Can I Sue for Verbal or Emotional Abuse?
In most jurisdictions when a defendant intentionally inflicts emotional or verbal abuse on a plaintiff, the plaintiff can sue and recover damages for the emotional pain and suffering they endured as well as for physical problems caused by the abuse. The legal theory used in these cases is “intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED).” Note that only conduct that goes beyond all possible limits of decency and is seen as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community would fall under IIED and that intentional actions are not covered by insurance; as a result, these types of cases are rare.
Can I sue for emotional abuse?
In some cases, people who have suffered serious trauma because of verbal or emotional abuse inflicted on them by another may be able to sue for emotional abuse. The attorney will need to prove the following four elements:
- The defendant acted intentionally and recklessly
- The defendant’s actions/behavior was “extreme and outrageous”
- The actions/behavior caused harm
- The harm could be considered “severe”
A local attorney will know the particular language and requirements for this type of lawsuit in your state as well as how state courts interpret relevant laws. If you have been harmed by emotional or verbal abuse, contact an attorney who can discuss your legal rights.
What is emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse is when a person imposes behavior or language that can cause psychological trauma or even physical symptoms for the victim. Examples include making false statements, slander or forcing a person to see disturbing or negative images or behavior. Emotional abuse is a common type of abuse in romantic relationships; a partner who chooses to end a relationship may be especially vulnerable to emotional abuse.
What is verbal abuse?
Verbal abuse is when a person uses strong language to criticize, insult, bully or cut-down another person through a verbal attack. With simmering anger and hostility, the attacker uses this damaging type of communication as a way to hurt the self-concept of the other person and produce negative emotions. While anyone has the capacity to be verbally abusive at times of extreme stress or pain, for some it is a pattern of behavior used with the intention of controlling or manipulating another person or as a form of revenge. Victims are at risk of developing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and stress-related illnesses.
Emotional and verbal abuse may not leave physical scars but they can be just as damaging as physical abuse because of the emotional pain, mental anguish and physical symptoms that they create.
Emotional abuse and family law
Many family law cases have an emotional abuse component partly because emotional abuse often intensifies as the romantic relationship is ending. Courts often consider emotional abuse when deciding whether or not to issue a restraining order. If you are being verbally or emotionally abused while going through or just after divorce proceedings then a family law attorney may be able to help with a restraining order or other appropriate relief from the court.
If you are going through a separation or divorce and are experiencing emotional or verbal abuse, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced Family Law attorney fight for your right to be safe. Call the caring, experienced Family Law attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County since 1979.