You can sue for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or emotional distress after a car accident here in Texas as long as it was caused by the crash. At Crowe Arnold Majors, LLP, our team of Dallas car accident lawyers has seen that it is not just the drivers and passengers who may suffer– bystanders who witnessed the collision may also be affected.

One of the categories of damages available in a car accident claim is pain and suffering. While we traditionally think of physical injuries as the worst repercussion of a car crash, the mental anguish that victims suffer from can be just as excruciating, if not more so—and is part of the legal definition of pain and suffering.

How Do I Know if I Have PTSD?

Unlike a broken leg or a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PTSD is not as easy to diagnose. Some of the common symptoms associated with PTSD include the following:

  • Frequent flashbacks or nightmares about the accident
  • Severe distress
  • Avoidance of places, people, activities, or things that remind you of the crash or avoid discussing or even thinking about it. Examples of this could be that you refuse to drive a car, refuse to go on the highway, or unable to return to work because the crash occurred while you were en route.
  • Relationship difficulties, despair, loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, feeling detached, or feeling numb
  • Trouble sleeping, trouble eating, trouble performing your everyday tasks either at home or work, difficulty concentrating, irritability, extreme guilt, paranoia, or being easily startled or scared
  • Thoughts of harming yourself
  • Physical pain
  • Becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications to dull the emotional pain

Common Damages Associated with PTSD

Like many injuries or illnesses, some cases of PTSD are more severe than others and can impact the victim for years. This can significantly impair the quality of life, and the legal system here in Texas recognizes that and is built to compensate you for those damages. Some of the potential damages associated with PTSD include the following:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Medical and mental health bills
  • Prescription drug costs

What is Emotional Distress?

In addition to PTSD, emotional distress is another form of mental anguish. There are two types of claims that you may file following a car accident: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED). IIED claims are rarer in car crashes, as the other driver must have possessed the intent to cause you distress and must have acted outrageously—however, this could occur in some road rage accidents.

NIED, on the other hand, is more common. In one common manifestation of these cases, you may recover financially if you witness a loved one die in an accident while you were in the car. Note that it does not cover situations where you experienced trauma when you heard about a fatal accident. Finally, the elements you must prove in an NIED claim are as follows:

  • You were either involved in the crash or observed it from close proximity
  • You have suffered emotional harm due to witnessing this accident while it happened
  • The relative who died was in your immediate family

The Right Advocate Can Help Maximize Your Financial Recovery

Because mental anguish can be more challenging to identify than a physical injury, an experienced Dallas auto accident lawyer can be invaluable in your case to help the defendant and the jury– if necessary– understand how PTSD or emotional distress has impacted you. At Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP, we have the experience and the team of experts who can build your case step by step and demonstrate to others how this crash has changed your life.

Contact us for a free, confidential case review

If you have questions about PTSD or emotional distress after a car accident in Texas, call us today to book a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. Because we work on a contingency-fee-basis, there are no upfront legal costs.