If you were injured in a car accident, you might be wondering whether it’s really worth it to do anything other than try to run things by your insurance company and/or the other driver’s insurance company. In Texas, if you were injured in a wreck that was caused by someone else, you do have the legal right to file a civil lawsuit for financial damages, and you can get compensated by the at-fault party or parties. But what can you expect in terms of the types of damages recoverable for car accident injuries?
Damages Available Under Texas Law
Damages represent the compensation a driver or passenger may recover from the person responsible for causing a car accident. In the aftermath of a crash, victims may be entitled to various types of compensation for their losses. In personal injury law, damages fall into one of two categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Typically, compensatory damages are the main focus of recovery in a Texas car accident case as they are meant to compensate the injured parties for losses, while punitive damages are imposed to economically punish the defendant for their actions. Additionally, under Texas law compensatory damages can be categorized as either economic or non-economic.
Economic damages are quantifiable in nature, meaning they are the types of damages that can be financially calculated. They serve to compensate a victim for actual monetary losses they incurred as a result of a car accident, including:
- Medical bills, including emergency care after the accident, physical therapy, medication, and more
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost income
- Home health care
- Property damage
Non-economic damages are hard to calculate in dollars because they are subjective, making them hard to estimate without the insight of an experienced personal injury lawyer. They compensate the injured party for intangible issues caused by the car accident, including:
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of services
- Pain and suffering
Punitive damages serve to “punish” the party responsible for causing the injury for bad or illegal behavior, with the intent of discouraging such behavior from occurring again in the future. These damages are not compensatory because they aren’t meted out to compensate the victim per se. They are awarded to punish bad behavior and deter the same behavior in the future. These damages are usually only awarded when gross negligence – intent to harm or reckless disregard for the potential to cause harm – can be proven. Texas state law places caps or limits on the amount of punitive or exemplary damages that can be awarded.
Corpus Christi, Texas Car Accident Injuries
If you’ve been injured in a Corpus Christi area traffic accident, you need to talk with a local car accident lawyer to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve. John T. Flood has handled injury cases for over 30 years. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help.