What Are Mental Anguish Damages In Texas ?
Cases that involved mental anguish unaccompanied by a physical impact upon the plaintiff:
Saenz v. Fidelity & Guaranty Ins. Underwriters, 925 S.W.2d 607, 614 (Tex. 1996)
Parkway Co. v. Woodruff, 901 S.W.2d 434, 444 (Tex. 1995).
Parkway Co. v. Woodruff held: "The term 'mental anguish' implies a relatively high degree of mental pain and distress. . . . more than mere disappointment, anger, resentment or embarrassment . . . . it includes a mental sensation of pain resulting from such painful emotions as grief, severe disappointment, indignation, wounded pride, shame, despair and/or public humiliation." Id. at 444.
An award for mental anguish damages requires direct evidence of the nature, duration, or severity of the plaintiff's anguish, thus establishing a substantial disruption in the plaintiff's daily routine, or other evidence of a high degree of mental pain and distress that is more than mere worry, anxiety, vexation, embarrassment, or anger. Id. at 444.
Saenz held: "Not only must there be evidence of the existence of compensable mental anguish, there must also be some evidence to justify the amount awarded." Saenz, 925 S.W.2d at 614.
The award must be an amount that would fairly and reasonably compensate for mental anguish that causes substantial disruption in daily routine or a high degree of mental pain and distress. Id.
As the Parkway court recognized, "once the threshold requirements of physical injury and impact or of particularly disturbing events are met, recovery of mental anguish damages is not hard to justify.
Mental suffering can be inferred from the fact of physical injury." Id. at 442.
As submitted to the jury, physical impairment reflects the loss of the injured party's former lifestyle. See Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Holland, 956 S.W.2d 590, 599 (Tex. App.--Tyler 1997, pet. granted).
"To recover damages for future physical impairment, one must have proof his physical impairment extends beyond any impediment to his earning capacity and beyond pain and suffering so that it produces a distinctly separate loss." Pipgras v. Hart, 832 S.W.2d 360, 366 (Tex. App.--Fort Worth 1992, writ denied).