How Non-economic Damages Work in Texas.
After a serious accident, victims have to deal with more than just expensive doctor appointments and missed work. Often, victims suffer from physical pain from the accident, medical treatment, and physical therapy long after the accident is over. And there is always the mental toil of reliving the accident and dealing with a changed future.
We know that economic damages are to address the actual monetary losses that a victim has to deal with following an accident. Well according to Texas law, non-economic damages are recoverable as well.
Sometimes we hear from people who question whether or not this is even right. Some say, "Paying people because they've lost money to doctor bills or lost income makes sense. But why are folks getting a compensated just for feeling bad?" The problem with this line of thinking is that it assumes that people should receive nothing at all for their suffering. If not money ... what? We don't in turn inflict physical suffering on the person who caused the accident, so that leaves us with the next best thing: making the person or company who caused your accident feel the pain in their checkbook.
Texas law recognizes many forms of compensable suffering.
Identifying economic damages is a fairly simple formula with numbers and equations that make up a number that everyone can easily quantify. Non-economic damages, however, entail a more dynamic approach that requires precise execution on your attorney's end. To give you a good grasp on some of the non-economic damages that are recoverable in Texas, please review the list below:
- Physical Impairment:
In a personal injury case, plaintiffs can recover damages for past and future physical impairment. Physical impairment is essentially the loss of enjoyment of life. Inability to participate in sports, hobbies or other recreational activities can be factors in recovering physical impairment damages. This is not to be confused with pain and suffering, mental anguish, or lost earning capacity, which are separate compensation claims. Here, the plaintiff must prove that because of the negligence of another party, their quality of life has been compromised due to the injuries sustained from that negligence.
- Pain & Suffering (physical and emotional):These damages can be recovered for past and future physical pain and suffering. We utilize medical professionals as well as your own account of how much pain and suffering you've endured and will endure. You can also recover damages for future pain, which is proved by submitting evidence that your injury will continue to affect you in the future.
- Disfigurement:This associated mostly with the affected appearance of someone after an accident. This is proved by demonstrating in court that you have been maimed, misshapen, or otherwise cosmetically affected by injures as a result of the negligence of another.
- Mental Anguish:This can be argued if someone was part of a particularly traumatic event. Being in a devastating car accident can produce emotional wounds as well as physical. Usually a psychologist will supplement your testimony with their own psychological evaluations of how the event has affected your mental state after the accident.
- Loss of Consortium: These damages are recoverable if someone lost the love, affection, protection, care, and companionship of a loved one. Usually the loved one must be a spouse, child, or parent of the injured party.
You can see how it would be difficult to put a dollar amount on something as subjective as emotional trauma or loss of enjoyment of life. Who can really say how much your pain is worth? Suffering emotional trauma such as anxiety, fear, and depression are obviously much harder to say how much that is worth monetarily than hard economic damages. In the end, these damages are completely up to a jury. They are to decide questions like: how much is a day of being confined to bed worth? They can say $100, $1,000, or no dollars if they are so inclined.
To get what you deserve, it will take evidence.
You're likely wondering what will help a jury decide what dollar figures to attach to these losses. The answer depends largely on the lawyer you choose. An experienced attorney will first and foremost give you every opportunity to explain your story to the court. Your attorney will need to thoroughly prepare you for when you testify before trial in what are called "depositions," during any attempted settlement processes, and ultimately at trial before a jury. You'll need to be made to feel comfortable in what is very likely a new process. This is done through practice, explanation, and more practice. You'll want to feel ready to get out all the experiences you've gone through.
But it's not just you and your story. To help us in this endeavor, we have a host of qualified experts that we routinely hire. We consult with them about these non-economic damages and use their expert testimony to explain these kinds of losses to the judge and jury. Our experts include professionals like:
- Psychiatrists: These medical professionals are able to diagnose and treat mental disorders are injuries, especially if they are a result of injury. We use psychiatrists as expert witnesses to help the jury understand the mental toll that the injuries and accident had on your mental health.
- Psychologists: These experts are very much the same as psychiatrists, but they don't prescribe medication, but more so cognitive behavior therapy and diagnoses of mental injuries due to an accident.
- Certified Life Planners: These professionals help to deal with the challenges of living with an injury or impairment after an accident. Usually these professionals are nurses.
- Doctors: Doctors provide a general guide of your treatment and injuries to the jury. Also, doctors can highlight the future injuries you may suffer and the limitations that these injuries put on your enjoyment of everyday life.
- Neurosurgeons: Neurologists and neurosurgeons are pain experts. These professionals will help illustrate the levels of pain you're dealing with and any brain injuries that may have resulted from your accident.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists: These professionals help people who may have been injured or impaired after an accident to find other skills for a new profession. For example, if you were a woodworker and suffered nerve damage in your hands, you may be unable to utilize the fine motor skills involved in shaping and cutting wood. It may be possible that accounting may be a better profession for you. So this person would help you to learn those skills or try to rehabilitate you so that you're able to do your job again.
To use just one example, a psychologist could explain the impact of your symptoms of depression on your daily life, your career, and your relationships in ways that even you might not be able to articulate.
Our investigatory skills are unmatched. Which means more compensation for you.
As you can see, identifying and calculating non-economic damages can be a difficult and complex task. The aid of an experienced, competent attorney like those at Grossman Law Offices can be invaluable to your case. We've won more than 1,000 personal injury cases, and our initial consultation is free. An attorney will personally handle your case from start to finish. They are available to clients night and day. So if you've been injured or a loved one killed, call us today at (855) 326-0000 and let us get started getting you the just recovery you deserve for your economic and non-economic damages.
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