Can You Sue for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident in Texas?
Car accident victims often sustain severe physical injuries and develop painful symptoms. Unfortunately, this is not the only thing they have to deal with.
Injured parties also go through overwhelming and distressing periods, as they must pay mounting bills and other expenses at the same time.
Additionally, many face mental health problems after car accidents, including psychological trauma, anxiety, and depression. That's why victims often wonder if they can sue for emotional distress in these cases.
Can people file an emotional distress claim in Texas after a car accident caused by someone else? Read on to find the answer.
What Is Emotional Distress?
The term "emotional distress" describes the mental anguish or suffering that victims experience after a traumatic event, such as a car crash caused by a negligent or reckless driver.
In this regard, emotional distress claims may fall into the following two main categories:
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
This type of emotional distress, known as intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), occurs when the at-fault party intends to inflict harm on another person.
Cases involving assault, nursing home abuse, or other criminal acts may be considered IIED. However, this type of emotional distress is not common, as only a few intentional or reckless acts may qualify.
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
Contrastingly, negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) is more common, as it may apply to different personal injury cases.
People who negligently inflict emotional distress on someone else have no intent to cause harm. Instead, it results from their negligent actions.
Emotional Distress Symptoms
Victims may experience different symptoms if they suffer emotional distress after a car accident caused by someone else. These are some examples:
Lack of energy
Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
Insomnia or other sleep problems
Unexplained pains or headaches
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Substance abuse problems
Aggression or other behavioral problems, especially in children
Withdrawal from activities or groups, including family
However, each case is different, and victims may experience one or multiple symptoms that do not appear on this list. Therefore, those who suspect they or their loved ones are experiencing mental suffering after a car accident should seek help and treatment from an expert.
Can Victims Sue for Emotional Distress in Texas?
Under Texas laws, a person involved in a car accident can only sue at-fault drivers for negligent infliction of emotional distress if they also sustain a physical injury.
In other words, injured parties do not file emotional distress claims as separate lawsuits but rather as part of personal injury claims.
Victims can recover compensation for emotional distress damages from personal injury lawsuits. Total recoverable damages often include remuneration for emotional and physical injuries and economic losses.
Plaintiffs must provide evidence for all damages, including mental anguish or other emotional injuries. These are a few examples:
Medical records and bills
Accident and injury photographs
Results of medical evaluations performed by experienced mental health professionals
Expert witness testimony
Victims could also keep a journal to log their daily symptoms or record notes about the car accident's impact on their lives. This can also help them remember essential details about the case.
Can Bystanders Sue for Emotional Distress in Texas?
In Texas, bystanders' actions are also recognized for an emotional distress claim. However, plaintiffs must meet the following criteria to qualify:
Be near the scene of the accident
Suffer emotional injury by directly observing the accident
Have a close relationship with the victim
However, proving bystander claims is even more challenging than winning emotional distress cases.
How Much Can a Person Be Compensated for Emotional Distress?
The amount of compensation victims can receive for emotional distress varies depending on each case's unique circumstances. Evidence is key. The jury will evaluate every detail to determine if the claim can be justified by the documents and evidence presented by the plaintiffs' lawyers.
Some victims may enter into a per diem agreement with responsible drivers. The compensation amount is calculated based on the distress the person suffered. It's defined through a dollar amount that is then multiplied by the number of days since the accident occurred until the treatment ends.
There's also the multiplier method, which is claim-based. The compensatory amount depends on the severity of the injuries, so financial damages are multiplied by a specific multiplier based on the victims' emotional distress.
If the multiplier method is used, people who suffer severe emotional distress can recover a higher compensatory sum.
However, as mentioned, handling and winning these cases is challenging due to Texas laws. Therefore, victims should consult with a seasoned personal injury attorney to choose the best method according to their cases.
Final Thoughts: Should Victims Sue for Emotional Distress?
Although emotional distress claims are challenging, each case is different. Ideally, victims should seek help from a legal expert to determine if they can file a successful lawsuit.
Car accident lawyers in Dallas TX can help victims determine if taking legal action against the parties responsible for the car accident is worth it or if there are other options for pursuing compensation.
Experienced attorneys can provide the guidance victims need to build a strong case, fight for their rights, hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions, and recover the compensation they deserve. They can also help with questions like How do you prove anxiety from a car accident in Texas?
In addition, car accident attorneys can help injured parties collect evidence to prove their claims and win their cases.
Call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Today!
At Schuerger Shunnarah, we're fully committed to helping car accident victims fight for their rights and walk through the challenging legal path to recover compensation. They have answers to questions such as Can you go to jail for a car accident in Texas?
We understand that emotional distress cases are tedious. However, our professional attorneys always go the extra mile to secure the best outcome.
Our personal injury law firm has a seasoned team of attorneys ready to fight for victims' rights under Texas law. We handle the following cases:
Anyone experiencing emotional distress after a car accident can contact us and get legal assistance right away. We go to war for our clients!