For those experiencing emotional pain or emotional distress, the pain is as real as the pain from physical injuries. Car accidents can be especially traumatic events that can leave you with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other emotional pains. The sorrow of dealing with your own injuries, and the anguish from losing a loved one are very real. These may be compensated in a court of law.
The Dallas car accident attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm may be able to file your car accident lawsuit. This can lead to compensation you need for not only your physical trauma, but the emotional trauma as well. For a free consultation on your car accident case, talk to our attorneys today.
Damages for Emotional Suffering
Whenever you suffer injuries because of someone else’s bad or negligent actions, you might be able to take them to court. In a car accident case, there are four main elements you need to prove to win your case:
- The other driver owed you a duty (i.e. to avoid causing an accident by driving reasonably);
- The other driver breached that duty (i.e. by causing an accident through dangerous driving);
- That breach caused your injuries;
- You have injuries and other harms – called “damages” – that you can prove in court.
Included in “damages” is any financial, physical, and mental/emotional harm you suffer. This means that physical damage to your car could be included in damages, as well as compensation for medical expenses, direct compensation for pain and suffering, and compensation for your mental and emotional harms. In order to qualify, the damages must be a result of the car accident.
“Pain and suffering” is often thought of as one type of damages, but it may be separated out. Compensation for “pain” would mean payments to directly make up for your physical discomfort and pain response. On the other hand, compensation for “suffering” deals more with the mental anguish of dealing with injury. The mental impact of limb loss, spinal cord injury, or traumatic brain injuries can be severe.
Aside from this, you may also be able to recover for the emotional pain of losing a loved one. If your loved one died in a car crash you were not involved in, you might have a “wrongful death lawsuit.” Parents, spouses, and children of the deceased can recover compensation for the emotional pain of losing a loved one. Among other damages, this compensation can be substantial.
Emotional Trauma Lawsuit
There are two types of lawsuits that deal directly with emotional trauma: “intentional infliction of emotional distress” (IIED), and “negligent infliction of emotional distress” (NIED). To sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the actor must have done the following:
- Had the intent to cause emotional distress;
- Acted in some outrageous manner; and
- Caused you damages.
This type of lawsuit is rare, but could occur in a car accident. If the other driver’s “road rage” drove them to harass you and make you fear for your safety, and they caused a car accident, you might be entitled to sue for IIED.
Negligent infliction of emotional distress is recognized only in a very narrow set of ways in Texas. NIED occurs when someone causes you severe emotional distress by doing something to someone or something else. The best way to bring this type of lawsuit in Texas is if you were a bystander to the death of a loved one. If you witnessed your loved one die in a car crash, Texas may allow you to sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress. To accomplish this, you must prove that:
- You were involved in the accident or witnessed it from very nearby;
- You suffered emotional harm from seeing, hearing, and experiencing the accident while it happened; and
- The person who died was in your immediate family.
Note that this requires that you were there when the accident occurred. You cannot sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress if you heard about the death later. That distress would be included in a standard wrongful death suit, discussed above. This is likely only an option for those who were in the car with the decedent when the accident occurred.
Dallas Car Accident Attorneys
The Dallas car accident lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm help car accident victims recover from their injuries. If you are suffering emotional distress from witnessing the death of a loved one, you lost a loved one to an accident you were not involved in, or you are suffering from your own injuries, talk to an attorney. Money may not be able to reverse the harm, but compensation can help you move on. Our experienced attorneys offer free consultations on new cases, so call today at (817) 476-1797.