Personal injury law uses the term “damages” to describe injury-related costs. In a personal injury case a plaintiff will demand the defendant for monetary compensation to pay for his or her damages. The plaintiff is granted a settlement if they can file a personal injury claim successfully. Texas law states that there are many types of damages which can be for both tangible and intangible losses.
Most assume that personal injury cases only compensate medical costs. However, this is not always the case. Damages are not restricted to economic cost but also psychological or non-economic losses. A plaintiff can be awarded a settlement for loss of enjoyment for life, disfigurement, or emotional pain or suffering. It’s important to understand that the concept of damages extends past overdue medical bills.
If you’ve been injured by another’s negligence and want to pursue damages, you must contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Houston Attorney for Compensatory Damages in Texas
Keeping track of your damages can help you navigate your personal injury case. Medical bills, lost wages, and other costs can build up quickly. Additionally, you may be eligible to recover damages for non-economic losses such as mental anguish. If you want to file a claim for damages caused by an injury, it’s critical that you contact Horak Law.
Attorney Matthew Horak is an accomplished attorney with years of personal injury experience. Not only is he skilled in Texas civil law, but he has the resources and knowledge you need to recover your damages. Don’t suffer alone. Start recovering today with Matthew Horak at Horak Law.
Horak Law files claims for clients throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area including Meyerland, Brays Oaks, Houston Heights, West University Place, Midtown, and Sharpstown.
Call today at (713) 225-8000 and schedule your free consultation for your case.
Overview of Damages in Texas
- Types of Personal Injury Damages
- Punitive Damages
- Additional Resources
Types of Personal Injury Damages in Texas
The majority of personal injury cases are filed to recover damages for the plaintiff. Often, if the plaintiff is successful the damages are translated into a monetary award known as a settlement. Texas law considers this compensation an attempt at making the injured plaintiff “whole” again.
Civil damages can be either economic or non-economic. Economic damages are easier to quantify since there is normally a market value tied to the property. Some examples of economic damages can be medical costs or lost wages.
Non-economic damages are a little trickier to determine. The jury must deliberate if suffering occurred because of the injury and then calculate the monetary cost of those damages. The following are some different types of compensatory damages found in personal injury cases.
- Medical Costs – Medical expenses can be astronomically high. Typically, the majority of personal injury settlements are composed of medical cost damages. Any treatment, rehabilitation, pharmacy costs or other medical costs for the past or future can be covered in a personal injury monetary award.
- Lost Wages – Missed work or lost wages due to an injury can be covered in a personal injury case. Damages regarding lost wages can include a reduction in earning capacity or if the plaintiff is unable to hold down a job at all. Normally, it’s easier for a jury to calculate the compensatory amount for lost wages.
- Loss of Household Services – Both the plaintiff or the family of the plaintiff can claim this type of economic damages. If the plaintiff performed regular household duties but is unable due to their injury, they may be eligible for compensation for their loss of household services. The plaintiff must be able to provide evidence that their inability to perform these everyday tasks affects the home and the cost of hiring a person to fulfill the role.
- Disability Costs – In some cases a disability or major lifestyle change occurs because of the plaintiff’s injury. If this happens, the plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for disability cost. Household fixtures such as ramps, bathtub handicap features, or other types of lifestyle adjustments.
- Property Loss or Repair – If the use of a defective product, such as a motor vehicle, was the cause for the plaintiff’s injury they may be able to receive damages for property repair or replacement.
- Pain and Suffering – The court may grant compensation for pain and suffering if the plaintiff can prove their distress arose from the injury. Pain and suffering can be difficult to determine. No person experiences pain the same way, and everyone answers the question of pain and suffering differently. This can lead to a wide range of possible awards for those seeking compensation for pain and suffering.
- Mental Anguish – Texas court recognizes mental pain alongside physical pain. If the plaintiff’s accident was particularly disturbing, he or she might be able to gain compensation for mental anguish. Mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may arise from an injury and can disrupt the plaintiff’s daily life.
- Loss of Enjoyment or Physical Impairment – Negligence-related injuries don’t only result in physical injury but the inability to enjoy life as before. Loss of enjoyment damages compensates an injured plaintiff for their limited enjoyment of non-work activities in their lives. For instance, if the plaintiff was blinded by their injury but enjoyed watching films beforehand, he or she may be able to ask for physical impairment damages. The argument would be that they no longer can experience watching films and has lost enjoyment for life because of it.
- Disfigurement – Some injuries can result in serious alteration of the plaintiff’s physical appearance. Injuries that lead to disfigurement such as amputations, facial dislocation, or large scars can be traumatic. The plaintiff must not only juggle medical costs but the social stigma that originates from disfigurement. A personal injury attorney can show the differences in appearance to prove that he or she deserves damage recovery for disfigurement.
- Loss of Consortium – In some cases the plaintiff can’t interact with their family or friends as they had before and their spousal or romantic relationship may suffer. If this occurs, a personal injury attorney can ask for damage recovery for loss of consortium.
A personal injury case can extend past both economic and non-economic damages. If the defendant’s conduct was outrageously negligent or reckless, the plaintiff might be able to recover punitive damages in addition to their original settlement.
Punitive damages are not a way to “make the plaintiff whole.” Instead, they are a punishment for the defendant. Since the defendant is not in criminal court the punitive damages act as a deterrent for any repeat behavior. The cap for Texas’s punitive damages is:
- $200,000; OR
- Twice the amount of economic damages plus the amount equal to non-economic damages up to $750,000.
If the act that caused the injury was a felony offense there is no cap for punitive damages.
Texas Civil Damage Laws – Visit the official website for Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a collection of Texas civil laws. Find more information on personal injury damages, how they are recovered, when a person is eligible for punitive damages and more.
Filing Small Claims – Visit the official website for the Harris County Justice of the Peace Courts and find more information surrounding filing civil claims in Harris County courts. Learn the steps to filing a claim, the fees for filing a claim, and the civil court process in Texas.
Lawyer for Damages in Harris County, Texas
Have you sustained an injury by another’s negligence or reckless actions? Are you unsure on how to calculate your damages? If so, it’s important that you act now and seek trusted legal representation from a personal injury attorney.
Matthew Horak is a skilled attorney who is dedicated to helping his client’s recover. He understands how overwhelming juggling an injury and legal logistics can be. Let Horak Law help you recuperate and guide you through this process. Call Matthew Horak at (713) 225-8000 to discuss your damages today.
Horak Law files claims for victims of negligence throughout the greater Harris County area and surrounding counties including Montgomery County, Liberty County, Fort Bend County, and Galveston County.
This article was last updated on November 27, 2018.