Personal injury cases are intended to provide victims injured as a result of another’s negligent acts with the opportunity to recover compensation for their damages. In many cases, these damages include tangible losses that can be easily seen and calculated, such as the financial losses victims experience when they need to pay for medical treatment, repairs to fix damaged property, and loss of income caused by missing work, among others.
Aside from the many economic damages victims can face following preventable accidents, personal injury cases also allow victims to recover compensation for their noneconomic damages. It is no secret that being injured in an unforeseen incident can cause tremendous strain, frustration, and emotional injuries – both to victims and their loved ones. This is especially true in tragic cases involving catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.
Because our civil justice system recognizes the comprehensive losses victims can suffer when they are injured and recovering, personal injury cases take into account noneconomic damages and give victims the right to recover them. At Stern Law Group, our Houston personal injury lawyers know full well how severely victims and families can suffer emotionally, which is why we go the extra mile to fully express how the incident affected them emotionally and how to best approach a full recovery of these damages.
To help you better understand the types of things noneconomic damages can be awarded for in personal injury cases, we’ve compiled a list of common damages:
- Mental anguish
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Reduced quality or enjoyment of life
- Disability, impairment, and disfigurement
- Negative impact to one’s reputation
- Loss of companionship and consortium
As you can see, noneconomic damages differ from economic losses for the sole reason that they do not have a definitive dollar amount associated with them. Whereas medical expenses can be accounted for by viewing bills and receipts, emotional injuries require a different type of calculation. Whatever your case may entail, these calculations need to be made on a personalized basis, and they need to be supported clearly and convincingly in order to defeat the arguments of defendants that aim to limit them.
When our legal team handles personal injury cases for clients, we know that accounting for their emotional injuries is critical to pursuing a full and fair recovery of their damages. This is why it is a part of every case we handle, and why our attorneys work closely with clients to understand how and how severe their accident and injuries have affected them. We also take into account the emotional injuries sustained by family members who have been forced to grieve, support, and endure losses as a result of their loved one being harmed.
While the pathway to recovering noneconomic damages does exist, it is important to understand that your case will impact how much you may be able to recover. Aside from the unique nature of your injuries and recovery, this also may entail certain damages caps passed by legislators in recent years. These caps are typically the result of “tort reform,” and they are often motivated by insurance companies and powerful corporations that lobby aggressively to have laws passed in their favor. Remember, these companies want to do everything possible to avoid paying as much as they can, which is why it is important to have experienced lawyers on your side who can level the playing field.
In Texas, state law limits the amount of noneconomic damages victims can recover when they file medical malpractice claims. The caps include a limit of $250,000 against doctors and medical professionals, a limit of $250,000 against single facilities (hospitals, nursing facilities, etc.), and a total cap of $500,000 against all facilities. This means that in medical malpractice cases, victims can recover no more than $750,000 in noneconomic damages, no matter how severe or devastating their emotional injuries may be.
Caps such as these have been criticized widely by victim advocates because they put profits of insurers and corporations over people. Real people, however, understand the importance of these damages. If you pay attention to newsworthy verdicts made across the country, you often find that juries may award millions of dollars in noneconomic damages to victims and families, particularly in severe and tragic cases. This speaks volumes about the sympathy of people who understand that injuries cause far more than economic damages alone.
Whether there are caps in place in a case or not, Stern Law Group always fights for the maximum compensation possible. It is why we have been able to recover millions of dollars in compensation for the clients we’ve represented. To learn more about your potential case and how we may be able to help, contact us for a free consultation.