CAN I RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR EMOTIONAL DISTRESS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT? (HOW CAN I PROVE EMOTIONAL DISTRESS?)
Most personal injury claims arise from physical injuries that are caused by another person’s negligence. San Antonio accident lawyers will fight for your personal injury claim if a distracted motorist injures you, a neighbor’s dog attacks you, or a defective consumer item injures you.
Some accidents, and especially serious traffic crashes, also cause emotional injuries along with physical injuries. Can you be reimbursed for emotional injuries – or even mental illnesses – that are caused by an accident when someone else is negligent? What does the law in Texas provide?
If you’ll continue reading, those questions will be answered in this brief discussion of emotional injuries and personal injury law, and you will learn more about injury victims’ rights.
HOW DO PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS HELP ACCIDENT VICTIMS?
Personal injuries and financial losses are the damages most commonly sustained in a traffic crash, but some victims also suffer mental and emotional distress. Personal injury lawyers help accident victims acquire compensation for all of their damages, including emotional distress.
We all react differently to serious traffic accidents. One person may experience nightmares, while someone else may not experience any lasting emotional or psychological effects at all. An emotional injury after an accident may not be visible, but it can be extensive and damaging.
Without treatment or counseling, a victim of negligence may suffer accident-related emotional distress long after any physical injuries have healed. Here in Texas, if you file a personal injury claim for emotional damage, what will be required for your claim to succeed?
WHAT ARE ECONOMIC DAMAGES?
The injured victims of negligence are entitled under this state’s personal injury laws to full compensation for all of their accident-related medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Medical expenses include treatment and counseling for emotional as well as physical injuries.
In a legal sense, the compensation awarded to the injured victims of negligence falls into two categories: economic damages and “non-economic” damages. Economic damages are your calculable financial losses after an accident, including:
- all medical costs including hospital bills, prescriptions, doctor’s visits, and transportation to and from medical appointments
- lost income including lost wages and your lost or diminished future earnings capacity
- damage to personal property (which is not limited to vehicle repair costs)
WHAT ARE NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES?
Non-economic damages are the damages that can’t be quantified – the damages that you do not have receipts for. Nevertheless, attorneys and courts have established formulas that set a monetary value for non-economic damages including:
- physical suffering and pain
- personal emotional anguish, anxiety, and distress
- loss of your enjoyment or quality of life
- disfigurement and scarring
- a permanent disability or impairment
An injured victim of negligence will usually have a fistful of receipts for his or her economic damages, but it will be more difficult to prove that you’ve suffered non-economic damages.
The state of Texas allows juries in personal injury cases to use standard, accepted formulas to determine a final dollar figure for non-economic damages, but juries making these decisions may use any method and arrive at any figure they deem appropriate.
HOW IS A MONETARY FIGURE DETERMINED FOR NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES?
What factors should be considered when you determine an amount to request – or when a jury determines an amount to award – for non-economic damages including emotional damages? The answers to these questions must be taken into account:
- How has the accident and its consequences affected your daily life and your daily routine?
- Does your personal injury require you to have assistance while bathing and dressing?
- Has your personal injury caused a financial hardship, a missed career opportunity, or a lay-off or termination?
- Are you afraid to leave your home because you are terrified of a traffic collision or another type of accident?
Every accident and injury is different. If you struggle with emotional difficulties triggered by an accident that was caused by someone else, you must arrange at once to speak about your case and your options with an experienced and reliable Texas accident attorney.
DO EMOTIONAL INJURIES HAVE OBSERVABLE SYMPTOMS?
Accident victims express emotional injuries in numerous ways. They might not be able to hold a job, maintain friendships, or concentrate on important tasks. For some, emotional difficulties may not emerge for weeks after a serious accident.
Injury victims who are permanently or temporarily disabled may be dealing with eating or sleeping disorders, guilt, anguish, anger, depression, or fear of the future. Emotional injuries can linger indefinitely after someone has healed from physical injuries sustained in an accident.
A personal injury attorney can show how an accident and injury has caused you emotional suffering and distress – that is, your attorney can demonstrate how much you have suffered emotionally because of another person’s negligence.
HOW SHOULD YOU DEAL WITH EMOTIONAL DAMAGE AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
Emotional distress damages your life and your relationships. You are entitled by law to be compensated for emotional distress caused by another person’s thoughtless negligence. If you are suffering emotionally after a serious accident:
- Don’t miss any medical appointments. Strictly follow your doctor’s orders.
- Talk with a counselor or someone else you trust.
- Exercise. Stay active. Eat right. Get enough sleep – but not too much.
- Discuss your rights and options with a good personal injury lawyer.
Most injury claims in Texas are settled privately. Most victims don’t even have to appear in court. However, if your claim can’t be resolved privately, your accident lawyer may recommend going to trial and asking jurors to order payment of the compensation that you are entitled to.
WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE AFTER A SERIOUS ACCIDENT?
After any accident in this state, obtain medical treatment immediately. That’s the top priority. Then, if you were injured because someone was negligent, consult promptly with an experienced accident attorney who can explain how the law will apply in your own circumstances.
San Antonio accident lawyers offer injury victims a first legal consultation at no charge and with no obligation. If you move forward with a legal action, you will not pay an attorney’s fee unless and until you receive compensation in a settlement or a jury verdict.
If another person’s negligence is why you’ve been injured, get the medical help you need, get whatever psychological help you need, and do not fail to get the legal help you need. Compensation for emotional injuries is your right, but you must have a good attorney’s help.