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The visible injuries from an auto accident are usually the most obvious ones, but the mental anguish and psychological suffering often last a lot longer.
In Texas, if you suffer an injury in an auto accident that was mainly the fault of a third party, you can seek compensation not only for your out-of-pocket medical expenses, damage to your vehicle and pain you suffered, but for psychological anguish too.
Claiming what you deserve can be challenging, though. Insurance companies frequently dig their heels in and downplay mental anguish because claims can be considerable. You generally need to present irrefutable evidence of mental anguish that forces them to pay up.
At the DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC, we will gather the necessary evidence, build your case, file the lawsuit, and manage the communications with the insurance company while you focus on recovery from your injuries.
In Texas, psychological pain is called mental anguish and it is treated as a separate issue from physical pain.
Mental anguish includes the injuries that nobody sees, except those living with you and who you are closest to.
While insurance company loss adjusters frequently attempt to trivialize the impact of mental anguish, its effects are real, can be long-lasting, and may warrant significant compensation.
Most people are familiar with the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is often used in military terms after soldiers return from battle.
A serious car accident can trigger similar psychological reactions in people, causing serious issues with sleep, maintaining work, and carrying out everyday duties. It may reduce the ability to function as before the accident. In short, the negative effects on the victim’s psychological wellbeing and quality of life can last long after the physical injuries have healed.
In Texas, you are within your rights to claim compensation for such psychological injuries after a car or truck accident.
Unfortunately, receiving what you deserve for your mental anguish is rarely straightforward. There are no x-rays, no physical wounds, and no photographs to demonstrate the serious psychological effects of the accident.
You will need to demonstrate to the court that your anguish extends beyond the normal worry, disappointment, resentment, embarrassment, anger, or other emotions that are considered “normal” after the trauma of an auto accident.
Insurance companies and even jurors may be skeptical of your mental injuries – especially if your physical injuries were relatively slight.
Many attorneys in Texas will only accept personal injury cases involving mental anguish claims if there is also physical pain and an injury resulting from the auto accident.
This is mainly because of Texas laws (outlined below) that make it difficult to win compensation for mental anguish without the presence of a physical injury. Proving that mental anguish is a direct result of an injury is considerably less challenging than if there is no physical injury.
For instance, it is not difficult to envisage how an eye injury that causes temporary or permanent blindness could also cause mental anguish.
However, mental anguish injuries are often challenging to prove unless you can demonstrate a clear consequence for the victim’s life – like the inability to work or the loss of consortium (sexual relations or normal family relationships).
Generally, to prove mental anguish in a Texas court, your lawyer will rely on the following evidence:
Claimants need to be wary of what they post on social media platforms at this time as it may harm your case against the insurance company if photographs or videos call into question the claims you have made about mental anguish. Insurance companies do check.
Under Texas law, you can claim for mental anguish separately from physical injury and pain. As explained already, your claim depends largely on whether the mental anguish is accompanied by physical injury.
With auto accidents, as you can see, it is almost impossible to claim for damages without physical injury because few accidents meet the criteria except in a case where “particularly disturbing events” occurred. An example might be a bystander or pedestrian being injured by a drunk driver but cases like this are rare.
There is no formula for calculating mental anguish in Texas.
Insurance adjusters usually offer little in this respect and, if the case goes to court, a judge will consider the evidence provided and may or may not award damages.
If a persuasive case is made for compensation for mental anguish, damages will be calculated based on how significantly you were affected mentally from your injuries and the precise circumstances.
This often requires strong external evidence from experts and careful presentation of medical records – elements of a case that personal injury lawyer, Ryan DeHoyos, is well-accustomed to presenting to judges in the Houston area.
Few personal injury cases are straightforward and mental anguish claims are amongst the most challenging.
With experienced guidance from Ryan DeHoyos, we can determine whether you have a valid case under Texas law. If so, we will help you understand the legal processes and build a case to maximize your claim.
Call DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC at (832) 789-6132 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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“I can’t say enough good things about DeHoyos Law! Mr. Ryan DeHoyos is extremely knowledgeable in his field of Personal Injury. I was injured in a motor vehicle accident last year and Mr. DeHoyos stopped at nothing to get me the compensation I deserved. He kept me updated on my case regularly and guided me to get the medical care I needed. Additionally, his staff is so kind and caring, especially Ashley… Thank you, DeHoyos Law for your professionalism in closing my case…and WINNING big!”