In Texas, you can collect up to three different types of damages for your brain injury claim:
- Punitive (exemplary) damages
Economic damages cover the financial costs associated with an injury. Non-economic damages compensate for other non-monetary losses, and punitive damages can be collected in less common situations where a victim’s injury is the result of extreme or intentional negligence.
The amount a victim can collect for each type of loss is dependent on several factors pertaining to their circumstances, including:
- The severity of their injury suffered and recovery time required
- The accident’s cause and the defendant’s identity
- The long-term impact an accident and injury will have on a victim’s family and life
In brain injury cases, victims can collect economic damages to compensate them for the financial costs of their injury. The medical expenses to treat brain injuries can be extreme, depending on the type of brain injury suffered.
Victims can rake in an array of bills for expenditures resulting from:
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Occupational therapy services
- Psychological and/or psychiatric services
- Medical assessments
Fortunately, all of these costs are covered and reimbursed through economic damages. Further, suppose you have not yet fully recovered and are still facing months—or even years—of future treatment. In that case, those medical costs could also be factored into an economic damages award.
In addition to medical costs, economic damages may also compensate a victim for other expenses including, but not limited to:
- Lost wages from missed work
- Lost future earning capacity for victims unable to return to the job they had prior to the accident
- Travel and lodging expenses for victims who have had to travel to receive medical care
- Property damage resulting from the accident, such as vehicle repairs or replacement
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Unfortunately, brain injuries cause victims and their families severe mental, physical, and emotional anguish. It may take years for a brain injury victim to fully regain their previous mental and/or physical capacity after their accident, if ever. Though these losses can never be fully or adequately compensated, non-economic damages attempt to do so in the form of a financial award.
These damages are unrelated to and separate from economic damages. A victim’s financial losses are not at all factored into a non-economic damages award. They are based solely on the pain and suffering a victim endured from their accident that temporarily or permanently lowered their quality of life.
Factors that impact a victim’s non-economic damages award may include:
- Disability and disfigurement
- Loss of relationships, also known as “loss of consortium”
- The length of one’s recovery period or inability to recover
- The significance of mental, physical, and emotional distress on a victim’s (and their family’s) lives
Punitive (or exemplary) damages punish a negligent party for their behavior and can be collected in some cases, though that is rare. Punitive damages are only awarded in a handful of cases where a victim’s injury is the result of fraud, blatant negligence, or intentional malice.
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which seek to compensate the victim, punitive damages exist to punish the party responsible for the accident or injury.
Punitive damages may be awarded in cases of the following circumstances.
- Violent, vengeful actions, road rage, aggressive driving, battery, etc.
- Grossly negligent behaviors, such as playing with a loaded gun or texting and driving
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If You Were Partially at Fault
If you were partially responsible for your accident, it does not bar you from collecting compensation for your brain injury. Each state handles this situation differently, and Texas operates under a liability theory known as “comparative negligence.”
Comparative negligence is a theory that assigns all liable parties in an accident a percentage amount of responsibility for their part in causing it. Any party who bears less than half of the fault for an accident (49% or less) can collect compensation for the damages they suffered as a result of the accident under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §33.012.
A partially liable accident victim’s amount of compensation will simply be reduced by their comparative level of liability for the accident. For example, a victim who is 30% liable for an accident can still collect 70% of their total damage award.
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Call in the Texas Strong Arm
To learn more about the damages you may be eligible to recover in your brain injury claim, call in the Strong Arm. Give Loncar Lyon Jenkins a call today at (877) 239-4878. We can evaluate your case for no cost to you and give you a better idea of the amount you may stand to collect in your specific circumstances.