Necessary Information about Texas Personal Injury Damages
When you are in an accident and have experienced an injury, you’re likely getting advice from a lot of well-meaning friends and family members. They are giving you advice as far as how much you should expect to be compensated for the damages that were incurred. Unfortunately, without the proper legal training, those individuals are not going to give you the proper advice that is going to stand up under Texas law. In fact, changes in the law can make a difference in your personal injury damages and it is necessary to approach the entire issue with the right expectations from the start.
Texas is a rather unusual state when it comes to personal injury damages. Some rather significant changes have recently taken place under what is known as the “tort reform”. Those changes have affected the way that individuals could receive compensation for their personal injury cases. In fact, changes occurred across the board and could even affect individuals who were injured, even though they weren’t at fault. There has also been a lot of movement by insurance groups who are trying to misdirect the public and stop these cases from moving forward, claiming that it is the greed of lawyers or that the case itself is frivolous. Of course, it is the insurance company that really benefits from those claims.
When you see claims on the news, it is often the largest cases that involve millions of dollars and they can leave an impression in the mind of the viewers. Many of those viewers think that multimillion dollar cases occur on a daily basis but they rarely ever occur. It is the day-to-day cases that go through the court that really matter because they affect real people, even though they aren’t sensational enough to appear on the nightly news.
When you get right down to it, there are two different types of damages in the state of Texas for personal injury cases. They involve the human element as well as economic damages.
A Look at Economic Damages
In most accidents, there is going to be some form of monetary loss that results because of the accident directly. It could be the money you spend on medical care and for treating your injuries or it could even be a matter of lost wages, either temporarily or perhaps even by affecting your ability to earn money permanently.
It could be illustrated by a driver who was rear-ended while sitting at a red light.
After the paramedics show up at such a scene, they may check you and, if requested, you could be taken to the emergency room for further treatment. The doctors at the emergency room may also want you to see a specialist to get additional care or they may ask that you go to your family doctor for assistance. The injuries that you incurred as a result of the accident cause you to miss work and you can’t get paid during that time. You also need to think about the cost of the medical expenses, testing and even any medication that may be needed after the accident occurs. The lost wages and medical expenses that can be directly tied to the accident are part of the economic damages.
You may also have other types of economic damages to consider as well. These could include having somebody come in to clean your home because you are unable to do so as a result of injuries incurred during the accident.
The state of Texas will set maximum limits on how much can be recouped for loss of earnings and for medical expenses. Tort reform is going to play into this because it affects how much an individual is able to get in these types of cases.
A Look at Human Damages
There are also other types of damages that are not directly related to physical damages associated with the injury. You may also be able to be compensated for some of those damages after the accident occurs. Pain-and-suffering is the term that is commonly used for this type of damage. This is where things can get a little bit tricky. After your medical expenses are paid and you are covered for the lost of wages, you may actually have to go before a jury so that they can calculate how much you should receive for pain-and-suffering.
Human damages may take on many different forms but they may include the following:
Some people may suffer from excessive mental anguish and physical pain may certainly be a problem after an accident occurs. If disfigurement is involved, that can also be considered part of the equation as is any physical impairments that you may experience as a result of the accident.
There are many factors that can impact the damages that are paid out to individuals in an accident. Sometimes, it may involve the opinions of attorneys who are covering these cases and those opinions can vary quite widely, depending on public opinion in many cases. There is one important thing to keep in mind for any type of personal injury case, however, and that is the witnesses who provide testimony during the court case. When a credible witness is part of the equation on your side, things often work out in your favor.
Many people question the ability of a court system, including jurors, to fairly judge the need for an individual to be compensated as a result of an injury. The people who are actually making the judgment in these cases don’t know the injured party on a personal basis and more than likely, they are only interested in leaving the courthouse as soon as possible. The insurance groups have really made it difficult because they have swayed public opinion and made many people skeptical about providing any damages to the victim in such cases. When somebody isn’t directly involved in the problem, they often can’t piece things together by only hearing the testimony of a stranger.
Those testifying against the victim may also be swayed in some way or another. Doctors can sometimes make a significant amount of money by being part of these cases and testifying that things aren’t as bad as they seem. The only hope that you have is to choose a Corpus Christi TX personal injury lawyer that is able to overcome this issue.
When a doctor gets on the stand and talks in front of a jury in such a way, it can really impact the outcome of the case. The insurance companies will routinely pay those doctors to say that the injuries are real or that they preexisted before the accident occurred. You may think that this is just a conspiracy, but it happens all of the time in Corpus Christi, Texas and in many other courts throughout the state.
A Look at Exemplary Damages
Punitive or exemplary damages may sometimes be considered appropriate but it is exceedingly rare. In fact, there are politicians who regularly work to remove punitive damage claims from the court system altogether. Most court cases can consider punitive damages to be a part and it is often on the shoulders of the defendant, who really has to show some unusual conduct in order to incur those damages. For example, punitive damages may be considered if somebody was drinking all afternoon and then got in an accident. There are also maximum limits set by the state of Texas that hold punitive damages within the limits set by human and economic damages.
When you get right down to it, no two cases are going to be alike and it is necessary to consider all factors when determining both human and economic damages. When those factors are in place, it may be possible for the insurance coverage to kick in.