Getting hurt in a car crash can be physically devastating, but going through such a tragic experience may also have an impact on your emotional health. Beyond the initial shock, it’s common for victims to develop debilitating mental anguish period. Your physical injuries affect your quality of life, personal relationships, independence, and many other factors. As such, the implications often extend into your emotional well-being, possibly leading to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other medical conditions.
It’s possible to recover for certain forms of mental anguish after a car accident in Texas, but you’ll need an experienced lawyer to help overcome the challenges with proving emotional losses. To discuss how a veteran Houston attorney with The Krist Law Firm can help if you’re suffering from PTSD after a car accident, contact us at (281) 283-8500 or online to schedule a free consultation.
Monetary Damages after a Car Accident
In general, damages are intended to make you as a whole as possible after a motor vehicle crash. Though monetary compensation can’t eliminate all effects, the goal is to provide a situation that’s as if the accident never happened. For most auto collision claims, there are two types of damages:
- Economic Damages: These are the definable or out-of-pocket losses you suffer because of your injuries. Examples include medical costs and lost wages.
- Non-Economic Damages: Though they cannot be described in terms of a dollar amount, you definitely endure subjective hardship because of getting hurt. When you hear the term “pain and suffering,” the reference is to non-economic damages.
Compensation for Depression and PTSD
It is possible to seek both types of compensation for depression and PTSD. Because economic damages focus on readily ascertainable losses, you can recover the expenses you incurred for medical treatment. For instance, this can include the cost of the care you received from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or similar medical professional. You may also obtain amounts for your lost wages if you were unable to work because of emotional issues.
However, emotional distress is also a form of pain and suffering that falls also under the umbrella of non-economic damages. A car accident can cause extreme depression, PTSD, and other mental anguish, especially when your physical injuries are severe.
To recover non-economic damages for emotional distress, you must first prove that the responsible motorist breached the legal duty to exercise reasonable care when driving. Then, regarding mental anguish, you need to show:
- Your emotional medical condition is ongoing and pervasive;
- The conduct of the other driver is a direct cause of the distress; and,
- You also suffered physical injuries.
Your physical injuries are particularly important because most US states will not allow you to recover for emotional distress unless you were also physically hurt.
Evidence to Support a Mental Anguish Claim
Showing that you’re entitled to economic damages for depression and PTSD is relatively straightforward. You can present invoices, bills, receipts, and pay stubs as proof of medical care and lost wages.
Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are tricky because you don’t have documentation showing the hardships you’ve endured. The best evidence to support a claim for such subjective losses comes through extrapolation from other sources. Your medical records are crucial since they will reveal your doctor’s diagnosis of depression, PTSD, or other mental anguish. They also demonstrate your experience as you received the necessary medical treatment and went through the recovery process.
In many claims for mental anguish, it will be necessary to retain a medical expert. A physician who focuses on emotional well-being can assess your condition and describe the extent of your distress. Relevant factors include:
- The intensity and debilitating nature of your anguish;
- The duration of your medical condition; and,
- The severity of the underlying physical injuries.
Get Help from an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Considering the far-reaching implications of depression and PTSD, solid legal representation is essential to recovering the full range of monetary damages available for victims of auto collisions. An attorney with The Krist Law Firm can investigate and obtain the necessary evidence to support your claim for compensation, including input from medical experts.