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What constitutes “pain and suffering” in Texas?

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2023 | Car Accidents |

If you are involved in a Texas motor vehicle collision, workplace accident or other incident that results in illness or injury, it is likely that you experience consequences directly related to the incident for quite some time. In a car accident, for instance, a person may seek restitution for damages in civil court if another person’s negligence was a causal factor in the collision. When a person files such a claim, he or he must list the damages that occurred, which might include “pain and suffering.” 

The phrase “pain and suffering” is ambiguous, meaning one can interpret it in several ways. State law must specify what is meant when one uses these words to cite damages in a personal injury claim. Each state has its own laws regarding the topic; for instance, some states are “no-fault” states where a recovering victim files a claim with his or her own insurance agency, no matter who caused the accident. Such states do not allow one to claim “pain and suffering” in a civil suit for non-economic damages.  

Pain and suffering include physical and emotional injuries 

You would undoubtedly experience “pain and suffering” if you have physical injuries like a broken leg, brain trauma or lacerations from a car accident. However, Texas law includes emotional trauma or mental health issues that arise because of emotional trauma as non-economic damages in a personal injury claim.  

If your spouse dies in a car accident, you can claim “loss of consortium” in an injury or wrongful death claim. This type of pain and suffering refers to the loss of benefits you would have gained from your marital relationship, which are no longer available to you due to your spouse’s death. This type of pain and suffering can also be in the claim a parent files on behalf of a deceased child who has died in an accident caused by another person’s negligence or reckless behavior. 

Texas places a cap on pain and suffering for non-economic damages 

In Texas, there is a limit to the amount of compensation you can obtain for pain and suffering (non-economic damages) following a motor vehicle collision or other accident. It’s imperative that you seek clarification of state laws before filing a claim.  

There’s also a statute of limitation in Texas, meaning that you must file a personal injury claim within a certain amount of time from the date the injury occurred. You’ll also want to note that, in cases where the state is the defendant (e.g., you suffered injuries when a public bus hit you), there is a cap on the amount of compensation you may seek for damages.