If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, work-related accident, slip and fall, or other kind of incident as a result of another party, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. When filing a personal injury case, injured plaintiffs typically want to know what type of compensation or recovery they will be able to receive. The value of your case is determined by the “damages” – physical, monetarily, mental, and emotional injuries – you have had to carry.
At the law office of Lapeze & Johns, our Houston personal injury attorneys believe it is our duty to ensure our clients are well informed and have sufficient information in order to make the best decisions possible in regards to their own situation. Some of the most important information we can impart is explaining the various types of damages that a plaintiff can receive in a personal injury case.
What are damages?
In the legal world, damages are an attempt to measure the financial burdens a plaintiff has suffered as a result of their injury caused by the defendant’s actions. There are various forms of damages that can be awarded to a winning plaintiff including:
- Compensatory damages – these are the damages the defendant must pay for the injuries they caused.
- Punitive damages – this form of damage is meant as a punishment to the losing party and are essentially charged as a fine. Punitive damages may be limited by state law.
- Nominal damages – nominal damages are paid if the plaintiff can prove they were technically injured by the defendant but cannot prove loss that must be compensated.
Most personal injury damages will fall under this category and are intended to make the injured party “whole”. While certain compensatory damages are relatively easy to calculate – such as damages for medical bills – others such as pain and suffering are more challenging to accurately quantify. In the state of Texas, these damages can include:
- Medical expenses – this damage accounts for the costs of medical care related to the accident. This can include reimbursement for treatments the plaintiff has already received and estimated future costs of medical care should the injury warrant it.
- Loss of earnings – refers to lost wages that would have been made while working had the personal injury not occurred. Loss of earnings may cover not only what you have lost financially as a result of being out of work but can also cover reduction in wages if the injured party can no longer perform their job and must move into a lower-paying position.
- Loss of future earning capacity and household services – should a personal injury result in a debilitating injury or loss of life, these two forms of damages may be taken into account by the judge or jury. Loss of future earning capacity damages takes into account future projected earnings based on prices set by the job market. Loss of household services can be claimed by the spouses and parents of a deceased personal injury victim and covers the monetary value of duties which the injured party would have potentially accomplished around the home.
Additional Compensatory Damages
In the state of Texas, non-economic damages are another form of compensatory damages that take into account general harm a personal injury victim suffers. The most common of these types of damages include:
- Pain and suffering – plaintiffs may be compensated for the discomfort of having gone through the accident and the effects felt in the aftermath of the incident.
- Emotional distress/mental anguish – these forms of damages are usually provided to the plaintiff if their accident was very serious and traumatic. If the injury causes a psychological effect on the injured party such as anxiety or sleep loss, this damage is awarded.
- Physical impairment – this damage is paid to victims of accidents who are no longer able to enjoy day-to-day physical activities, hobbies, or exercise.
- Disfigurement – when the personal injury causes a major alteration to the physical appearance of the plaintiff and inhibits their ability to live a “normal life”, disfigurement damages may get paid out.
- Loss of consortium – these damages are related to the plaintiff’s relationship with legally recognized individuals; generally the spouse and children of the injured party. If the relationships are negatively affected by the injury then loss of consortium damages may be considered.
Personal injury victims should be aware that not every one of these damages can be recovered in every case. Our Houston personal injury attorneys will help you pursue those that are most valid for your specific situation.
Punitive damages are charged in cases where the defendant was extremely careless and negligent in their behavior. These are intended as a punishment and deterrent for future improper behavior. Most states have limitations on punitive damages in personal injury cases.
If you have suffered a personal injury, contact the injury lawyers at Lapeze & Johns today to get your free case evaluation.
With 35 years of total experience, a 95% success rate, and over $350 million recovered for clients, Lapeze & Johns are the car accident attorneys you deserve to have on your side.
Contact our office at (713) 714-4843 to schedule your free consultation today.