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The “Egregious Emotional Distress” Checklist

Attorneys who observe emotional problems and functional impairment often question whether

pursuing a claim of emotional distress is advisable.

While there are “garden-variety” and “significant” claims of emotional distress, cases involving “egregious” emotional distress often result in awards well over $200,000.

The following checklist is a "litmus test" to determine if you are experiencing egregious emotional distress. The more items endorsed, the greater the likelihood that you have such a claim.


❏ are struggling with anxiety, anger, and/or depression.

❏ are having difficulty functioning.

❏ have been experiencing physical/health problems since the event.

❏ have turned to a mental health professional for help.

❏ have faced an experience that was outrageous or shocking.

❏ are grappling with another person's or entity's negligent or intentional actions.

❏ are experiencing sleep or eating problems.

❏ feel frequent heart pounding/racing.

❏ have nightmares.

❏ have difficulty concentrating.

❏ are withdrawing from others.

❏ created a journal describing what happened.

❏ have little or no energy.

❏ have family, friends, and/or coworkers who can attest to the event(s).

❏ feel embarrassed and/or humiliated.

❏ have lost self-confidence.

❏ are struggling with chronic headaches.

❏ are experiencing chest pain or stomach pain.

❏ experience panic attacks.

❏ feel jumpy or easily startled.

❏ feel like a failure.

❏ have difficulty remembering what happened.

❏ were prescribed psychotropic medication.

❏ have incurred medical bills and/or out-of-pocket medical expenses.

❏ have lost wages.

❏ are experiencing chronic pain.

❏ have frequent periods of crying.

❏ struggle with feelings of guilt.

❏ have lost interest in sex.

❏ have pursued medical treatment.

❏ have experienced self-destructive ideation.

❏ turned to alcohol or illicit substances.

❏ have become agitated or violent.

❏ have frequent recollections of the event(s).

❏ have text messages/email where you described what happened.

❏ are struggling with “triggers” of the event(s).

❏ are experiencing flashbacks (i.e., feeling as if the event is happening again)

❏ have a loss of interest in activities that he/she enjoyed.

❏ are experiencing feelings of hopelessness.

❏ are hypervigilant (e.g., watchful, cautious, or on guard).

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