If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, you probably have lots of questions. Unraveling who is responsible for what damage and then figuring out how much that damage cost can be a maddening affair. And while there is no set formula or equation the courts use to determine the amount of damages, there are a handful of factors that they usually consider, including:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost income
- “Non-economic” damages
Medical Expenses and Property Damage
One of the easiest steps in calculating damages from an accident is tallying up the bills. If the other driver is at fault, he or she will be responsible for paying for your medical costs as well as repairing the damage to your vehicle. You should definitely keep copies of all of the bills and other paperwork you receive from your doctors and mechanics so you can prove later how much it cost you to get back on your feet and on the road.
Additionally, Texas law allows injured parties to recover lost income, both from time missed from work while recovering from the injury as well as from future missed economic opportunities. For example, suppose the operator of an oilrig is injured in a car accident that leaves her unable to walk, and she has to take a lower-paying office job as a result. Not only could she recover the amount she would have been paid during the time she had to take off work to recover, but she could also file a claim for the amount by which her ability to earn money in the future has been reduced by the accident.
Finally, Texas allows courts to award damages for ‘non-economic’ injuries. While the value of actual damages such as medical bills can be easily determined, and values like lost income can be reasonably estimated, non-economic damages present a problem because there is no easy way to put a dollar figure on them. For example, non-economic damages include compensation for injuries like “pain and suffering.” If an accident leaves someone with a bad hip for the rest of his or her life, certainly the cost of the pain medication should be covered. But what about the actual pain itself? If the other driver hadn’t been texting and driving, the accident would never have happened and the injured person wouldn’t have had to live the rest of his or her life in pain. So what is the value of a pain-free life?
It’s questions like this one that can make sorting out car accidents so complicated.
Additionally, since the vast majority of court cases settle outside of court, it is imperative to be represented by an attorney who knows Texas automotive law when filing a lawsuit or beginning a settlement negotiation. Our experienced attorneys have handled hundreds of car accident cases in Texas, and are available to help you sort out your own accident. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and have questions about your rights, schedule a consult with a Texas personal injury lawyer.