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How to Recover Damages for Mental Anguish in a Wrongful Death Claim

Anytime someone losses a loved one through negligence, we get some of the same questions. We're sorry for your loss, and we hope this article will help to answer and clarify some of the options available to you as you pursue a wrongful death claim. It's never easy when a loved one passes, but it's nearly impossible to fathom when this happens as a result of someone else's negligence.

As you're probably aware, there are many kinds of financial compensation available to you as you pursue your claim. We've listed several examples in our leading article. Here we'll specifically examine what mental anguish is, as it pertains to the law. And we'll see how that impacts a wrongful death claim.

What Does the Law Have to Say About Mental Anguish?

In a personal injury case, a plaintiff can recover damages for past and future mental anguish. This manifests in a couple different ways. Mental anguish damages were first awarded in Texas to cases in which the plaintiff could prove a physical impact that results in a physical injury. As an exception to the physical impact rule, mental anguish damages were permitted when the mental anguish was the result of a particularly disturbing or upsetting event. As a later development, mental anguish damages were permitted when the mental anguish was itself physically manifested, even though there was no physical impact or disturbing event. More recently, mental anguish damages were permitted when some disturbing event occurred and caused distress even though there was no physical manifestation of mental anguish.

In 1997 the Texas Supreme Court discussed the types of claims for which mental anguish can be recovered. A plaintiff was recover mental anguish damages if she was physically injured. Mental anguish damages are recoverable in virtually all personal-injury cases. Mental anguish damages are also recoverable for the aggravation of preexisting medical conditions. A plaintiff can recover mental anguish damages even if she was not physically injured. The Supreme Court classified the cases that permit mental anguish damages without proof of physical injury into three categories: cases involving intentional or malicious conduct, cases involving the breach of a duty arising from a special relationship, and cases involving particularly disturbing events.

Examples of Mental Anguish

Now that we've seen that the State of Texas has to say, let's look at a few specific examples of what mental anguish might look like.

  • Holding a pistol to one's head
  • Witnessing injury or death to a loved one
  • Terror experienced after an injury
  • Being the recipient of road rage, dangerous actions by another driver
  • Any threat of bodily harm when it appears it could be carried out

How We Can Help

At Grossman Law Offices, we have over 25 years of experienced handling wrongful death claims. We know this area of the law almost better than anyone, and we've won thousands of cases. Even if you just want to get some answers and insight from our attorneys, we're happy to make ourselves available to you. We answer calls 24/7, and we're confident we can help you with your claim. Please give us a call today (855) 326-0000.