What you should know about damages before filing a personal Injury lawsuit in Texas
Personal Injuries resulting from accidents are a daily occurrence. In cases where injuries are caused by the actions or inactions of someone other than the victim, the victim may choose to seek justice in a court of law. In Texas, as in other states, this comes in the form of monetary compensations to the victim, known as damages. When filing for personal injury cases, Texas law allows one to demand compensation in the form of economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are financial compensations for the actual losses caused by the injury. This covers payment of medical bills, damaged property, and past and future earning capacity (wages lost). Another damage that could be claimed is Loss of Household Services, which is a compensation award for duties that the injured party performed around the house but can no longer carry out due to the injury.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate you for pain and suffering caused by the accident or injury. This covers compensation for emotional trauma, scars and disabilities, and any social disadvantage caused by the injury. Here is an overview of the damages that can be claimed under the Texas personal injury law:
Damages for Physical and Emotional Pain and suffering: You can claim for past and future pains if it can be proven. Doctors are usually used to estimate the level of suffering endured.
Damages for Physical Impairment: This is damage for the loss of enjoyment of life due to physical impairment caused by the injury.
Damages for Disfigurement: This is claimed for the social disadvantage a victim faces due to changes in appearance as a result of the personal injury.
Damages for Mental trauma: This is awarded if it is proven (usually with the help of a psychologist) that the injury affected victim’s mental state.
Damages for Loss of Consortium: This is awarded if a victim has lost the affection and companionship of a loved one. This relationship is limited to the victim’s spouse, parent or child.
The value of non-economic damage is determined by jurors, who are independent third-parties with no relationship with those involved. The value of non-economic compensation can be a multiple of the economic damages. Compensation for this is capped at $250,000 and $100,000 (for cases against the government).
Punitive Damages, (also known as Exemplary Damages) unlike economic and non-economic, do not compensate you for anything. Rather, it is meant to punish the at-fault party for their misconduct. This penalty seeks to make an example of the at-fault party which serves as a deterrent. This may only be awarded if the plaintiff proves that the harm results from fraud, malice or gross negligence. According to Texas law, this is capped at $200,000 (or twice the economic damage plus value for non-economic damages up to $750,000), whichever is greater.
Before claiming any damages for injury, it is best to consult with your lawyer and carry out preliminary investigations.