Visitor Question

My parked truck was hit by texting driver. Can we sue for stress?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Mexia, Texas)

We are currently in the process of moving house.  My truck was parked at my place of employment when a lady hit my truck. I was not in the vehicle, but she admitted to the police that she was texting her husband.

There is video of the accident. She was going about 35 mph and never hit the brakes.

This has put a lot of stress on my family as we needed our truck to continue our move. Also, my wife has had a lot of stress from this as typically our children or athletes are in the car.

Is there any type of negligence suit that can be filed for our stress? Thanks for anything you can tell us.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your email, and you raise an excellent question. It’s possible that you can raise a negligence claim.

Your stress might lead to compensation under a pain and suffering theory. However, the strength to such a case depends on if you suffered any bodily injuries from the accident.

Negligence Claims

A person is negligent when they do something wrong or fail to do what any reasonable person would do in the same circumstances to prevent harm to others.

In personal injury cases, the negligent person is the one who caused the injury. This at-fault party is then liable, meaning responsible for the injured person’s damages.

To determine whether conduct is reasonable or not, insurance companies and courts examine the facts that led to an injury. They then decide what a reasonable person would have done under those same circumstances.

If a company or court finds that someone’s conduct was not reasonable, then it can decide to compensate the injured person for such things as:

  • Hospital and doctors’ bills
  • Chiropractic and physical therapy bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Given the facts you describe, it’s likely that the driver was negligent in hitting your truck. Texting while driving around 35 mph suggests acting unreasonably.

You also have plenty of evidence to show this, including the driver’s statements and the video.

Given this negligence, it’s likely that the driver (or her insurance company) must now compensate you for any proven injuries.

Compensation for Pain and Suffering

As stated above, negligent drivers must compensate injured persons for pain and suffering, also known as emotional distress.

Emotional distress can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Nervousness
  • Frustration
  • Bitterness

The stress that you and your wife are experiencing is understandable. The thing you must do now, to help receive compensation, is to take note of how this stress is impacting your life. Are you losing sleep? Have you had to hire someone to watch your children? Are you missing time from work?

Persuading the adjuster to compensate you for your pain and suffering will take more than a list of the symptoms of stress. You must provide evidence and clearly explain how those symptoms affect you.

Further, keep in mind that it’s difficult to receive pain and suffering for stress if the stress is not tied to an injury that you suffered from the actual crash with your truck.

When the at-fault driver hit your vehicle, were you physically injured in any way? If not, you might have some difficulty in establishing a pain and suffering claim.

Calculating Pain and Suffering

In Texas, you can use the basic multiplier method to determine the value of a pain and suffering award. This method works by adding up all your economic damages (like medical bills and lost wages) and then multiplying the sum by a number between 1.5 and five depending on the severity of the injuries.

The figure of 1.5 is on the low end of the range and used for minor injuries. The figure of 5 is on the high end of the range and used for more serious injuries.

In your situation, the specific number used will depend on the level of stress you and your wife are experiencing.

Contact an Experienced Attorney for Help

While the above seems straightforward, we believe it’s a good idea for you to speak with a local personal injury lawyer for help.  A local attorney is better situated to advise on your success in filing a lawsuit against the driver who hit your car.

In addition, a concern with this case is that while you and your wife are dealing with stress from the accident, it’s unsure whether you suffered any bodily injuries from the crash. If no injuries, then it’s difficult to establish a strong claim for pain and suffering.

Granted, you have anxiety from the accident, but it’s not clear whether that worry is from an injury or stems more from the fact of moving. If the latter, then it’s unlikely a judge or jury would provide compensation for an emotional distress claim.

Keep in mind that most lawyers offer a free consultation. You likely won’t have to pay a penny to get sound legal advice to answer all your questions.

Learn more here: Compensation for Emotional Distress

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,

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