When you win your Texas personal injury case, there are a multitude of damages you can recover depending on the facts of your case. From past and future medical expenses to lost wages to pain and suffering, a jury will look at the facts of your case to determine exactly what types of compensation you are entitled to.
Bills and expenses for medical services following an accident are recoverable provided you win your personal injury case. This includes:
- Doctor visits
- Hospital stays
- Emergency room treatment
- Ambulance fees
- Nursing services
- Medication costs
- MRIs, x-rays, and other scans
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
To be awarded these damages you will have to demonstrate that the expenses are related to medical conditions resulting from the accident or injuries being addressed in your personal injury claim. You may also recoup future medical expenses provided your injuries will require ongoing treatment. The total amount of medical expenses is sometimes used to determine whether the overall award of damages is reasonable.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
Lost wages represent the amount of money you would have earned from the time of an injury to the date of settlement. You can also recover loss of earning capacity if you have sustained a long-term disability and will be unable to make as much money as you did before your accident as well as damages for lost opportunities such as an interview or promotion you missed out on while you were recovering.
Aside from basic wage calculations (how much direct pay you lost), you are also able to claim:
- Money that reflects a promotion or wage increase provided you were due for a wage increase or promotion while out of work.
- Loss of commissions on sales.
- Bonuses that you were paid in the past and were on track to receive prior to your injury.
- Loss of fringe benefits.
- Loss of pension benefits.
You can even recoup damages for the vacation or sick leave you used while recovering from your injury.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering is awarded for the physical pain you suffered due to your injury. Because pain and suffering cannot be measured objectively, the amount the jury chooses to award for pain and suffering is largely discretionary. When considering pain and suffering, the jury will look at past and future damages. To place a monetary value on pain and suffering, the jury will consider the nature of the injury, the certainty of pain and future pain, its severity, and how long you are likely to be in pain.
Mental anguish, also called emotional distress, deals with damages caused by fright, terror, apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, worry, humiliation, grief, loss of dignity, and shock following an accident. Mental anguish may also reflect distress caused by a disfigurement or deformation following an accident or injury.
Loss of Consortium
These damages result from the deprivation of the benefits of married life following an accident or injury, such as affection, comfort, companionship, society, assistance, and sexual relations. A value is placed on this loss by considering the couple’s individual life expectancies, whether the marriage was stable, how much care and companionship was bestowed upon the uninjured spouse (or vice versa), and the extent to which the benefits of married life have been lost.
Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages in that they are not meant to give a plaintiff back something that was lost. They are meant to punish the defendant for conduct that was especially reckless or malicious and demonstrate to society that the conduct displayed by the defendant will not be tolerated.
In order for punitive damages to be awarded, there must first be actual damages. Actual damages are things like medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of wages. Without actual damages, punitive damages cannot occur.
Second, you must be able to demonstrate that the defendant acted with gross negligence. This means showing:
- That a reasonable person in the same situation as the defendant would have known that their behavior or conduct involved an extreme degree of risk.
- That the defendant knew of the risk but acted with disregard.
The most common example of gross negligence in an auto accident is when a person is injured or killed by a drunk driver. When a drunk driver gets behind the will, they have made a deliberate choice to ignore the obvious risk they could pose to others.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys is a personal injury law firm with offices in Corpus Christi, Texas, San Antonio, Texas, and Houston, Texas representing accident victims nationwide. Our priority is to provide our clients with the best legal representation. Our experienced trial attorneys are committed to defending your rights in personal injury matters including defective products, recalled drugs, child injuries, and auto accidents.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, contact our offices immediately – we are available 24/7, nights and weekends.