Houston Texas Lawyer Blog

What Are Non-Economic Damages in a Car Accident Case?

July 28, 2020 Vehicle Wrecks

What are non-economic damages in a car accident case? These damages are awarded to compensate you for losses that do not have a specific monetary value, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash in Texas due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your non-economic damages through a car accident case. You may also recover for your monetary losses, to cover expenses such as medical bills and property damages.

Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate than economic damages, and mistakes can be costly. Fortunately, at a time when you are trying to recover from your injuries, you do not have to navigate the legal hurdles of obtaining compensation alone. The experienced car accident and injury lawyers at Terry Bryant are available to examine the facts of your individual situation and explain how we can help in a free consultation. Just call us at (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 to get started.

What Are Non-Economic Damages in a Car Accident Case?

Non-economic damages in a car accident case are payments that go directly to you as compensation for the pain and suffering and adverse effects on your lifestyle that resulted from a crash. While it is difficult to put a price on suffering, and no amount of money can make up for living with continuing physical pain and emotional trauma or the loss of a loved one, non-economic damages may at least help you and your family lead a better life without the burden of financial worries.

The amounts received for non-economic damages, which may be called “general damages” in Texas, are usually higher than payments for economic losses. Economic damages, called “special damages,” are easily quantifiable by adding up your costs such as medical bills, property damages, costs to replace or rent a vehicle, and lost wages, but the money goes to pay your bills and does not leave you with an additional benefit. For example, if a neck injury leaves you paralyzed, economic damages would cover the cost of medical bills and therapy, but non-economic damages would compensate you for past, present, and future pain and suffering.

The amount an insurance company or a jury will award you for non-economic damages is subjective and will depend on many factors. The car accident lawyers at Terry Bryant can give you an idea of what your case is worth. Call us today at (713) 973-8888 to find out more.

What Do Non-Economic Damages Mean?

In Texas, non-economic damages mean negative effects on your life that may include:

  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish, anxiety, and stress
  • Loss of companionship and consortium, including lost ability to have sexual relations
  • Physical impairment, temporary and permanent limitations on activity
  • Disfigurement
  • General inconvenience and loss of quality and enjoyment of life
  • Injury to reputation.

How Non-Economic Damages in a Car Accident Are Calculated

To fully understand the potential value of a claim, it’s important to know how non-economic damages in a car accident are calculated. To calculate an amount for non-economic damages, one approach utilizes a basic multiplier, ranging from one to five, that corresponds to the severity of the harm. For example, a broken arm that healed may have a multiplier of one times the amount of your economic damages. A neck injury that left you paralyzed might be valued at five times the amount of your economic damages.

This is just a general range, however, and other factors should be taken into consideration, such as how your injuries will affect your future. Other factors include whether your injury is catastrophic and will result in long-term, debilitating symptoms, the need for constant care and assistance, and permanent loss in quality of life.

Common injuries often considered catastrophic include:

  • Loss of limbs or disfigurement
  • Damage to organs, vision, and hearing
  • Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Severe burns.

To qualify for non-economic damages in Texas, you must have a clearly demonstrable physical injury. It is not enough to be emotionally traumatized by the accident if no bodily injury occurred.

The calculation of non-economic damages in Texas can be complicated. If you have questions about your car accident claim, contact an attorney at the Terry Bryant law firm for help.

Punitive Damages

In some situations, where the actions of the defendant were wantonly reckless and negligent — such as being drunk, running a red light, and crashing into your car — you may be awarded punitive damages in addition to your economic and non-economic damages. Texas statutes put a cap on the amount of punitive damages for car accidents at the greater of:

  • $200,000 or
  • two times the amount of economic damages plus the amount equal to non-economic damages, up to $750,000.

Texas will cap your non-economic damages at $250,000 if your claim is against a government entity.

How Texas Laws Regarding Non-Economic Damages Can Affect Your Case

No matter the amount of non-economic damages you have suffered, there are Texas laws you need to abide by. These include:

  • Statute of Limitations – There is a time limit of two years after the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in court. ***Nothing herein is intended to be legal advice. It is provided for informational purposes only. Always speak directly to a licensed Texas attorney to understand the exact deadlines that apply to your claim, including the Statute of Limitations.*** If you miss this deadline, the courts are likely to dismiss your case altogether.
  • Modified Comparative Negligence – To win your lawsuit, you and your attorney will have to prove that the party you are suing for the accident was negligent and at fault for causing the crash. However, even if you partially contributed to the accident, as long as you are found to be less than 50% at fault, you may still collect the proportion of the settlement that the other party was at fault. For example, if your settlement was for one million dollars and you were found to be 25% at fault, you could still collect $750,000.

Our Attorneys Can Help You Understand Non-Economic Damages

Texas laws regarding non-economic damages are complicated, but you do not have to deal with the legalities of trying to get compensation alone. The car accident lawyers at Terry Bryant will handle all aspects of your case, including making sure it is filed in a timely and proper manner, negotiating with insurance companies and their lawyers, gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses, obtaining expert testimony to prove you were not responsible, and taking your case to court if necessary.

If there is no recovery, there is no fee. This is our “No Fee Guarantee” to you.

For a free case evaluation today, call Terry Bryant’s car accident attorneys at (713) 973-8888.

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