Not all accidents warrant filing a personal injury claim.
When a personal injury would not have occurred but for the negligence of another, filing a personal injury claim may be your best route for recovering the compensation that you both need and deserve.
However, filing your personal injury claim and knowing how much your claim is worth are difficult to do on your own. Hiring a Dallas personal injury lawyer is highly recommended. The following provides an overview of the types of damages that are available in Texas civil actions.
How Much is Your Claim Worth?
The bread and butter of compensation in a Texas personal injury claim are actual damages. These are often referred to as economic damages.
Texas’ Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 41.001(4) defines economic damages as “compensatory damages intended to compensate a claimant for actual economic or pecuniary loss.”
There are multiple types of economic damages that you may seek. These include:
Lost wages –
When a person suffers a personal injury, he or she may have to miss work as a direct result of the injury and may be unable to return to work in the future – either temporarily or permanently. Because lost wages are economic in nature, a person may seek compensation for the actual value of wages lost.
Medical bills –
The cost of healthcare in Texas is often regarded as being exorbitant – and for good reason. A hospital stay, surgery, and medication can total hundreds of thousands of dollars. When the burden to pay these medical bills falls on the victim herself or himself, financial ruin—and even the necessity of declaring bankruptcy—can result. A plaintiff in a personal injury claim can seek compensation for the total value of his or her medical bills – past, present and future – related to the injury.
Lost benefits –
In some cases, a person may be injured to a point where they are unable to return to work and may miss out on certain economic benefits such as bonuses, retirement benefits or a pension. The pecuniary value of these lost benefits may be sought in a personal injury claim.
All other economic losses –
A person may seek damages for all other economic losses related to his or her injury. This may include a spouse’s lost wages (who had to miss work to care for the plaintiff), transportation costs to and from the hospital at-home treatment costs and more.
Non-Economic Damages from Texas Car Accident
Non-economic damages do not have any monetary value on their own. Rather, they are meant to compensate a person for his or her intangible losses. Types of non-economic damages, per Texas’ Civil Practice and Remedies Code, cited above, include:
- Physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional anguish – A claimant who has experienced physical pain and suffering or/and mental and emotional anguish can recover compensation. Often, a daily rate is used to calculate these benefits (a monetary figure is assigned and then multiplied by the number of days that the victim has experienced the pain, suffering or anguish).
- Loss of consortium – These damages are awarded when a plaintiff is no longer capable of maintaining an intimate relationship, sexual or otherwise, with his or her spouse as a direct result of his or her injuries.
- Disfigurement and impairment – If injuries cause physical impairment or disfigurement, non-economic damages may be paid to compensate a victim for these losses.
- Loss of companionship and society – These damages may be paid when the victim of a personal injury is so badly injury that he or she cannot maintain a relationship with friends or family.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – Sometimes, injuries are so severe that the permanently prevent a person from engaging in his or her once-loved activities and otherwise enjoying life.
Exemplary damages are damages that a judge orders a defendant to pay to a plaintiff with the intent of punishing the defendant for his or her egregious actions. Exemplary damages are also referred to as punitive damages, and are neither economic nor non-economic in nature.
A judge will typically not order exemplary damages to be paid unless the defendant did something particularly appalling such as intentionally causing the claimant’s harm through malice, fraud or gross negligence.
Caps on Damages in Texas
There are no caps on the majority of personal injury claims in Texas, with the exception of medical malpractice claims. In a medical malpractice claim, non-economic damages are to be limited at $250,000 per claimant, according to Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 74 – Medical Liability.
Exemplary (punitive) damages are also capped in Texas, at an amount that is two times the amount of economic damages awarded to the plaintiff, an amount equal to any no-neconomic damages founded by the jury (not to exceed $750,000) or $200,000.
Why You Need a Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer On Your Side
Your Dallas personal injury lawyer will seek to maximize the damages that are recoverable in your claim by collecting evidence, hiring investigators and experts, negotiating on your behalf, taking your case to court if necessary and more.
When you have been injured in Texas, avoid the mistake of pursuing a personal injury claim on your own. Without an attorney, you will likely recover less money, as you will be navigating a complex legal world on your own with little knowledge of the amount of money you may be truly entitled to receive.
The personal injury attorneys at the Tate Law Offices, P.C., are ready to go to work for you today. Our goal will be to maximize the value of your claim. Contact our team now to schedule your first consultation.
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