What Are Economic Damages in a Houston Personal Injury Case?
Emotional frustration and financial strain often follow a personal injury. Those who sustain serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence may be entitled to compensation for their losses. This compensation is known as damages, and it could make your post-accident life easier.
What are Damages?
Damages is the monetary compensation you receive from another party who wronged you in some way. Generally, you receive either compensatory damages or punitive damages. Compensatory damages fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages compensate for financial losses following your injuries, such as medical bills and damaged property. These are easy to prove because you can provide financial records. Non-economic damages compensate for non-financial harms after an injury, like reduced quality of life and pain and suffering.
Courts may assess punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter similar future conduct. The at-fault party’s behavior must have been shocking, going beyond general negligence.
Since economic damages are easy to quantify and demonstrate through documentation, they generally make up the bulk of compensation in a civil case. Each state has individual approaches and unique statutes detailing remedies for civil cases, including Texas.
What Economic Damages Can I Recover in Texas?
If you win a personal injury case in Texas, you will likely receive economic damages to compensate you for financial losses. Though the following categories aren’t necessarily your only options, they represent the vast majority of economic damages awarded to victims.
You are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses after a personal injury. For injury victims, the cost of emergency care, testing, and treatment can be overwhelming. Factor in therapy and rehabilitation costs, and you could be looking at a sizable recovery.
Aside from damage to your person, if you lost property due to the other party’s negligence, you could be compensated. For example, if you were in a car accident that totaled your vehicle, you probably need a new one. The compensation could include enough to replace your lost automobile.
Lost Wages and Future Earnings
Did you miss work following the accident? If the injuries you sustained in the accident caused you to take time off or leave your job, even temporarily, you could receive compensation for those lost wages.
Some injuries are so severe that the victim cannot return to the same type of work. The lost opportunity to earn wages in the future could enhance your compensation package.
Determining Economic Damages in Texas
As noted above, economic damages are easier to determine because you generally have a paper trail. However, it can be a complicated process, so documentation is critical.
It’s a good idea to keep a file for your documents, including medical bills, pay stubs and tax documents, and all statements regarding damage to your private property. You may want to hire an attorney to help you document everything and ensure you get the best possible award.
Are You Entitled to Economic Damages in Texas?
To win a civil case and receive damages, you have to prove several elements. It’s important to understand the elements involved so that you can gather the necessary evidence and support for your case.
Most personal injury cases are based on the legal theory of negligence and require proof of the following four elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. This means the other party had a legal responsibility to behave in a certain way to avoid the accident. For example, drivers have a duty to obey traffic laws.
- The defendant breached their duty. Breach of duty means the defendant failed to act responsibly. Common examples include running a red light and excessive speeding.
- The defendant’s breach caused you harm. Causation connects the defendant’s breach of duty with the accident. For example, if the defendant hadn’t run the red light then they wouldn’t have struck the claimant’s car.
- You suffered damages. Damages had to occur as a result of the accident, and you must have documentation to support the amount of compensation requested.
Even if you can prove the defendant negligently caused your injuries, other legal rules may limit your recovery. For example, if you were partially at fault for your accident, your damages will be reduced to account for your share of blame. If you were more than 50% responsible for your accident, Texas law bars you from recovering compensation at all.
Economic damages can’t replace everything you lost in an accident, but they can help ease some of the stress and financial strain. Keep in mind, personal injury cases can take some time to complete, so it’s not a quick fix. Contact our Houston personal injury lawyers near you to help you pursue economic damages after an injury. Call us at (713) 500-5000 to get started today.