If you were seriously injured due to the negligence of another person or company, you may be wondering how much your personal injury lawsuit is worth.
This post gives a general overview of how courts in Texas evaluate the amount of damages an injured person will be awarded in a personal injury case. It is not a substitute for talking to an attorney. Only an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer can give you legal advice about the value of your claim.
What Types of Damages Can I Get in a Personal Injury Case?
The key to calculating how much your lawsuit is worth is understanding the different types of damages available to personal injury victims in Texas. Under Texas law, there are two types of damages you may be awarded: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
As the name suggests, compensatory damages are designed to compensate an injured person for their monetary losses. These damages are awarded to someone to make him or her “whole” again from a financial perspective (to the extent that it’s possible) or to make up for what was taken. These are most of the general categories of damages that are recoverable under Texas law:
- Medical treatment. You may be entitled to receive damages for the cost of any past medical treatment you received as a result of your injuries, as well as medical care that you’ll need in the future. This includes money for visits to specialists like physical therapists, plastic surgeons, and chiropractors. It can also include money for future surgies.
- Property damage. If your property (such as your car) was damaged in the accident, you should be compensated for the loss in value of that property. Generally speaking, you are entitled to have your car repaired or be paid the fair market value of the vehicle.
- Loss of income. Some injuries are so serious that you are unable to return work. If you had to take time off of work to recover from an accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for lost wages under Texas law.
- Reduced earning capacity. If your ability to earn money is permanently impacted by a serious injury, you should be compensated for the amount of income you’ll no longer be able to earn over the course of your lifetime.
- Pain and suffering. It can take weeks, months, or even years to recover from a serious accident. If you had a lengthy recovery following a serious injury, you may be awarded money to compensate you for the pain and suffering you endured.
- Emotional distress. A car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident can be a traumatic, life-changing event. If you suffered from anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks, insomnia, depression, or PTSD after an accident, you should be compensated for the mental anguish you’ve had to endure.
When determining how much your injury claim is worth, some compensatory damages are easy to calculate. For example, you probably have medical bills showing the cost of your past medical treatment, or you can refer to a vehicle valuation service like Kelley Blue Book to establish the value of your vehicle.
However, it can be much harder to assign a dollar value on something like pain and suffering. This is why it’s so important to hire an aggressive injury lawyer who will fight for every dollar you deserve.
If the at-fault party in your accident was extremely careless, you may be entitled to special damages known as “punitive damages.” Under Texas law, punitive damage awards may be issued in cases involving gross negligence by a defendant. These awards are designed to act as a deterrent for reckless and dangerous behavior.
Your lawyer can determine whether it’s appropriate to ask for punitive damages in your case. This will be a major factor in determining how much your claim is worth.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?
When determining how much your lawsuit is worth, your lawyer will review the facts of your case to see if you might have been partially at fault for your injuries. In Texas, this will impact how much your claim is worth because the courts apply what is known as a “modified comparative fault rule.”
For example, if the total amount of damages you are entitled to after an accident is $100,000, but you were deemed 25% at fault for the accident, you would receive $75,000. If your total amount of damages is $100,000 but you were 60% at fault for the accident, you would not receive anything because of the modified comparative fault rule.
Under Texas law, your damages award will be reduced by your relative percentage of fault up to 50%. If you are more than 50% responsible for an accident, Texas law does not allow you to recover any damages. Because of this “51% bar rule,” you may receive nothing for your injuries and other losses even if you were seriously hurt in your accident. This is another reason why it’s critical to hire a lawyer who will fight to protect your interests and build a strong case against the other side.
Sutliff & Stout Are Experienced Texas Personal Injury Lawyers
If you live in Houston or the surrounding areas and were injured in an accident, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Sutliff & Stout can help you understand how much your personal injury lawsuit is worth. Although we can never make any promises or guarantees about the amount of compensation you’ll receive, our lawyers have successfully handled numerous personal injury lawsuits and have achieved outstanding results for clients like you.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation about how much your personal injury claim is worth, please call or text our office anytime at 281-853-8446.