If you have been injured in an accident in Texas, you may be wondering how much you can sue for in a personal injury lawsuit. The answer is not simple, as many factors can affect the compensation you may receive. This article will explore the damages that can be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit in Texas and how they are calculated.
Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Economic damages, also known as special damages, are the tangible financial losses a person incurs due to injury. These damages are meant to compensate the injured party for any out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred or will incur. Economic damages can include:
- Medical expenses: This includes the cost of any medical treatment related to the injury, such as hospital bills, doctor’s visits, medication, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages: If the injury has caused the victim to miss work, they may be entitled to compensation for the wages they would have earned during that time.
- Loss of earning capacity: If the injury has resulted in a permanent disability that affects the victim’s ability to work, they may be entitled to compensation for the loss of future earning capacity, also called lost wages.
- Property damage: If the accident caused damage to the victim’s property, such as their car, they may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
Non-economic or general damages are the intangible losses a person experiences due to their injury. These damages are meant to compensate the victim for their physical and emotional pain and suffering. Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and suffering: This includes physical pain and discomfort caused by the injury, as well as emotional distress such as anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Mental anguish: If the injury has caused the victim to experience mental anguish, such as PTSD or insomnia, they may be entitled to compensation for this as well.
- Loss of consortium: If the injury has affected the victim’s relationship with their spouse, they may be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship and support.
In rare cases, a court may award punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit. These damages punish the defendant for reckless or intentional actions and deter others from engaging in similar behavior. In Texas, punitive damages are limited to the greater of $200,000 or two times the amount of economic damages plus an equal amount of non-economic damages, up to a maximum of $750,000. Our punitive damage lawyer has been winning punitive damage cases for decades.
How Are Damages Calculated in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The amount of damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit is determined by a jury or a judge, depending on the type of trial. In Texas, if the case goes to trial, a jury will determine the damages to be awarded. However, if both parties agree, a judge can decide the case.
Calculating economic damages is relatively straightforward, as they are based on actual expenses incurred by the victim. The victim’s attorney will gather all relevant documentation, such as medical bills and pay stubs, to determine the total economic damages.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate as they are not based on actual expenses. Instead, they are based on the injury’s severity and its impact on the victim’s life. To determine the amount of non-economic damages, the victim’s attorney may use a multiplier method, where the economic damages are multiplied by a certain number (usually between 1.5 and 5) to account for the intangible losses.
At Baumgartner Law Firm, we do not use a multiplier method and instead use our 35 years of experience to gauge all the factors to determine a reasonable settlement amount.
Punitive damages are not awarded in every personal injury case. When they are, the jury or judge determines the amount based on the defendant’s conduct and the severity of the injury. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant, so the amount awarded may be higher in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious. An example of when punitive damages are sought would be a drunk driver hitting another car.
Factors That Can Affect the Amount of Compensation
Several factors can affect the compensation awarded in a personal injury lawsuit in Texas. These include:
- The severity of the injury: Generally, the more severe the injury, the higher the compensation awarded.
- The victim’s age: Younger victims may receive higher compensation for non-economic damages, as they have more years of life to be impacted by the injury.
- The victim’s occupation: If the victim has a physically demanding job, they may receive higher compensation for lost wages and loss of earning capacity.
- The defendant’s conduct: If the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or intentional, the amount of punitive damages awarded may be higher.
- The victim’s comparative fault: If the victim is found to be partially at fault for the accident, their compensation may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them.
- The type of claim can impact compensation.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Compensation in Texas Varies
Generally, there is no limit to the amount of compensation one can seek in Texas. However, there are some exceptions.
Personal Injury Compensation is Limited in Texas in Some Cases
Factors Impacting Compensation
In Texas, the compensation awarded in a personal injury lawsuit can vary based on several factors. These factors include the severity of the injury, the victim’s age and occupation, the defendant’s conduct, and the victim’s comparative fault.
Generally, the more severe the injury, the higher the compensation awarded. Younger victims may receive higher compensation for non-economic damages due to the longer impact on their lives. Victims with physically demanding jobs may receive higher compensation for lost wages and loss of earning capacity.
If the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or intentional, the amount of punitive damages awarded may be higher. Additionally, if the victim is found to be partially at fault for the accident, their injury settlement compensation may be reduced based on the percentage of fault assigned to them.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Texas?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the injury. You have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file within this time frame, you may lose your right to seek compensation. Some exceptions can impact the deadlines for a claim. Contact a personal injury lawyer near you for answers on your case.
The compensation in a personal injury lawsuit in Texas depends on many factors, including the type and severity of your injury, age and occupation, and the defendant’s conduct. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve is important. If you have been injured in an accident, don’t wait – contact a personal injury attorney today to discuss your case.
Please note that the information provided is based on general guidelines, and it’s always recommended to consult with a legal professional for specific advice regarding personal injury lawsuits in Texas.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!
Contact Baumgartner Law Firm for Questions About Personal Injury Claims in Texas.
Our team is considered among the best personal injury law firms in Texas. Contact Baumgartner Law Firm for a free consultation.
6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069