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Can I file a lawsuit for emotional distress leading to physical injury (miscarriage)?

Los Angeles, CA |

Hello. For the past three years, I have been trying to collect on a promissory note from my ex-fiance. The amount constitutes the bulk of my life savings. He led me on with a number of lies to make me think repayment was right around the corner. When I pushed him harder, he'd threaten to file Chapter 7 and nullify the note. After finding out I was pregnant and catching him in a number of new lies, I flew to San Diego to confront him and get the truth about the money since I was going to be a mother. He paid for my ticket but left me stranded at the airport. I had to put my luggage on a bus and drive to Los Angeles. He met with me reluctantly the next day and gave me a new round of lies, stressing me further. I felt like I had a knot in my chest. I couldn't eat. I miscarried a week later.

I have a lawyer and we are settling with him on the financial front. I am getting pennies on the dollar obviously. My question is really geared toward damages accruing from my miscarriage. I am aware that the hardest part would be linking the miscarriage to stress as there are many causes of a miscarriage in the first three months and the medical community cannot identify each cause at this point. Nevertheless, if an attorney thought that the extreme nature of the intentional stress that was put on me by this individual was "malicious" enough to contribute to a likely factor in my miscarriage, would I therefore have a case? I hope this makes sense.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. I am so sorry for your awful experience with this person and for the loss of your baby. You are correct that miscarriages in the first three months of pregnancy are very common, so what you would really need is for your treating doctor or a medical expert to be prepared to testify that the miscarriage was reasonably medically certain to have been caused by the stress caused by your ex's wrongful conduct. You should see an experienced personal injury attorney right away and see what their thoughts are on the case. You need to make sure you didn't waive any of your claims by anything you may have signed previously? The other consideration is what will you be able to collect on in the future from your ex? Will it even be worth pursuing him in a costly legal case if you realistically will never be able to collect anything from him in the end, so you need to find out what assets he may have as a part of your analysis? Good luck and take care of yourself.

    Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.


  2. Other attorneys may feel differently, but breach of contract as the basis for a claim for emotional distress will be almost impossible.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  3. The quick answer is yes you can file a suit. The long answer or big picture rather, is can you prove your case with substantial medical evidence? Also when settling your financial matter make sure you are not releasing this potential claim


  4. Sounds like a tough road to hoe. Have a local malpractice lawyer order your medical records to review.


  5. I am sorry for the sad situation and wish you the best. Taking the other attorney comments to heart, it would appear to be a tough battle to prove the nexus between the collection action and the physical injury, and you will have the burden of proving that they are related. I would advise you to contact an attorney who might look at the matter from a standpoint of his intentional infliction of emotional distress for the actions in San Diego rather than from the collection matter.

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