Can You Claim Compensation for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident in Texas?

Car accidents can be devastating. Not only can they cause severe physical injuries, or even death, but they also often leave their victims dealing with emotional distress that can impact every facet of their life. A car accident attorney in San Antonio can help to figure out whether compensation is possible for specific cases, but as a general rule, it is possible to claim compensation for emotional distress as long as you were also physically injured.

Compensation Claims for Emotional Distress After a Car Accident in Texas

What Is Considered Emotional Distress?

We all instinctively know what emotional distress means when we discuss it as individuals, but under Texas law, there are specific conditions to be met to meet the definition. Specifically, it is mental suffering, but the suffering was caused by someone else’s actions. These actions can be either intentional or accidental.

There is a wide variety of symptoms that could be considered emotional distress. These include:

PTSD symptoms (e.g. flashbacks, insomnia, nightmares, anxiety)



Uncontrollable crying


Can I Sue for Emotional Distress Using a Car Accident Attorney in San Antonio?

Under Texas law, you can claim for compensation for emotional distress. A local car accident attorney would be aware of the regulations surrounding it, and you can check out this site to find out how they would handle it. But, in general, you can only claim for emotional distress if you were also physically harmed because of the car accident.

In some cases, people have successfully claimed for emotional distress because of witnessing a car accident. This is rare, and you would need to meet very specific criteria, including:

Direct relationship with the victim

Must have physically witnessed the accident

The victim had severe injuries

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)

Proving IIED is rare. The other person needs to have intentionally and deliberately caused the car accident in which you suffered emotional distress or behaved so outrageously and recklessly that it would have been clear they would hurt someone. Situations where this might have occurred include road rage incidents and the use of a car as a deliberate weapon.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED)

NIED is much more common, and the majority of successful compensation claims for emotional distress would come under this definition. In these situations, the car accident was caused by the other person, but it wasn’t deliberate, and they didn’t behave outrageously.

Modified Comparative Negligence Standard

Texas law uses the modified comparative negligence standard for determining compensation in NIED cases. If you were 51% or more at fault for the accident, you would receive no compensation. If you were 50% at fault or lower, you would receive compensation, but the amount is tied to the percentage you were responsible for. If you were 20% at fault for the accident, you would receive 80% of the compensation you would have if you were 0% responsible.

In Texas, you can claim compensation for emotional distress resulting from a car accident, but you must have also been physically injured. IIED would be part of a criminal case, whereas NIED would come under the modified comparative negligence standard to determine how much compensation you would receive. Proving emotional distress can be more challenging than physical injury, so having a dedicated and professional attorney is important to get it right.

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