages you can claim. To prove your claim, you need to submit adequate documentation and evidence proving your claims. This can include your own testimony regarding the accident and the extent of your emotional suffering, testimony from family and friends who may have noticed a change in your behavior or attitude, and testimony from a licensed therapist or psychologist.

In addition, you should also submit sufficient medical evidence when your emotional distress has manifested into physical symptoms and provide proof of medications your doctor has prescribed included anti-depressants and tranquilizers.

As you can see, claiming emotional distress can be a tricky process to navigate unless you are familiar with emotional distress damages and the Impact Rule in Florida. To help you navigate this challenging process, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for guidance..