Emotional damages are available to consumers for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. But, its up to your lawyer and you to develop these damages. Some courts have held that the testimony of the consumer is enough to prove these damages. Many other courts have refused to accept the “self serving” testimony of a Plaintiff. So whats a consumer to do?
If you are serious about obtaining emotional damages under your FDCPA or FCRA claims, you have to act quickly. Here is what I would recommend:
1. As soon as a possible, after you believe that you may have a claim for emotional damages, document how the incident has affected you. For example, have you lost sleep, lost your appetite (I wish), cried, fought more with your partner or spouse, shook, developed a nervous stomach.
2. Immediately start treating with a mental health professional. This person can by a psychiatrist, psychologist, psocial worker (sorry, I couldn’t resist). The point is that this mental health professional can document the mental trouble that you have suffered at the hands of the defendant.
3. Do NOT rely upon your self serving testimony at trial. Some courts will accept it and many will not. Indeed, even those courts that will accept your word for it, will view it your damages claim with far more skepticism than those that can hear your treating mental health professional testify as to the mental damages that you have suffered.
If you have any questions about this post or any other on this blog, please call or email me, Attorney Gary Nitzkin, toll free at 877-293-2882.