A website that looks authoritative notes:

Think carefully about how much money to ask for. This is called damages. You have to prove to the judge that you deserve the money you ask for. You can only get a judgment for what you can prove. Prove your claim by using:

Canceled checks,
Professional estimates of damage,
Your statements,
and Your witness testimony

What are the solutions for getting "Professional estimates of damage" in those cases of non-bodily damage, for example anxiety, distress, suffering, and the like?

If it matters, the plaintiff is an individual and the defendant is an organization.

How do typical people (who are not too rich) normally solve this problem?

And importantly, How do the indigent and people who cannot afford any upfront payment go about solving this problem the poor-man's way? 1

(Other than just putting it as "$10,000 for distress [total for the past x days/months] since $10,000 is max" and going to court that way.) (For I believe if you must put in a number between $1-$10,000 anyway, putting in $1 would be a far worse alternative than putting in $10,000.)

1: Of course, assume the hardship is indeed very real regardless of whatever available evidence/documentation there is to it, which is why the lawsuit must be filed, regardless of whether justice can prevail.
  • Presuming the person filing a lawsuit would hire an attorney, wouldn't the attorney be the "expert" on these matters? Feb 24 at 21:47
  • 1
    @MichaelHall, presuming he's not hiring.
    – Pacerier
    Feb 25 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


Expert witnesses

You pay a relevant professional, say a psychologist, to examine the plaintiff, write a report, and give evidence at the hearing.

If you can’t afford to pay an expert, that’s unfortunate. You may find one willing to work for free, or you may have a lawyer working on contingency who pays the expert and takes the risk, or you try to win without expert testimony.

  • "try to win without expert testimony" meaning?
    – Pacerier
    Feb 25 at 23:00
  • This means you'll probably lose. The legal system is scrupulously fair - it provides a level playing field where those who bring their best game are far more likely to win than those who don't. It's like professional sports like baseball - the rules are the same for everyone, and everyone is allowed to bring all the best talent they can afford. So the N.Y. Mets send $353 million on that talent, and Oakland spends $57 million. Totally fair and transparent.
    – Dale M
    Feb 25 at 23:15
  • I mean.. what is its alternative? How to do so without expert testimony?
    – Pacerier
    Feb 26 at 11:57
  • You could claim a figure you arrived at by some kind of calculation based on other previous cases, essentially taking the time to develop the relevant expertise yourself, or in your lawyer. But it kind of boils down to what a jury or judge will find persuasive, and there is no mechanistic way to reliably make a more persuasive case than the other side despite having no resources to use to prepare it. You are left with: genuinely be in the right and hope that that is correctly recognized despite being communicated poorly.
    – interfect
    Feb 26 at 18:59

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