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Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Posted December 23, 2017 | Uncategorized

If you’re in the beginning stages of a personal injury lawsuit in Dallas, you might be wondering what types of damages you could be eligible to recover. While each case is unique, there are types of financial compensation you can expect to arise from most types of claims. The Texas courts allow injured parties to seek certain types of money damages if someone’s negligence causes another party’s personal injuries or property damage. Here’s a breakdown of the potential forms of recovery for cases in Dallas.

Compensatory Damages

There are two main categories of damages in personal injury claims: compensatory and punitive. The compensatory category serves as recompense for the injured party’s accident-related losses.  These are money damages the courts award to an injured person to reimburse what the victim lost. There are two types of damages that fall under the “compensatory” category: special and general damages.

Special and General Damages

Special damages are the economic losses connected to an accident. In Texas, there is currently no cap on special damages in personal injury lawsuits, unless the lawsuit is against a governmental body. In this case, total claims have a limit of $250,000 per person with a $500,000 total cap. Special damages include:

  • Past and future medical bills. Medical bills can rise into the hundreds of thousands for catastrophic injuries. Medical bill damages exist in all personal injury claims, unless the plaintiff only seeks compensation for property damage. Medical costs include hospital stays, surgeries, treatments, x-rays, prescriptions, rehabilitation, medical equipment, therapies, live-in care, and home/vehicle modifications to adapt to a disability.
  • Loss of earnings. Many accidents force victims to stay home from work while they recover. In serious cases, workers may suffer permanent disabilities that mean they can never return to their previous jobs. The Texas courts can award compensation for lost wages from missed time at work, as well as for the lost capacity to earn. This can include lost job, promotion, and raise opportunities.
  • Property damage. Property damage can be a serious expense in personal injury accidents, especially in situations such as car or boating crashes. An injured party can sue for the full cost of what it takes to repair or replace damaged property. Property damage amounts will depend on expert estimates of what retribution for lost property would cost.

Any financial damages that arise out of an accident can fall under the category of special compensatory damages. Otherwise, the damage might be non-economic, or “general.” General damages can include physical pain, emotional trauma, mental distress or anguish, lost quality of or enjoyment life, and loss of consortium. The more catastrophic or permanent the injury, the greater the general damages. A jury will decide on these damages based on how much the injury impacted the victim’s life and future. There is a non-economic damage cap of $250,000 in Texas for medical malpractice claims.

Punitive Damages

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages do not aim to reimburse the victim for losses. Instead, they are additional or exemplary damages that serve to punish the defendant. A claim might result in punitive damages if the defendant’s actions were egregious, malicious, intentional, or grossly negligent.

It’s important to get advice from a legal professional if you are involved in an accident. At Fielding Law, our Mesquite personal injury lawyers can answer any questions you ma have regarding damages or case details. Call us today for a free consultation.