HomePersonal InjuryUnderstanding Emotional Distress Damages in a Texas Personal Injury Case

Understanding Emotional Distress Damages in a Texas Personal Injury Case

If you have suffered a traumatic event, such as a car accident, the physical wounds are often obvious: you broke a bone, or you suffered lacerations, bruises, burns or a concussion. In the most severe cases, you were rendered a paraplegic or had severe internal injuries. But often less obvious—and perhaps more insidious—are the emotional wounds. Those are the ones that cause sleeplessness, confusion, and mood swings that can make it difficult to hold down a job, go to school or maintain healthy relationships with friends and those you love. ­

What constitutes emotional distress damages?

First of all, “damages” in personal injury cases are compensation (money) paid to the person who has been injured or suffered harm because of the negligence, recklessness or illegal behavior of another. In Texas, emotional distress—or mental anguish­—falls into one of two categories: it is either intentionally inflicted or caused by negligence.

Examples of intentionally inflicted emotional distress include physical or sexual abuse, libel or slander, or threats of violence.

Perhaps more common is what is referred to as negligent infliction of emotional distress, or NIED. If you have ever been in a serious car accident, for instance, you may understand that it can be traumatizing. Generally speaking, however, it can be difficult to prove emotional distress in Texas unless you have also suffered physical injuries.

One interesting exception to that is when someone witnesses an accident, provided that 1) he or she was located near the scene of the accident, as contrasted with one who was a distance away from it; (2) suffered shock as a result of direct emotional impact upon the plaintiff from a sensory and contemporaneous observance of the accident, as contrasted with learning of the accident from others after its occurrence; and (3) was closely related to the primary victim of the accident.

Emotional distress damages are considered “non-economic” in that they don’t have an obvious effect on one’s general abilities, as would be the case with a physical injury. And because unlike physical injuries which are more easily quantifiable, Texas courts cap NIED damages.

Types of emotional distress may include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Fearfulness

Emotional distress damages depend on you and your attorney proving that your mental anguish is intense, that it is persistent and has been long in duration, that it is related to a physical injury, and that there is an underlying cause. Moreover, it will require documentation from a psychologist, psychiatrist or another qualified medical professional to support the claim.

Yes, you can get compensation for emotional distress, but you will need an experienced Texas personal injury attorney on your side.

Talk to us about how we may be able to help you get the best possible compensation for your emotional distress claim

We aggressively represent you when you seek emotional distress damages. Our goal is to help you get your life back, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. To discuss your situation, please call us at (281) 645-5000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly skilled attorneys.

Practice Areas

Client Reviews

THE RIGHT CHOICE

“I am a survivor of the March 23, 2005, BP explosion. Knowing my life had just been changed in an instant and not knowing what was to come was extremely unsettling. So when the time came to find legal representation, I chose Burwell Nebout personal injury attorneys from League City, Texas. Knowing they are from the Galveston County area made this an easy choice. Russ and Jimmy assured me they would do all things possible to help me and my family get through this most difficult time. Once again, I’d like to thank these men and their staff for their professional knowledge and guidance throughout those tough times. I know without a doubt I made the right choice.”

David Laymance
Santa Fe, Texas

LITIGATION EXPERTISE

“My company has faced disputes that require the litigation process to achieve resolution. I chose Russ and Jimmy to represent me not only for their ability to guide us through the process in a cost-efficient manner with the goal of resolution, but also with the comfort of knowing they have the skills and expertise to try the case.”

Will Watt
Friendswood, Texas

EXCELLENT WORK

“Thank you for the excellent work performed by you and your staff in helping our company each step of the way in our pursuit of seeking reimbursement from BP due to our losses from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The presentation of the facts as well as the unknowns with each turn of the roller coaster has been greatly appreciated. I cannot thank you enough for the work you put into this nor credit you enough for the polish and professionalism in the way you did it.”

Doug Vingoe
Houston, Texas

Case Results

Automobile Accident

$19.2 million

Two clients killed as a result of a special defect in the shoulder of the roadway. A state court jury trial resulted in a $19.2 million verdict.

Premises Liability

$10 million

Children that attended school on a former toxic dump site made claims for exposure injuries. $10 million settlement.

Liberty County Record Verdict

Record-setting verdict

Two high school seniors were on their way home on a stretch of road that had been the subject of repeated complaints to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) about the poor condition of the shoulder. When the students entered a curve, the poor condition of the shoulder resulted in a crash that killed one and severely brain-damaged the other. A trial against the Texas Attorney General’s office resulted in the discovery of altered records, a spoliation instruction, and a record-setting jury verdict for Liberty County.

Get In Touch With Burwell Nebout

There Is No Firm More Qualified to Fight for You!