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Mental Anguish Damages in Texas


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When you experience a traumatic event that leaves you emotionally scarred, it’s important to recognize the significance of mental anguish. When it’s due to a personal injury caused by the negligence of another, understanding mental anguish or emotional distress can help you seek proper legal support. Houston personal injury lawyer Greg Baumgartner will cover the definition of mental anguish and shed light on its profound impact on individuals’ lives.

A personal injury claim in Texas routinely seeks to recover mental anguish damages related to physical injury. An accident victim must prove mental anguish in a personal injury case to recover an emotional distress claim.

If you need a top-rated personal injury attorney in Houston, see how Baumgartner Law Firm can assist you during this challenging time.

Mental anguish damages in Texas

What are Mental Anguish Damages

The law in Texas recognizes mental anguish as a valid claim for compensation when it is caused by another party’s actions or negligence leading to injury, bodily harm, or distress. Seeking the assistance of a top-rated personal injury attorney specializing in mental anguish cases can help individuals find their legal options and seek justice for their suffering.

Mental anguish damages are non-economic damages. Meaning they are not easily calculated and are very subjective. An experienced attorney can help a jury understand the victim’s emotional distress to recover damages.

Understanding Mental Anguish Damages

Importance of understanding mental anguish:

Recognizing and comprehending the impact of mental anguish is crucial, as it can profoundly affect an individual’s well-being. Acknowledging this emotional suffering can provide support and resources for those experiencing distress or trauma.

Unlike physical pain, mental anguish primarily affects one’s internal state and requires a deeper understanding of emotions for effective treatment and support.

Difference between physical and mental pain:

While the physical manifestation of pain typically arises from injury or illness affecting the body’s sensory receptors, mental pain stems from psychological distress experienced in response to events or circumstances. With serious injuries, mental anguish caused by the injury and disability is frequently awarded by Houston juries.

Kinds of Cases Causing Emotional Distress Damages

Car Accident Victims

Physical injuries usually cause mental suffering or psychological pain. Personal injury claims after an auto accident can include pleadings the victim suffered mental anguish.

Severe Injury Cases

Catastrophic injury or severe injury almost always includes extreme mental anguish. Frequently, the mental anguish damages exceed actual economic damages. Sometimes, a mental health or medical professional will testify as an expert witness about a victim’s emotional distress. The more serious the injury, the larger the claim.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

The death of a family member is one of the most distressing events we will face in our lifetime. In a wrongful death case, emotional damages can be one of the larger elements of the loss.

Mental Anguish Defined in Texas

The legal definition of mental anguish in Texas is the following circumstances:

Implying a relatively high degree of mental pain and distress. It is more than mere disappointment, anger, resentment, or embarrassment, although it may include all of these. It includes a mental sensation of pain resulting from such painful emotions as grief, severe disappointment, indignation, wounded pride, shame, despair, or public humiliation.

Parkway Co. v. Woodruff, 901 S.W.2d 434 (Tex.1995)

Because physical pain and suffering and emotional distress damages are not visible, they require a top personal injury lawyer to present to the defendant and court. While economic damages, like lost wages, and other out-of-pocket losses are easy to prove, noneconomic damages are subjective damages.

Types of Mental Anguish Damages

Emotional distress:

Intense and prolonged emotional pain can manifest as anxiety, depression, or grief.

Psychological trauma:

  • A deeply distressing event or experience that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope and can lead to long-term psychological consequences.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):

  • A mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event causes symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety.

Effects of Mental Anguish

Impaired cognitive function is a common effect of mental anguish, resulting in difficulties with concentration, memory, and decision-making. This can hinder daily tasks and impair overall productivity.

Mental anguish can hurt relationships, leading to strained communication and emotional distance. Trust issues may arise due to heightened anxiety or fear, causing potential damage to personal connections.

Prolonged emotional suffering is often experienced because of mental anguish. Feelings of distress, grief, and depression can persist for an extended period, interfering with one’s ability to find joy in life and hindering the healing process.

Causes of Mental Anguish Damages

Causes of mental anguish damages

The most common cause of mental anguish is a significant personal injury case, such as a car accident, crash with an 18-wheeler, serious workplace or construction site injury, or other personal injury cases and wrongful death.

Wrongful death cases in Texas may include jury instructions on mental anguish like this:

“Mental Anguish” means the emotional pain, torment, and suffering experienced” because of the family member’s death.

Texas Pattern Jury Charge

Proving Mental Anguish in Texas

Proving mental anguish in Texas is difficult. In Texas, you must provide evidence of mental anguish, more than anxiety, worry, embarrassment, or anger. Mental anguish damages are frequently awarded in Houston when accompanied by a significant injury or after the death of a loved one.

Mental anguish is usually proven by testimony of the injured person, family, or friends. treating doctors can also testify about their patient’s mental state or observations made during treatment.

Personal injury attorneys can prove mental anguish by testimony from the victim, expert medical provider testimony, and medical records.

The Texas Supreme Court recently stated in Chohan v. Gregory that:

assigning a dollar value to non-financial injuries such as mental anguish or loss of companionship will never be a matter of mathematical precision.”

Texas Supreme Court, June 16, 2023

But held that “damages for a noneconomic injury must be grounded in the evidence to compensate the plaintiff for the injury.” Reversing a $15 million dollar verdict.

Reasons to seek legal help for mental anguish can include experiencing intentional emotional distress, suffering from severe anxiety or depression due to trauma, or enduring significant emotional pain and suffering due to the negligent actions of others. To recover mental anguish damages get the best injury attorney near you.

A personal injury attorney specializing in mental anguish cases can provide valuable assistance. The personal injury lawyer at Baumgartner Law Firm has the expertise to navigate complex laws and regulations surrounding mental anguish claims and can advocate for fair compensation for their clients.

When pursuing a mental anguish claim, taking certain steps is important. First, gather evidence supporting your case, such as medical records documenting your diagnosis and treatment for mental health conditions resulting from the distressing incident.

Next, consult a reputable personal injury attorney with experience handling similar cases. They will guide you through the legal process and help build a strong argument for your claim based on relevant laws about mental anguish.

Mental Anguish Claims Can Open the Mental Health Door

Often, defendants seek to obtain the mental health records of the person claiming mental anguish damages. However, just because someone claims mental anguish does not necessarily mean the defendant can get a mental examination or prior mental health records when the mental anguish stems from an intentional tort or injury.

The defense must show that the plaintiff put the condition “in controversy” to get a court-ordered examination by a defense doctor. That requires more than a claim for mental anguish from a family member’s serious injury or death.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Mental Anguish Claim in Texas?

Probably, a lawyer is necessary for a mental anguish claim. Although not technically required to have a lawyer, mental anguish cases are complex and often disputed by insurance companies and defense lawyers.

Hiring an attorney to help you with your mental anguish case is recommended to maximize compensation.

Contact a Preeminent Houston Personal Injury Lawyer at Baumgartner Law Firm for Help

For answers or help about a serious injury accident or loss of a family member in an accident, contact Baumgartner Law Firm in Houston. Call (281) 587-1111.

Baumgartner Law Firm

6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069

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