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The Role of Emotional Distress in a Personal Injuries Case

Your Right to Compensation Beyond Physical Injuries

In an accident caused by another person’s wrongdoing, not all injuries are physical. Some injuries are emotional, causing irreparable damage to your mental health. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be entitled to compensation for emotional distress in your personal injury case. The best way to ensure you receive the recovery you deserve is by working with an experienced attorney.

At Bailey Cowan Heckaman, we provide experienced representation for individuals who have suffered severe emotional distress after an accident with injuries. Our lawyers understand that many injuries deeply impact your emotional well-being. We are here to help ensure you receive compensation to get the treatment you need for as long as you need it. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation if you have been injured by someone else’s negligence.

What Is Emotional Distress?

While physical injuries after an accident may be obvious such as a broken bone, other types of harm may be less noticeable. Personal injury cases can result in psychological trauma that negatively impacts a person’s life. It can take years for a person to recover from emotional scarring from an accident or injury. In some cases, it may last a lifetime.

Common forms of emotional distress include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Fear or anguish

Many times emotional distress is compensable. In order to determine if you have a valid claim for your emotional trauma, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer. An attorney can review your case and help assess your legal options.

Different Types of Emotional Distress

Emotional distress after an accident or injury may take many shapes. In most instances, it has a direct effect on a person’s mental health. They may be unable to return to work or have trouble performing their normal daily routine. If another person’s actions have caused you substantial distress, you need to consider taking legal action.


Depression is one of the most common forms of emotional distress. According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, "approximately 10-20% of motor vehicle crash survivors experience on-going psychological difficulties.” Some of the most common and most debilitating psychological difficulties are major depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Depression symptoms may include: 

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Disturbances in sleep
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of interest
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of anger
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicide attempts

Whether you were involved in a serious truck accident or were injured by a defective auto part, you may be at risk of developing depression. Filing a claim for emotional distress can help ensure you receive compensation for current and future medical treatments such as counseling and therapy.


People who have suffered a severe injury can also develop anxiety disorders. While there are a wide range of different anxiety disorders they often involve many of the same symptoms. Any irrational fears or stress may be signs of an anxiety disorder and should be taken seriously.

Anxiety can be be debilitating and may lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors. It is important to seek medical attention if you begin to develop symptoms of an anxiety disorder such as a feeling of consistent nervousness, panic attacks, or the inability to control worrying. 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

It is believed that approximately 6 out of every 100 people will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their lifetime. PTSD is a serious mental health issue that is often overlooked and undertreated. Many people do not report symptoms of PTSD and never receive the treatment they need to recover.


Feelings of fear or anguish are common after significant incidents such as an accident or life disruption including a wrongful termination. Fear and anguish can present itself in many ways after a traumatic event including the inability to return to work, drive a car, or perform normal activities. 

Proving Emotional Distress

Unlike physical injuries which are readily apparent, emotional distress may be more challenging to prove. The best way to ensure you receive compensation for the emotional distress you experienced in your personal injury case is by consulting with an attorney. 

In order to prove the severity of your emotional distress, you may need:

  • A copy of your medical records
  • Expert testimony
  • Copies of the treatment you have received
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Documentation from your employer
  • Information proving liability in your case

In some cases, it may be necessary to conduct a thorough investigation in order to prove your claim. Working with experienced attorneys from the beginning of your case can help to ensure you get the compensation you need to fully recover. Emotional distress can take decades to overcome. Counseling alone can cost thousands of dollars that you should not have to pay out-of-pocket. 

Will an Emotional Distress Claim Affect My Case Results?

An emotional distress claim may impact your case by increasing your potential damages. It may also increase the complexity of your case. Proving emotional distress can be difficult and generally takes significant evidence. 

If you are experiencing mental health concerns after an accident or injury caused by another person’s wrongdoing, it is essential to seek professional help. Untreated emotional distress can have devastating consequences. Filing a claim for emotional distress can help to ensure you receive compensation for any treatment related to your suffering. It can also provide for future recovery for any ongoing counseling.

Legal Representation You Can Trust

One of the best ways to ensure you receive compensation for all of your case-related damages, including emotional distress is by securing legal representation. A lawyer will help determine what evidence may be needed in your case and how to pursue compensation against the party or parties that caused you harm. 
At Bailey Cowan Heckaman we have a proven track record of success securing financial recovery for injured parties throughout Houston and the surrounding areas. We are knowledgeable, skilled trial lawyers that will not give up on your case. Contact our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. There are no fees unless we win.

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