Being involved in a car accident is never a nice experience. It can leave you with physical injuries to recover from, mounting medical bills, loss of wages due to having to take time off work to recover, and other expenses, like fixing your car or buying a new one. Being involved in a car accident can also have a significant emotional toll, with many drivers and passengers suffering psychological trauma as a result. Being involved in a car accident can cause anxiety to set in, making it hard for you to drive anywhere in the future. In bad accidents, post-traumatic stress disorder is not uncommon. In some situations, injured victims in Texas can pursue compensation for the emotional distress that they have suffered as the result of a car accident.
What is Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress refers to the mental suffering that you experience after going through a traumatic event such as a car accident. There are two main types of claims that you can make for emotional distress.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress is when somebody acts in a way that is intended to cause somebody emotional distress. For example, this might be the case if you are robbed by a criminal, or subject to physical or psychological abuse. In general, this type of emotional distress claim is not as common, since there are only certain reckless or intentional acts that will qualify.
On the other hand, emotional distress for having to experience the mental toll of a crash, and physical injuries relating to it, is a more common occurrence and will usually apply to most types of personal injury cases including car accident cases. This refers to a type of emotional distress that the victim suffers due to the negligent actions of another party. In this case, the defendant does not have to have purposely set out to cause the victim emotional damage to be held responsible.
Symptoms of Emotional Distress
Emotional distress may manifest itself in several ways and each person is different. It is not uncommon for victims of emotional distress to have a range of symptoms. This can include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts. Victims often feel hopeless and helpless and may suffer unexplained headaches and pains. In some cases, victims may feel a lot of guilt about the situation. Eating disorders and/or substance abuse are also common symptoms of emotional distress.
There are other symptoms that may also develop, particularly in children. For example, a child who is suffering from emotional distress may have behavioral issues or their grades at school may be dropping with no known cause.
Another sign of emotional distress is withdrawing from socializing and activities that the person once enjoyed. This can happen in both adults and children.
Can You Sue for Emotional Distress?
In Texas, you can make a claim for emotional distress associate with a physical injury. You can file a lawsuit on the negligent infliction of emotional distress in Texas if you have also suffered a physical injury. Typically, an emotional distress claim will not be filed as a separate lawsuit and will be included as part of the personal injury claim.
The total damages that you are awarded will then account for physical, economic, and emotional injuries. This means that to get the maximum compensation you are eligible for, you will need to provide evidence of emotional distress.
In an emotional distress claim, some important pieces of evidence could include accident and injury photographs, medical records, doctors’ notes and medical bills, expert witness testimony, and results of medical evaluations carried out by mental health professionals.
You can also strengthen your case by keeping a journal to log your emotional distress and the impact of the accident on your everyday life, mental health, and overall wellbeing. A journal can not only be used as evidence to support your emotional injuries claim, but it can also be very useful for helping you remember essential details about how you felt and what you went through as it can take years for your case to end up in litigation.
The state of Texas also recognizes bystander actions for emotional distress. However, to qualify, the bystander must meet specific requirements. These include that they were near the scene of the accident at the time, they suffered emotional injuries due to directly observing the accident, they were closely related to the victim, and the victim had severe injuries. A bystander claim can be even more challenging to prove than a regular emotional distress claim, which is why it is highly recommended to hire a lawyer if you are pursuing a bystander action.
Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in a car accident that caused not only physical injuries but emotional distress and suffering that went on for long after the accident was over, then a car accident attorney can help you get the compensation that you deserve. At Karns & Karns Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys, we know that when you are involved in a car accident, the pain does not always end when your injuries have healed. And even being involved in an accident where your injuries are only minor and heal quickly can lead to serious emotional distress that lasts for a long time.
Perhaps you have been feeling depressed since the accident or have been suffering anxiety and flashbacks when driving that have led you to isolate yourself more and prevented you from going out to do the things you enjoy. Our team of lawyers are understanding and empathetic and will support you each step of the way to gather the evidence you need to put together a strong claim for emotional distress no matter the extent of your physical injuries.
Whether you had major or minor injuries, a car accident can lead to serious emotional distress. If you are filing a claim for your car accident and want to ensure that you get compensation for how the accident has impacted your mental health and wellbeing, get in touch with Karns & Karns Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys at 877-557-4221 for a free, confidential consultation.