Suffering injuries is always a stressful and painful experience. However, an injury can be even more frustrating and overwhelming when you know that your injury is the result of someone else’s negligent conduct.
Fortunately, you may be entitled to compensation for your injury if you can prove that your accident occurred because another person or entity was negligent. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, there may be different types of damages available in your personal injury case in Texas.
The claims process can be confusing and stressful, which is why you might want to consult with an experienced attorney to determine what damages are recoverable in your specific case and get assistance in pursuing the compensation to which you are entitled.
At the Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, our results-driven and compassionate team have decades of experience helping injured Texans handle their personal injury claims and fight for maximum compensation. Call (254) 220-4225 or complete our contact form to receive a free case review with our attorney.
Recoverable Damages in Personal Injury Cases in Texas
Damages that may be available to an injured party in a personal injury case can be broken down into three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and exemplary damage.
1. Economic Damages
These damages are meant to reimburse the victim for the monetary losses incurred as a result of the injury and accident. Economic damages are easier to quantify in a Texas personal injury case because the victim has bills, receipts, and other documentation to prove their losses. Common examples of economic damages include:
Reimbursement for the medical expenses. An injured party could incur hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars in medical bills, depending on the severity of their injury. If a personal injury claim is successful, the claimant is entitled to reimbursement for all reasonable medical expenses, including the cost of medical treatment and surgery, medication, hospital bills, and others.
Loss of income and benefits. If you cannot work due to your injury, you can seek compensation for your lost wages, bonuses, and other benefits that you would have earned had you not been injured. You could also be entitled to compensation for your diminished earning capacity if your injury prevents you from working at full capacity to earn the same income as before the injury.
Property damage. If any of your property, including your automobile or phone, was damaged in the accident, you can receive reimbursement for the cost of repairing or replacing it. For example, if you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, you might be able to obtain compensation for the cost of vehicle repairs.
Out-of-pocket expenses. Depending on the circumstances of your accident and injury, you also incur some out-of-pocket expenses. Such expenses include the cost of personal care (e.g., paying a caregiver to help perform activities of daily living such as bathing), travel expenses to and from a hospital, expenses associated with modifications to your home, and others.
Make sure that you keep careful documentation of all your monetary losses incurred following the accident. Keep copies of your bills, receipts, invoices, and other documentation. Having proof of all economic damages and expenses is critical to full reimbursement in your personal injury case.
2. Non-Economic Damages
While non-economic damages are more subjective than economic damages, it is still possible to receive fair and full compensation for your non-monetary losses. These damages refer to emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other intangible losses associated with the injury.
Since non-economic damages are not based on actual expenses, it can be tricky to calculate the appropriate award for these intangible losses. Common examples of non-economic damages in personal injury cases in Texas include:
Pain and suffering. These damages refer to the injured victim’s physical pain and mental distress resulting from the injury. Pain and suffering also include psychological and emotional injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, embarrassment, depression, mental anguish, and many more.
Scarring, disfigurement, disability, and permanent impairments. If the accident resulted in permanent scarring, disfigurement, disability, or impairments, these damages should be considered when calculating a damages award.
Loss of enjoyment and quality of life. Sustaining an injury and suffering from impairments can dramatically impact the quality of your life and your ability to enjoy life. For example, someone who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury might not be able to play basketball or do other things they used to love before the accident.
The impact the injury has on the victim’s life can differ from one case to another. For this reason, you might want to consult with a skilled personal injury lawyer to help you understand the extent of your damages and losses in order to demand fair compensation.
One of the most important things you can do to document your non-economic damages is to keep a journal detailing how your injury affects your quality of life, your level of pain, the activities you can no longer enjoy, and other effects of the injury.
3. Exemplary Damages
Texas recognizes exemplary damages in some personal injury cases. These damages are also known as punitive damages. However, exemplary damages are available in limited cases. According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 41.001, injured parties can seek exemplary damages when they can demonstrate sufficient evidence proving that the defendant engaged in gross negligent, fraudulent, or malicious conduct.
Unlike compensatory (economic and non-economic) damages, exemplary damages are intended to punish the liable party for their outrageous conduct. Exemplary damages are often available in personal injury cases stemming from impaired driving accidents.
How to Calculate Compensation in a Personal Injury Case?
Calculating compensation in a personal injury case is complicated. For this reason, an injured party might want to speak with a skilled attorney to determine the value of their claim. It is essential to determine the amount of money that would fairly compensate you for your injuries before you accept a settlement offer.
Once you settle a claim, you will be barred from demanding any additional compensation. The appropriate method for calculating compensation is different for economic and non-economic damages:
Calculating economic damages. The insurance company will review all documentation showing your expenses and financial losses in order to calculate your economic damages. The insurer will add up all of your bills, receipts, statements, and other verifiable expenses. The insurance company should also estimate your future losses and expenses. Usually, insurance companies undervalue the claimant’s losses and damages to pay them as little as possible, which is why you need an experienced attorney on your side to handle negotiations with the insurance company and make sure that the settlement offer is fair.
Calculating non-economic damages. These damages are more difficult to calculate because there are no bills or receipts that can be added up to determine appropriate compensation for your emotional trauma and other intangible losses. Non-economic damages include losses that are difficult to put a dollar figure on. You could seek fair compensation for your psychological, mental, and emotional injuries if your personal injury case goes to trial. There are various methods for calculating non-economic damages, including the per diem and multiplier methods.
Consider contacting a skilled personal injury attorney in Texas to ensure the most accurate calculation of your economic and non-economic damages. At the Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, our attorney will carefully review your case and all available documentation related to your injury and accident to determine the value of your personal injury case.
What Do You Need to Prove in Your Personal Injury Case?
When you suffer injuries because of another’s negligent acts, you need to prove that the party acted negligently and that their negligence caused your injury and damages. Since the vast majority of personal injury claims filed in Texas are based on the theory of negligence, the injured victim must prove the following elements to obtain compensation:
The other party owed the victim a duty of care;
The defendant breached the duty by acting negligently;
The defendant’s negligent conduct was the primary cause of the accident; and
The victim suffered injuries and damages as a result of the defendant’s conduct.
Seek legal counsel from an experienced personal injury lawyer in Texas to help you collect sufficient evidence proving the above-mentioned elements. A lawyer can help you seek justice and pursue the compensation to which you are entitled while you focus on your health and recovery.
Are There Caps for Damages in Texas Personal Injury Cases?
Many accident victims are concerned about damages caps when thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit in Texas. However, Texas law does not cap economic damages, which may include reimbursement for the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, and other tangible losses. Thus, even if you incurred $500,000 or $1 million in damages, you are entitled to full reimbursement for your monetary losses.
As for non-economic damages, these damages are difficult to assign a dollar figure to. However, Texas law does not limit these damages in personal injury cases unless the victim is injured due to medical malpractice.
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.301, non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases cannot exceed:
$500,000 when suing a healthcare facility;
$250,000 when suing an individual medical professional; or
$750,000 in total non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case.
If a plaintiff is entitled to exemplary damages in a personal injury case, they cannot receive more than $200,000 or twice the amount of economic damages. The total amount of exemplary damages cannot be greater than $750,000. However, the caps for exemplary damages do not apply when a plaintiff is injured during the defendant’s commission of a felony.
How Can a Texas Personal Injury Attorney Help You Recover Damages?
If you have been injured because another party was negligent, you might want to consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help you with your claim. Many accident victims do not understand the benefits of hiring a lawyer when trying to recover damages.
However, a personal injury attorney can make a world of difference in the outcome of your case and the amount of money you can recover as part of your claim. Your attorney will do all of the following to help you receive maximum compensation in your personal injury case:
Perform a thorough investigation. In the aftermath of an accident, you might not be able to gather the necessary evidence to support your claim and talk to witnesses. Instead, you can hire a skilled lawyer to perform a comprehensive investigation in order to identify liable parties and collect evidence while you focus on your recovery.
Assess your damages and losses. Personal injury attorneys work with legal claims on a daily basis. They understand the ins and outs of calculating damages and losses suffered by accident victims. Your attorney can accurately assess your damages and losses to ensure that you receive fair and full compensation in your personal injury case.
Prepare a demand letter. Once your lawyer knows how much your personal injury claim is worth, he will prepare a demand letter to reflect the appropriate settlement amount you should receive from the insurance company.
Negotiate on your behalf. Insurance adjusters are trained to negotiate settlements with the company’s best interests in mind. The insurer is not interested in paying the full amount for your losses. You need an experienced attorney on your side to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to maximize your recovery.
Represent you in court. If your personal injury case goes to trial, your attorney should be prepared to provide you with vigorous representation to secure a favorable outcome.
Speak with our experienced and results-driven personal injury attorney at the Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to discuss what steps you can take to receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled after sustaining an injury.
We are committed to representing injured victims and assisting them at every step of the insurance claims process. Our goal is to help you understand what damages are available in your case and pursue the compensation you need to move forward with your life. Call (254) 220-4225 or complete the contact form for a free case review.