top of page

Emotional Distress Claims: A Guide for Attorneys

Proving and Disproving Claims of Egregious Emotional Distress

By Mark D. Lerner, Ph.D.

Clinical & Forensic Psychologist

When engaging a mental health expert for emotional distress claims, it’s essential to identify a professional with extensive experience specializing in evaluating both plaintiffs and defendants. Their expertise can provide a balanced and objective perspective, which is crucial in these cases.

For Plaintiffs

A Forensic Psychological Evaluation is critical in establishing the veracity of the claim. This evaluation incorporates a clinical interview and empirically based objective psychometric testing, bolsters its reliability and validity. Including specific forensic measures aimed at detecting potential malingering or feigned symptoms further enhances the credibility of the evaluation. These measures can help differentiate between genuine emotional distress and attempts to exaggerate or fabricate symptoms for personal gain.

For Defendants

On the other hand, defense attorneys often face claims of emotional distress that lack substantial evidence. These claims may appear burdensome and seemingly frivolous, but they can significantly impact their clients’ credibility and reputation. However, defense attorneys can effectively counter such allegations with meticulous Psych Record Reviews and comprehensive Forensic Psychological Evaluations. These strategies can help identify inconsistencies, discrepancies, and other reasons the defendant may be struggling—providing a solid foundation for the defense.

Additional Considerations

It’s also important for attorneys to understand the potential long-term impact of egregious emotional distress. These can include ongoing mental health problems, loss of income, and reduced quality of life for the plaintiff. Therefore, attorneys should consider these factors when determining the appropriate compensation for emotional distress.


Handling emotional distress claims efficiently and effectively requires a thorough understanding of the psychological aspects involved, as well as a strategic approach to gathering and presenting evidence. By leveraging the expertise of a clinical and forensic psychologist and utilizing comprehensive evaluation tools, attorneys can ensure they are well-equipped to handle these complex cases.

For additional insights on efficiently and effectively handling emotional distress claims, please visit


bottom of page