Suing a Hospital for Emotional Distress

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Suing a Hospital for Emotional Distress

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

When patients seek medical care, they place their trust in healthcare professionals to provide competent treatment. However, cases of hospital negligence are unfortunately all too common. Researchers estimate that hospital negligence is the third leading cause of death in the US. When hospital negligence occurs, it can leave victims not only with physical injuries but also with the heavy burden of emotional distress.

At Malman Law, we understand the devastating impact that hospital negligence can have on individuals and their loved ones. Unsure of where to turn, the emotional toll of such incidents can often lead to feelings of anger, anxiety, and profound sadness. Our team of hospital negligence lawyers will hold the responsible parties accountable and provide a sense of justice and closure. 

Read on to learn more about your legal options for pursuing emotional distress damages resulting from hospital negligence. 

Am I Eligible to Sue a Hospital for Emotional Distress?

Hospitals are bound by a set of professional standards and ethical guidelines when it comes to dealing with patients. If they fail to adhere to these standards, they can be liable for damages. However, you must be able to prove some elements to be eligible to sue the hospital for negligence:

Duty of Care

Hospitals have a legal obligation, known as a “duty of care,” to provide patients with a certain standard of medical treatment. This means that they must act reasonably and responsibly in the care they provide. To establish a duty of care, it must be shown that a doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the hospital. This relationship is usually formed once you seek medical care at the hospital.

Breach of Duty

To prove a breach of duty, you need to show how the hospital failed to meet the expected standard of care. This can occur through negligent actions, such as:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication mistakes
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Failure to communicate important information
  • Not obtaining informed consent
  • Failure to provide necessary follow-up care

If the hospital’s actions or omissions fall below the standard of care, there may be a breach of duty.


It is not enough to show that the hospital breached its duty of care, but you must also show how the breach caused the emotional distress you experienced. This means demonstrating that the hospital’s negligence was the primary factor that led to your emotional distress. Your attorney will help establish a direct relationship between the hospital’s actions or omissions and the emotional harm you suffered.


To pursue a claim for emotional distress, you need to show that you have suffered actual damages, such as medical expenses related to any physical or psychiatric treatment you needed as a result of the emotional distress, lost wages due to the impact on your ability to work, and the pain and suffering you endured. Your legal advocate will help gather documentation and evidence to support your claim for damages.

How Do I Prove Emotional Distress To Hold a Hospital Liable?

Emotional distress caused by medical malpractice can send your life south. Mostly, you may suffer deep depression and severe anxiety, making it impossible to live your normal life.

Firstly, you need to gather all relevant evidence demonstrating the impact of the emotional trauma on your life. This can include medical records, psychological evaluations, therapist or counselor reports, and statements from friends or family members who have witnessed your distress.

Also, you will need to consult with medical experts or mental health professionals who can assess your condition and provide objective opinions linking your emotional distress to the hospital’s negligence. Their expert testimony can significantly strengthen your case.

Your attorney can help you document the incidents that have caused emotional distress, such as instances of misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication mistakes, or any other negligent acts or omissions by the hospital. The more specific and detailed your records, the stronger your case will be.

Don’t fall for representing yourself in a medical malpractice case. This is because suing a hospital for emotional distress means you’re contending with a highly qualified professional. A medical malpractice attorney will assess your case and determine if you have grounds for a medical malpractice claim and the worth of your claim.

How Much Can I Sue a Hospital for Emotional Distress?

The amount of damages you can sue for emotional distress depends on the extent and severity of the emotional distress. Emotional distress damages usually fall in the category of non-economic damages, which means they will compensate you for intangible harm such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional trauma.

In Illinois, luckily, there are no caps for emotional distress damages. This means that the quality of legal representation will likely determine how much you will win as a settlement. Your attorney will evaluate the ways in which the emotional distress has affected your life as a result of the hospital’s negligence. That way, they will be able to calculate the value of your claim.

What Is the Statute of Limitation for Suing a Hospital for Negligence?

In Chicago, there is a two-year time limit for filing a lawsuit against a hospital for negligence. This period starts from the date when the injury occurred or was discovered. If negligence leads to the patient’s death,  740 ILCS 180/2 allows a timeframe of two years, beginning from the date of the patient’s death. There are several instances where the statute of limitations may be tolled, such as when the plaintiff is mentally incapacitated. It is in your best interest to hire a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer to help you understand your options.

Get a Case Evaluation From Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys for Your Emotional Distress Claim

Emotional distress due to medical malpractice can greatly ruin the victim’s life. However, you can take the important step towards obtaining compensation for your emotional distress, which is filing a lawsuit against the hospital in question. A hospital negligence lawyer from Malman Law will devise a strategy to fit your unique circumstances. We will closely evaluate your life to determine the impact of the malpractice and guide you through the legal process. With our proven track record of success, you can trust that we have the resources to help you reclaim your life. 

Contact us today to schedule your case evaluation.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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