The phone calls come at all hours of the day. Not only do the phone calls put you on edge, the debt collector on the other end often makes threats or uses abusive language to get you to pay off a debt owed to an original creditor.
Eventually, the debt collector inflicts enough emotional distress to impact your career and family life negatively. Fortunately, federal law protects you against debt collectors that cause emotional distress.
Introduction to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Passed in 1977, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from threatening consumers or using abusive language in attempt to collect debts. The FDCPA also penalizes third party debt collectors that deceive consumers into paying debts not owed or paying more than the amount owed.
Violations of the FDCPA can cost debt collectors in court, as the landmark law permits statutory damages up to a maximum of $1,000, as well as actual damages that do not have a monetary cap.
As part of the actual damages awarded in FDCPA cases, proving emotional stress requires the experience and expert litigation skills of a licensed consumer protection law attorney.
What is Emotional Stress?
Unless you hire an experienced consumer protection law attorney, proving emotional stress can be difficult to do during a lawsuit alleging violations of the FDCPA. Emotional distress can involve physical harm, but physical harm does not have to be present to suffer from emotional distress.
For example, repeated phone calls during the middle of the night from a third party debt collector can cause fear and anxiety, which are two common emotions that distress people. It does not matter if a third party debt collector caused emotional distress accidentally or on purpose.
What matters is if your attorney can approve emotional distress during litigation.
Medical Proof Required for Emotional Distress
For consumers to win actual damages for emotional distress, they must present physical evidence that debt collector actions caused the emotional distress. Phone records get the legal ball rolling by demonstrating the abusive tactics used by a debt collector calling at all hours of the day.
However, to prove emotional distress as defined under the FDCPA, consumers must present medical documents that confirm physical injuries and/or mental torment. For mental anguish, you need to have a psychologist make a sworn statement that confirms emotional distress.
Otherwise, you have to rely only on your sworn statement. In most FDCPA court cases, judges award non-physical damages proven by evidence presented in an objective manner.
The combination of medical analysis and personal statements pack a powerful one-two punch for proving the emotional distress caused by a third party debt collector.
Licensed consumer protection law attorneys are not only helpful for proving emotional distress, they are also helpful in getting clients the amount of actual damages they deserve.
Complete the free evaluation form to learn more about how an attorney can help you prove the emotional distress caused by a third party debt collector.