How to Calculate Mental Anguish Damages

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Mental anguish is psychological suffering. It can be caused by an event, such as a person pointing a gun to your head or by witnessing someone else being killed. Mental anguish may be also triggered by a series of events. It can be inflicted by a stranger, an enemy or a loved one. Victims of mental anguish may be awarded compensation by a judge if they are able to calculate and prove damages.

Step 1

Obtain a lawyer. You will need a lawyer to formally file a lawsuit against the company or the person who inflicted the mental anguish upon you. Discuss the event in detail with your lawyer and provide them with any proof or documentation of the incident.

Step 2

Determine if the guilty party had foreknowledge that the event would result in mental anguish. Look at the intent of the guilty party: Did they want to harm you? Did they know that the event would hurt you? Did the timing of the event occur prior to an important occasion, such as a wedding or a political campaign? Examples of the guilty party displaying foreknowledge might be laughing in your face or sending a taunting text message following the event.

Step 3

Determine the duration of the event that caused the mental anguish. Was the event momentary---quick and brief---such as someone pointing a gun to your head? Was the event long-term? For example, did the guilty party stalk you? Did they harass you on the phone? Did you have nightmares as a result of the mental anguish?

Step 4

Determine the severity of the mental anguish. Was the event coupled with emotional imbalances, such as anxiety, fear or depression? Was the mental anguish compounded with bodily harm, such as sexual assault or injured body parts? In addition, look for any significant loss of livelihood, such as job loss.


  • Do not lie or exaggerate your mental anguish or the judge may reduce any damages that you were awarded.


  • Keep records of any pictures, emails or text messages that you received from the guilty party.