Can You Sue Someone for Causing Stress?

Feeling stressed is a horrible feeling, isn’t it? There are many things that can cause stress, work, studying, illness, and sometimes there is someone who causes you stress.

Perhaps an employer is piling on the pressure, a family member is causing a lot of stress, or a neighbor is tormenting you?

Stress is genuine, and its implications on your health can be detrimental. So, can you get retribution, and can you sue someone for causing stress?

Stress and emotional distress?

You can sue someone for stress, but the word stress may not be used in the case.

Phrases such as emotional distress or mental anguish may be used, broad terms that stress falls under. You will likely sue for stress on the grounds of emotional distress. In some states, it will be referred to as mental anguish.

Generally, this is defined as a psychological injury that is non-physical. The words are used interchangeably depending on the state you are living in. If you are unsure, an attorney can advise you further.

Often, stress will be part of a larger case, such as if you were suing an employer on the grounds of unfair dismissal, you could also sue for the stress caused by this, like financial stress.

However, you can also sue for stress or emotional distress as a separate entity. Let’s take a closer look at how you would build a compelling case.

Can you sue someone for causing stress


When suing on the grounds of stress, it’s essential to consider any symptoms or side effects caused by the stress.

Think about how you felt at the time of great stress or distress. Common symptoms include humiliation, insomnia, anxiety, stress, depression, self-destructive thoughts, or any other emotional response.

As these symptoms are non-physical, they can be challenging to prove. It is always worth seeking professional help in any capacity if you are suffering from stress. Logging it with HR at work, seeing your local doctor, or a therapist are all viable avenues to explore.

A paper trail of stress can be very beneficial when suing on the grounds of stress to chart the experience and show the implications it has had on your life.

Before You Begin

Before beginning your case, it is always worth considering a few factors to ensure that you are not putting yourself through additional stress that will not result in a successful case.

Consider the statue of limitation on the case, if there is any? How long ago was the stress caused, or are you still suffering? If it has been a while, it is worth outlining any long-term ramifications that have been caused by the stress such as job loss or financial losses.

Has there been any physical pain such as migraines or ulcers? If there has been physical pain recorded proof of this is always a welcome addition to the case. It is at this point where medical records are a valuable asset.

As we mentioned earlier, medical records are a great way to prove that you have suffered as a result of stress. It is worth speaking to a medical professional to discuss your stress and how it is manifesting so they can chart any psychological effects you have suffered from.

It is also worth considering whether the stress was caused intentionally or negligently. Negligently caused stress would mean that the person who caused your stress did so as an accident or unintentionally.

Perhaps they failed to put a system in place at work which led to your stress? Or they acted carelessly and without realizing the situation has left you in a great deal of turmoil?

Intentional stress would be caused if the defendants actions are classes as intentional or reckless. An example of this would be if you are threatened with physical violence if you do not comply with a task, this would be a clear cause of emotional stress.

Other examples would include during custody cases when parents are withheld access to their children without valid reasons. There would be intentional stress caused in this instance to the parent denied access to their child.

In some states you need to have an accompanying physical injury to sue for stress or emotional distress. An attorney in your state can further advise whether you will need to do this or not if you are unsure. If you do need physical injuries as well, it is vital that you contact a doctor to gather evidence.

How much could you get?

When suing for stress or emotional distress the cases can often be viewed as non-economic damages, but you can still make some money from the case should you be successful.

You can win financially on the grounds of any out-of-pocket losses, such as medical expenses or loss of wages if you were unable to work. Where possible, records of this such as sick papers or notes from your doctor will be helpful to show the judge and jury the total losses.

It is worth noting that in certain states previously mental health problems cannot be brought up unless they have already been brought up by the plaintiff. It is worth strongly considering whether any prior mental health documentation will help or hinder your case.


Now that you know you can sue on the grounds of stress, let’s consider whether you should seek representation in court. We would recommend that you speak to an attorney before filing the case to ensure there is enough evidence.

Often, lawyers will only take a case if it is worth pursuing, so be sure that you have a compelling case with evidence that can be taken seriously. These cases can be complex and challenging, evidence will only help you.

Final Word

Before you leave today, let’s recap quickly. You can indeed sue for causing you stress. It is not always a straightforward process, and the best way to be successful is with documented proof that you have suffered stress.

Remember to seek as much medical proof as possible, and consult a lawyer as the rules vary state by state. 


Thank you for visiting. This website is for informational purposes only. None of the information provided is intended to constitute, nor does it constitute, legal advice, and none of the information necessarily reflects the opinions of Misty Rock Capital LLC dba or anyone associated, employed or affiliated with Misty Rock Capital LLC dba