Emotional distress is a significant psychological suffering or pain caused by another party’s negligent or intentional actions. In the context of healthcare, emotional distress can arise from various situations, including medical malpractice, negligence, or even gross misconduct by hospital staff. For example, if a hospital fails to provide the expected standard of care, leading to a traumatic experience for the patient, the patient may suffer from emotional distress. This distress can manifest as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other severe emotional conditions.

Suing a Hospital for Emotional Distress

Patients entrust hospitals with their health and well-being, and when this trust is breached, the emotional impact can be profound. It’s essential to recognize that emotional distress is a valid and actionable harm, and victims have the right to seek compensation. Emotional distress claims aim to provide justice and financial relief for the psychological suffering endured due to a hospital’s failure to meet its duty of care.

Legal Grounds for Suing a Hospital for Emotional Distress

To successfully sue a hospital for emotional distress, it is crucial to establish specific legal grounds. In Pennsylvania, emotional distress claims against hospitals typically fall under two categories: negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED).

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED):

NIED occurs when a hospital’s negligent actions cause emotional distress. For example, if a hospital misdiagnoses a condition or delays treatment, resulting in severe emotional trauma for the patient, this could form the basis of an NIED claim. To prove NIED, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the hospital owed a duty of care, breached this duty, and directly caused emotional distress as a result of the breach.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED):

IIED involves deliberate actions by hospital staff that are outrageous and intended to cause emotional harm. For instance, if a healthcare provider verbally abuses a patient or subjects them to unnecessary and painful procedures, this could constitute IIED. The plaintiff must show that the hospital’s conduct was extreme and outrageous, intentionally or recklessly causing severe emotional distress.

In both cases, documenting the emotional impact and connecting it to the hospital’s actions is vital. Medical records, expert testimony, and personal accounts can all play a crucial role in substantiating these claims.

Steps to File an Emotional Distress Lawsuit in Pittsburgh

Filing an emotional distress lawsuit against a hospital involves several critical steps. Here’s a detailed guide to help you navigate the process:

Consult an Attorney

Engaging a knowledgeable attorney experienced in emotional distress cases is essential. They can evaluate the merits of your case, gather necessary evidence, and guide you through the legal process.

Gather Evidence

Compile all relevant medical records, psychological evaluations, and any other documentation that supports your claim of emotional distress. Witness statements and expert opinions can also bolster your case.

File a Complaint

Your attorney will draft and file a legal complaint outlining your allegations and the basis for your emotional distress claim. This complaint initiates the lawsuit and formally notifies the hospital of your intent to seek compensation.

Discovery Phase

During discovery, both parties exchange information and evidence. This phase may involve depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents. It’s a critical step in building a strong case.

Settlement Negotiations

Often, cases are resolved through settlements before reaching trial. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement that compensates you for your emotional distress.


If a settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial. Your attorney will present evidence, call witnesses, and argue your case before a judge or jury. A successful outcome can result in a financial award for your suffering.

How Matzus Law Can Help You with Your Emotional Distress Claim

Matzus Law has a proven track record of advocating for victims of emotional distress in Pittsburgh. Our firm understands the complexities of these cases and is dedicated to securing justice for our clients. Here’s how we can assist you:

Expert Legal Advice

Our attorneys are well-versed in Pennsylvania’s emotional distress laws and can provide you with comprehensive legal advice tailored to your situation.

Thorough Investigation

We conduct detailed investigations to gather the evidence necessary to support your claim. This includes collaborating with medical experts, psychologists, and other specialists.

Strong Representation

Matzus Law is committed to representing your interests passionately and effectively, both in settlement negotiations and in court.

Personalized Support

We understand the emotional toll these cases can take. Our team offers compassionate support throughout the legal process, ensuring you feel heard and valued.

Contact Matzus Law Today

Matzus Law is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of emotional distress lawsuits against hospitals. If you believe you have a case, don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation.