A car accident is traumatic and terrifying, even if you are fortunate enough to walk away from the accident without physical injuries. However, the experience of a car accident can cause significant emotional damage, including a fear of driving, flashbacks, PTSD, sleep disturbances, and other emotional trauma. The sensation of helplessness and loss of control experienced in an accident can become haunting, sometimes interfering with a person’s ability to enjoy life or accomplish a daily routine. Some accident victims wonder, “Should I hire a car accident attorney in Plano if I wasn’t injured in my accident, but now suffer from emotional trauma?”
Texas Does Not Allow Claims for Emotional Damages Unless They Accompany Physical and Economic Damages
Some states allow car accident victims to file claims for emotional damages even if they were not physically harmed in a car accident. In Texas, car accident victims can only claim compensation for emotional damages in conjunction with other damages including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future income loss
- Pain and suffering
Texas courts only hear cases of emotional damages if they accompany claims for tangible damages like physical injuries with economic costs. While you could attempt to claim compensation for emotional damages in an out-of-court settlement, it’s unlikely that an insurer will include it in a settlement agreement because they know that it isn’t allowable in court. In other words, there is no incentive to pay an amount for this type of intangible damage alone. But if you have physical injuries, the court would hear the case and consider an additional amount for emotional injuries; therefore, the insurer would have the incentive to offer an amount of compensation for emotional injury as a portion of a total settlement including physical and economic damages.
Emotional Trauma After a Car Accident
If you’ve experienced emotional trauma from a car accident, help is available. There are many ways to obtain counseling after a car accident through your medical insurance or emotional health advocacy organizations. There are also support groups and online communities for those who’ve suffered through car accidents.
What If a Loved One’s Death in a Car Accident Causes Emotional Anguish?
If you were in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligent, reckless, or wrongful behavior behind the wheel, and you didn’t sustain injuries but a close family member died from their injuries in the accident, you can bring a wrongful death claim against the driver at fault. A wrongful death lawyer can help you recover damages like funeral expenses and lost income and benefits for the number of working years the loved one had left to them if they hadn’t died. Wrongful death claims in Texas may include compensation for emotional anguish since there are also tangible economic losses in the claim.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Property Damage Claim?
In car accident claims of only property damage and no injuries or injury-related expenses, it’s best to handle your claim on your own. An attorney takes their fee through a percentage of the compensation they help a victim recover for their physical and economic damages. In a claim for property damage alone, there’s no compensation from which an attorney could take their fee so you’d have to pay them for their hours if they agreed to take the case.
What If I Caused the Accident?
If you were at fault for the accident, there’s no need for an attorney unless there are criminal charges. In a civil case for damages, if you are the driver who caused the accident, your insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case and they will handle your defense if the case goes to trial.