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What Qualifies as Emotional Distress in a Personal Injury Case?

In a Texas personal injury case, not all injuries are physical. Many victims of unexpected accidents and acts of violence experience serious emotional distress following the incident. Emotional distress can make it difficult to go to work, spend time with loved ones, or engage in daily activities.

While emotional distress can have a significant impact on a victim’s life, proving it can be a challenging task. If you are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit and want to claim compensation for emotional distress, hiring an attorney can support your case. 

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress occurs when you experience harm to your mind and emotions as a result of another party’s actions. It can occur as a result of an accident or catastrophic event, as well as after an act of violence or abuse. 

Examples of emotional distress may include, but are not limited to, the following.  

  • Guilt
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety
  • Self-harm
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Feelings of hopelessness

The Types of Emotional Distress in Texas Lawsuits

A personal injury occurs when you experience harm to your body, mind, or emotions. Victims of personal injury in Texas have the right to pursue legal action against the parties responsible for that harm. By filing a lawsuit, victims can recover compensation for economic damages, such as medical expenses, and non-economic damages, which may include emotional distress.

The state of Texas recognizes two types of emotional distress in civil lawsuits: intentional infliction and negligent infliction.

  • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: When a defendant intentionally harms to a victim and the victim suffers emotional distress, he or she commits an act of intentional infliction. Examples of intentional infliction include death threats, physical assaults, and sexual abuse. 
  • Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: These instances occur when a defendant does not intend to harm the victim. However, the defendant does cause emotional distress as a result of his or her negligence. For example, people who cause car accidents, workplace accidents, or slip and falls may be liable for negligent infliction. 

How to Prove Emotional Distress in a Texas Injury Claim

Emotional distress can be challenging to prove in court. Unlike medical expenses or property repairs, no receipts or invoices are available to prove that you suffered non-economic losses. However, there are some pieces of evidence that you could leverage to support your case.

  • Journal entries that detail the emotional distress that you experienced following the incident
  • Receipts for any medications that you were prescribed to treat emotional distress, such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications
  • Your doctor’s referral for mental health counseling and any care that you may need to treat your emotional distress
  • Photographs or videos of the physical injuries or traumatic event that led to your emotional distress

These pieces of evidence can help establish your right to compensation for emotional distress. However, you will also need to prove that the defendant’s actions are responsible for this trauma and any other injuries that you experienced.

A Texas personal injury attorney can represent your case and help craft a compelling case for your right to recovery. As soon as possible following your injury, contact an attorney to identify your optimal path to compensation.