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Economic and Non-Economic Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

After an accident in Texas, you may be eligible for financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. The purpose of a personal injury claim is to compensate the injured victim for the losses he or she sustained due to the at-fault party’s actions. If you can successfully prove the at-fault party’s negligence, you can receive compensatory damages to recover from the financial, emotional, and physical impact of your accident. In Texas, there are two types of damages you can receive: economic and non-economic.

What Are Economic Damages?

Economic damages refer to the financial losses you sustained due to the accident. You can calculate these losses using documents such as invoices, bills, paystubs, timecards, and other physical pieces of evidence.

Common types of economic damages include the following.

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Property damage
  • Transportation to and from medical appointments

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, involve the physical and emotional losses you experienced as a result of the accident. Also known as pain and suffering damages, these losses are intangible and can be difficult to calculate. Your McAllen personal injury attorney will use certain formulas and case strategies to determine which non-economic damages you qualify for.

Common types of non-economic damages include the following.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Chronic pain
  • Permanent disability
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of care, companionship, and consortium

Does Texas Allow Punitive Damages?

In addition to economic and non-economic losses, you may qualify for a third category of compensation known as punitive damages. While economic and non-economic damages compensate you for the losses you sustained due to the accident, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party.

Texas awards punitive damages in cases involving fraud, malice, or gross negligence. For example, a driver who uses alcohol before crashing into your vehicle may be liable for punitive damages as well as your other losses. Your attorney can evaluate your case and determine if you have grounds to ask for this form of compensation.

Damage Caps in Texas

The state of Texas does establish caps, or limits, on the amount of certain damages that plaintiffs may ask for. You can always recover the total amount of economic damages that you lost due to the accident. However, there is a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims.

You cannot recover more than $250,000 in non-economic damages from individual healthcare providers, and you cannot recover more than $250,000 in non-economic damages from each facility involved in your claim. Additionally, you cannot recover more than $500,000 in non-economic damages from all healthcare facilities in your lawsuit. The maximum amount of non-economic damages you can recover in a medical malpractice claim is $750,000.

There is also a cap for punitive damages. Texas caps punitive damages at the greater of $200,000, or two times the amount of economic damages plus the amount of non-economic damages. You cannot recover more than $750,000 in punitive damages unless the at-fault party committed a felony.

If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit in Texas, determining the full extent of your compensation can be a challenge. In these situations, trust a personal injury attorney to handle your claim and calculate your estimated award. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to discuss your optimal path to compensation.