Emotional distress is a very real outcome for a victim injured in an accident. The thoughts that immediately race through your head in an accident can cause fear and anxiety, while consequences such as your physical injuries can impact you emotionally for days or weeks to come.
In Texas, you have the right to seek financial compensation not only for the medical costs of a physical injury after an accident, but also for your emotional trauma. Find out how to prove emotional distress during your personal injury claim for a fair financial award.
Seeking Emotional Distress in an Injury Claim
First, it is worthwhile to note that a plaintiff in Texas can generally only recover compensation for emotional distress if he or she also has a physical injury. Physical injuries are often what cause a victim emotional distress in the form of mental anguish, physical pain, discomfort, disabilities or permanent injuries, lost quality of life, and loss of consortium. It is much more challenging to file a claim for emotional distress only.
However, it is possible if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant exhibited particularly outrageous, egregious or grossly negligent actions that caused the emotional distress. If the defendant intentionally or maliciously inflicted emotional harm, for example, it may be possible to bring a claim even in the absence of a physical injury. You may need a lawyer to help you bring this type of claim.
Keep an Injury Journal
One of the best ways to express emotional distress to a judge and jury is in your own words. After a traumatic accident, start keeping an injury journal where you write down your thoughts and feelings. Express how you felt during the accident, while it is still fresh in your mind, as well as how your injuries have impacted you. Include comparisons between how you used to feel prior to the accident and how you feel now. Documenting your mental and emotional journey in writing can establish your anxiety, fear and depression after an accident.
Get an Official Diagnosis
Although you can seek compensation for emotional distress without an official medical diagnosis, medical documents from a professional can serve as strong evidence in your favor. See a psychologist or therapist about your feelings after an accident. You may have a mental health condition that can be diagnosed, such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. These are common mental health conditions after a serious accident or traumatic event. You can use medical documents as evidence later. Your doctor may even be able to testify in court on your behalf.
Have Friends and Family Testify
The people who are closest to you have most likely noticed how you’ve been emotionally impacted by an accident. Having your friends and family officially testify as to how you’ve been acting, behaving and feeling can help you prove the accident has affected you. Personal testimony of your own about the severity of the accident and your injuries can also help. Testimonies can help a jury understand how you’ve changed since the accident.
Supplement Your Emotional Distress Claim With Injury Evidence
If you are seeking compensation for emotional distress alongside a physical injury claim, supplement your case with medical evidence of your physical injuries. Bring medical documentation such as diagnostic reports, test results, x-rays, treatment plans and notes from your doctor to prove the severity of your physical injuries. Medical evidence can establish the existence, severity and duration of your injuries, establishing the reason for your emotional distress.
Work With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Emotional distress is a common type of loss claimed in a personal injury lawsuit under the umbrella of pain and suffering damages. Securing fair and full compensation for emotional distress, however, may take assistance from an attorney. Hire a personal injury lawyer in Dallas to represent you for the best chances of a successful claim. A lawyer will have the experience, knowledge and resources to help you prove emotional distress.