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In Texas, a personal injury case is only worth what a jury is willing to award you. This is why you need an attorney who can not only prove the economic damages you have sustained due to your accident, but can also demonstrate the value of non-economic damages you may have sustained, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.
What are Examples of Economic Damages?
Economic damages are losses that have intrinsic monetary value. The two most common examples of economic damages sought in a personal injury case are medical expenses and lost wages.
When seeking medical expenses following a personal injury accident, you are entitled to reimbursement for procedures and services, including:
Emergency room treatment
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 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.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages are those that do not have a clear monetary value connected to them. As such, they can be difficult to quantify, and it can be even more difficult to demonstrate their determined value of the damages to a jury.
When seeking non-economic damages, you may pursue the following:
Pain and suffering – If you injury has resulted in pain or serious discomfort, you may be entitled to pain and suffering damages. This can include pain experienced when an injury was caused, pain experienced immediately after an injury was caused, and any ongoing pain that can be attributed to the injury or accident.
Loss of enjoyment – These damages attempt to quantify loss of enjoyment in day-to-day pursuits like hobbies, exercise, and other recreational activities.
Emotional distress – Not all injuries are physical. If your accident or injury has had a psychological impact and has resulted in things like anxiety, depression, or sleep loss, you may be entitled to emotional distress damages.
Loss of consortium – Typically applied to wrongful death lawsuits, loss of consortium damages can also be sought when a severe injury has resulted in a loss of companionship or an inability to maintain a sexual relationship with a spouse. Children may also sue for loss of consortium if the injuries have significantly hampered the victim’s ability to provide care, nurturing, or comfort.
Are There Any Other Damages I Can Collect in My Personal Injury Case?
There is a final type of damage a jury may award you, provided your case meets a strict criteria. These are known as punitive damages.
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 thing s 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.
How Will an Experienced Injury Attorney Pursue My Claim?
In order to win your personal injury claim, your attorney will need to develop your case in a way that accurately demonstrates any economic and non-economic damages you have incurred. This will require legal expertise, financial resources, and a knowledgeable support staff.
Thomas J. Henry has the legal and financial resources necessary to properly develop and handle your case in the most effective and efficient way possible. Client satisfaction is paramount, and our attorneys make sure every client is treated with respect, is kept informed with the most up-to-date information on their case, and is made comfortable throughout the entire legal process as we work to secure the compensation they deserve.
We are constantly exploring and implementing new and innovative solutions in the areas of case management, client interaction, and information security. Through satellite technologies, live streaming, and jet services, our lawyers are accessible to clients from anywhere in the world. Can’t make it to one of our Texas law offices? No worries — our lawyers can come to you at your home, workplace, or hospital. Case files and information can also be accessed at the click of a mouse, allowing information to be expedited between our team and to other legal professionals.
In personal injury cases, it can be extremely important to retain expert witnesses with specialized knowledge on a subject related to the case. Thomas J. Henry has spent years finding the best expert witnesses across the United States. Our firm retains the most qualified experts for each individual case, from accident reconstruction experts to medical professionals. Every expert undergoes a rigorous and in-depth examination process before ever being involved in a client’s case.
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.