One minute someone is healthy and carefree, the next they are in the emergency room wondering what happened and if their life will ever be the same. Fortunately, Texas law allows victims who have been hurt due to someone else’s negligence to seek damages – that is, monetary compensation – for the harm they have suffered.
There are different types of damages in Texas personal injury cases, but the most common are economic damages – and that’s the type that will be the focus of this article.
Our experienced attorneys at Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group will explain economic damages in Texas personal injury cases, including what they cover, how they are calculated, and how our law firm can help get you the maximum compensation you deserve.
Types of Economic Damages in Texas Personal Injury Cases
Economic damages in Texas personal injury cases are codified in Section 41.001 (4) of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. It defines economic damages as “compensatory damages intended to compensate a claimant for actual economic or pecuniary loss.”
In layman’s terms, economic damages in Texas personal injury cases are intended to compensate a plaintiff (the injured person) for financial losses caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing. Economic damages are tangible, quantifiable losses – in other words, they can be accurately measured, such as lost wages or medical bills. Economic damages in Texas personal injury cases include:
These can involve costs for ambulance services, hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, rehabilitation, medication, and any necessary medical equipment like wheelchairs or prosthetics.
Future Medical Costs
If the injury requires ongoing medical treatment or long-term care, those future costs are also considered.
If the injury causes the victim to miss work, the wages lost during that time are recoverable.
Loss of Earning Capacity
If the injury results in a long-term or permanent disability that reduces the victim’s ability to earn as much as they did before the accident, they can claim compensation for this loss.
If the incident caused damage to the victim’s property, such as a vehicle in a car accident, the cost of repair or replacement is included.
Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses
This can include any other costs directly related to the injury, such as transportation to medical appointments or hiring help for household duties the victim can’t perform due to the injury.
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, it is essential to have an experienced attorney handle your case so that you can receive the full amount of compensation for which you are entitled. At Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group, we will calculate all of your economic damages, including past and future medical costs, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity to ensure you are adequately compensated for your losses now.
You only get one chance to get this right. If you underestimate the value of your claim, you could be in a poor financial state in the future. Our attorneys understand the nuances of Texas personal injury law and are committed to fighting for every penny you deserve.
Victims Entitled to Economic Damages in Texas Personal Injury Cases
In Texas personal injury cases, the person who suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing is typically entitled to claim economic damages. This could include the injured person himself/herself (plaintiff), or in certain cases, a representative acting on their behalf. For example:
The Injured Party
The person who has been directly injured due to another’s fault can claim economic damages to compensate for their financial losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.
Parents of a Minor
If the injured party is a minor, the parents or legal guardians can typically claim economic damages on behalf of the child.
Estate or Heirs in Wrongful Death Cases
If the injury results in a wrongful death, the decedent’s estate or their heirs (such as a spouse, children, or parents) can claim economic damages for costs such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, and lost earning potential.
It’s important to note that this is just a general overview of potential victims entitled to compensation. It’s important to speak to an experienced attorney to understand the facts and circumstances of your specific situation.
Proving Negligence in Texas Personal Injury Cases
In Texas, proving negligence in personal injury cases typically involves establishing four key elements:
1. Duty: The defendant had a legal duty to act (or not act) in a certain way. For example, drivers have a duty to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely.
2. Breach: The defendant breached that duty by acting (or failing to act) in a certain way. This could involve actions like speeding, driving while intoxicated, or failing to maintain safe premises.
3. Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s injury. This means that the injury would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s actions.
4. Damages: The plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the injury. This can include physical injury, economic losses such as medical expenses and lost wages, and non-economic losses like pain and suffering.
These elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which means it is more likely than not that the defendant was negligent. Proving negligence often requires thorough investigation, collection of evidence, and legal analysis. An experienced personal injury attorney at Varghese Summersett can help navigate this process and build a strong case for negligence.
How to Show Economic Damages in Texas Personal Injury Cases
Proving economic damages in personal injury cases often involves a combination of documentation, expert testimony, and legal strategy. Here’s the general process:
Gather all medical bills related to the injury. This includes costs for hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, medications, and any necessary medical equipment.
Future Medical Costs
If the injury requires ongoing medical treatment, a medical expert may need to quantify the estimated costs of future care. This can include expected surgeries, therapies, and long-term care needs.
Proving lost wages typically involves providing pay stubs, tax returns, or employer statements to demonstrate the income you would have earned if not for the injury.
Loss of Earning Capacity
If the injury impacts your ability to work in the future, an economic expert may need to explain the potential loss of future earnings. This could involve analyzing your income history, job market trends, and the impact of the injury on your work capabilities.
If applicable, provide repair bills or replacement cost estimates for any property damage related to the injury.
Keep receipts for any other costs related to the injury. This could include transportation to medical appointments or costs for home modifications needed due to the injury.
The team at Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group will help gather and present evidence to effectively to prove economic damages in your case.
Calculating Economic Damages In Texas Personal Injury Cases
Calculating economic damages in a Texas personal injury case is a meticulous process that requires comprehensive documentation, and often, the expertise of financial, medical and vocational experts.
To arrive at a fair settlement, an experienced personal injury attorney will work with professionals to add up all medical bills, future medical costs, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage and out-of-pocket expenses. Again, calculating damages is extremely important, which is why it should be left to professionals. If you undervalue your claim, you may not receive the full compensation you need long-term.
Please take a moment to watch this video by attorney Ty Stimpson who explains how to determine the value of a personal injury case.
Seeking Compensation for Economic Damages in Texas Personal Injury Cases
Seeking compensation for economic damages in a personal injury case is a multi-step process that requires gathering evidence, filing legal documents, and potentially, negotiating or litigating the case. Here’s a general overview of the process:
- Hire a Personal Injury Attorney: An experienced personal injury attorney, like those at Varghese Summersett, can guide you through the legal process, advocate on your behalf, and help maximize your compensation.
- Medical Treatment and Documentation: Seek necessary medical treatment immediately after the accident. Keep detailed records of your injuries and treatment, including all medical bills, doctor’s notes, and prescriptions.
- Investigation and Evidence Gathering: Your attorney will gather evidence about the accident and your injuries. This may include police reports, witness statements, photos, video footage, and expert opinions.
- Calculation of Damages: Your attorney will calculate the total economic damages you’ve suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and other out-of-pocket costs. This may involve working with medical and financial experts.
- Filing a Claim: Your attorney will file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, outlining your injuries and the compensation you’re seeking.
- Negotiation: Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement. If a settlement can’t be reached, your case may proceed to trial.
- Trial: If your case goes to trial, your attorney will present your case to a judge or jury, who will then decide the outcome.
- Receiving Compensation: If your claim is successful, either through settlement or trial, you’ll receive compensation for your economic damages.
Remember, the specifics of this process can vary depending on the details of your case. It’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can navigate the legal process and advocate for your best interests.
How Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group Can Help.
When people are injured in an accident, they are often overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn. At Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group, our experienced attorneys understand the complexities of Texas personal injury cases and can help you receive the full compensation you deserve.
Our team will develop a comprehensive case on your behalf, provide personalized legal counsel, and handle all negotiations with the insurance company. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we’ll be ready to take your case to trial.
Best of all, our services will not cost you anything up-front or out-of-pocket. We work on contingency, which means you only pay us after we successfully resolve your case. To learn more, contact Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group for a free consultation at 817-207-4878.
FAQs about Personal Injury Damages in Texas
Being an “at-fault” state refers to how a state handles insurance claims in the event of an accident. In at-fault states, like Texas, the party who is determined to be at fault for causing the accident is responsible for paying the damages resulting from the accident. This is usually done through their insurance company.
This is different from “no-fault” states, where each person’s own insurance policy pays for their damages, regardless of who caused the accident.
In an at-fault state, if you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, you typically have three options:
- File a claim with your own insurance company, which will then seek reimbursement from the at-fault’s insurer.
- File a third-party claim directly with the at-fault’s insurance company.
- File a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Whether the incident involves a slip and fall, a dog bite, or a construction accident, the principle remains the same in Texas: the party who is found to be at fault, or negligent, is typically held responsible for compensating the injured party for their damages.
It’s important to note that Texas also follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for your injuries, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you may not be able to recover any compensation.
Because determining fault and navigating the legal process can be complex, it’s crucial to have experienced legal representation. The attorneys at Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group are well-versed in Texas personal injury law and can guide you through the process.
Compensatory damages, as the name suggests, are intended to compensate the injured party in a personal injury case for the losses they have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act. In Texas, compensatory damages are classified into two types: economic damages and non-economic damages.
- Economic Damages: These are tangible, out-of-pocket expenses that can be calculated and proven with bills, receipts, or wage statements. They include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and property damage. For example, if an individual was injured in a car accident and had to pay for medical treatment and car repairs, those costs would be considered economic damages.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are intangible losses that can’t be easily measured in dollars and cents, but nonetheless have a significant impact on the injured person’s life. They include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and loss of consortium (the loss of companionship and support from a spouse or family member).
At Varghese Summersett, our experienced attorneys work diligently to ensure that our clients receive full and fair compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. We understand the complexities of personal injury law in Texas and use our knowledge and skills to advocate for our client’s best interests.
While economic damages cover quantifiable losses, non-economic damages compensate for subjective, non-monetary losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Non-economic damages are difficult to quantify with a dollar amount.
Under Texas law, there are no caps on economic damages in most personal injury cases, meaning plaintiffs can recover the full amount of their quantifiable losses. However, Texas law does place caps or limits on non-economic damages in certain types of cases, such as medical malpractice or wrongful death stemming from medical malpractice. There is also a cap on punitive damages.
Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, is a type of damage awarded in some personal injury cases in Texas. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are intended to compensate the victim for their losses, punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar misconduct in the future.
Texas law allows for exemplary damages in cases where the plaintiff can prove that the defendant’s actions were fraudulent, malicious, or grossly negligent. This means the defendant knew their actions involved an extreme risk of harm but consciously chose to proceed.
It’s important to note that in Texas, exemplary damages are capped. The limit is usually the larger of $200,000 or two times the amount of economic damages plus an amount equal to any non-economic damages, up to a maximum of $750,000.
However, there are exceptions to this cap in certain cases, such as those involving serious criminal acts. Given the complexity of these issues, if you believe your case may warrant punitive damages, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney like those at Varghese Summersett.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is generally two years from the date of the incident. This means that you have two years from the date you were injured to file a claim or you could be barred from recovering damages.
No, you don’t have to have a lawyer, but you will decrease your chance of success without one. A personal injury lawyer plays a crucial role in pursuing damages. From gathering evidence and calculating the total damages to negotiating with insurance companies and representing the victim in court, a lawyer is a valuable ally.
At Varghese Summersett, our lawyers are committed to helping our clients recover the compensation they deserve. Call us today at (817) 207-4878 for a free consultation.
At Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group, we understand that the financial burden of an injury can be overwhelming. That’s why we operate on a contingency fee basis for personal injury cases. This means you don’t pay us any attorney’s fees upfront, and we only get paid if we recover compensation for you.
In a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer’s fees are a percentage of the settlement or judgment that you receive if your case is successful. If no recovery is made, you won’t owe us anything for attorney’s fees.
This arrangement allows you to seek the legal representation you deserve without worrying about the cost. It also aligns our interests with yours – we are incentivized to obtain the best possible outcome for you because our compensation is directly tied to your recovery.
Remember, initial consultations are free. We encourage you to reach out to us at (817) 207-4878 if you or a loved one has been injured. Let us help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.