Being involved in an accident and/or sustaining a personal injury is a stressful event. As a result, injured parties may experience intense emotional distress. In some cases, emotional distress can be debilitating. 

Accident victims in Texas may seek compensation for emotional distress caused by a personal injury. However, suing for negligent infliction of emotional distress requires a physical injury.

What is Considered Emotional Distress in a Personal Injury Case?

Injured victims may sustain a variety of damages. Economic damages represent the person’s financial losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages are the “pain and suffering” experienced by the victim. 

Emotional distress is a type of non-economic damage. 

Examples of emotional distress include, but might not be limited to:

  • Depression
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Eating disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Substance abuse
  • Low energy or no energy
  • Sleeping too much
  • Guilt 
  • Embarrassment
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or suicidal thoughts
  • Constant worry or concern
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

Some people experience mild symptoms of emotional distress. However, an accident victim could experience disabling symptoms. They may be unable to work, care for their family, or participate in their favorite activities. 

In some cases, a person may need mental health treatment for signs of emotional distress. Treatment might include medications, counseling, therapy, and other treatment options. The goal is to manage the symptoms while treating the underlying condition.

Proving Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress in Texas

Negligent infliction of emotional distress can occur in an accident or personal injury. The person who caused the injury may not have intended to hurt you. However, because of their negligence, you sustained injuries and damages.

Negligent infliction of emotional distress may be related to a dog bite, construction accident, slip and fall, car accident, or other incidents. 

To recover compensation for emotional distress, you must prove the elements of negligence:

  • The person owed you a duty of care
  • The person breached the duty of care
  • The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of your injury
  • You sustained damages because of the breach of duty

Once you prove that the party’s negligent acts caused your injury, you can demand compensation for economic and non-economic damages. However, Texas only allows you to recover compensation for emotional distress if you sustained a physical injury due to the at-fault party’s negligent acts.

If you did not sustain physical injuries, you generally could not recover compensation for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

What Type of Compensation Can I Recover for Emotional Distress?

If you prove that you are entitled to compensation for emotional distress, you can receive compensation for damages such as:

Generally, the jury includes the compensation for emotional distress with the other non-economic damages. The total for pain and suffering includes emotional, physical, and mental suffering due to an accident and injury.

Can I Recover Compensation for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?

Victims may also seek compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress. But, again, you have the burden of proving that the at-fault party intentionally committed an act that caused you distress.

You might be able to recover compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress if you can prove:

  • The person’s conduct was intentional and reckless;
  • The person’s conduct was extreme or outrageous;
  • The person’s conduct caused you to experience emotional distress; and,
  • You suffered severe emotional distress.

Texas courts have held that this cause of action is only available when there is no other cause of action that could provide compensation for your emotional distress. 

Examples of cases that might give you the right to compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress include:

  • Physical assault
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Sexual assault 
  • Road rage

It can be challenging to prove that the person intentionally meant to cause you harm. Furthermore, it can be difficult to prove that you experienced emotional distress when you did not sustain any physical injuries. 

It helps if you have mental health records showing you were diagnosed with one or more disorders or conditions after the incident. Medical records showing you developed high blood pressure, insomnia, ulcers, chronic acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and other conditions related to stress can also help prove your case.

Speak with a Fort Worth Personal Injury Attorney For Guidance on Suing For Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

The best way to know whether you have a case for emotional distress is to talk with a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer. You might be able to prove causation and liability for a claim. Still, if you cannot prove physical injuries, you might not be entitled to compensation for negligent infliction of emotional distress in Texas. 

Most injury lawyers offer a free consultation, so verifying your legal options after an accident or injury does not cost anything. 

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.

Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 420-7000