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
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
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
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic insomnia
- Suicidal thoughts
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.