What Type Of Compensation Should You Expect To Recover In A Dallas Car Accident?
Car accidents in Dallas, and all personal injury claims throughout Texas, involve two primary categories of compensation: economic damages and non-economic damages. All of the harm and suffering that an injured person experiences in a car crash can be separated into these two groups. In addition to those areas of compensation, there are rare cases in which a third category known as exemplary damages can be awarded by a jury. However, an injured person does not sue directly for exemplary damages. Instead, the person sues for their economic and non-economic hardships stemming from the car wreck and, if it so desires, the jury may decide to apply exemplary damages as well.
Though a mere two categories of damages may seem like a limited amount, there is plenty of compensation that is available. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that teen driving accidents in 2016 alone resulted in $13.6 billion in damages. With help from the experienced personal injury attorneys at Pintas & Mullins, a Dallas car accident law firm, you can make a full list of all of your damages and recover the compensation you need to reset your life after this tragic occurrence.
Examples of the Different Types of Damages
Economic and non-economic damages are collectively known as compensatory damages, meaning that you can sue for compensation for any of them. The distinction between them is important, however, because they come with different rules and limits.
Issues that directly affect your financial status constitute your economic harms. Examples of this kind of damage can include lost wages as a result of your injury, medical bills, the cost of replacing your damaged vehicle, repair bills for any damaged property, and similar issues. Economic damages usually come with bills or receipts as evidence to their monetary values. Importantly, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §41.0105 dictates that you may recover only the actual amount that you are charged for things like medical bills or hospital visits.
On the other end of the compensatory damages are those items that do not have a direct monetary impact. Instead, this kind of harm is often more subjective in nature and does not come with bills or receipts to vouch for its monetary value. Still, these are real harms for which the at-fault party owes you compensation. Examples of non-economic damages include your pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, the mental toll of becoming disfigured or paralyzed, and similar harms.
Since these damages do not come with price tags, it is often necessary to enlist the aid of an expert witness to attest to their values. Pintas & Mullins, a Dallas car accident law firm, may be able to connect you with such an expert who has experienced evaluating the true cost of your damages. Importantly, there is no limit to the amount that you can recover for non-economic harms, including compensation for your physical pain and suffering.
Additional compensation may be awarded to you in cases that involve egregiously negligent or malicious behavior on the part of the at-fault driver. Known as exemplary damages, this extra compensation is awarded at the sole discretion of the jury or judge (whichever is the “trier of fact” for your claim). Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §41.008 limits the amount of money you can receive as an exemplary damage compensation to the higher of the following two amounts:
- Twice your economic damages compensation, plus up to $750,000 of your non-economic damages compensation
For instance, situations that involve drinking and driving, texting while driving, driving while under the influence of drugs, or similarly negligent actions can invoke exemplary damage payouts.
Who Can I Sue for Compensation?
Knowing what damages you can sue for is only a part of the battle. You also need to know who can be held liable for those damages. Almost always, the main defendant from which you can recover compensation will be the driver of the at-fault vehicle that caused your accident. However, other situations may call for additional defendants and may open you up to a wider array of possible compensation avenues. Some common non-driver defendants in personal injury lawsuits in Dallas include:
- Rideshare companies like Lyft or Uber
- Government agencies
- Trucking companies
Though many of these are large corporations with significant resources at their disposal, a local Dallas car accident attorney can help you fight for your right to fair compensation for the accident in which you have suffered.
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Dallas Car Accident Lawyers is here to help potential clients understand the types and amount of compensation they can expect to recover if they bring their claims to court. We do not collect a fee unless we win your claim, and we offer you a completely FREE consultation to discuss whether or not we are the right lawyers for you.