In the days following an accident, you are probably still reeling from the shock. There is a lot to do: get a medical check-up (even if you think you are fine), figure out what to do about your ruined car and handle conversations with insurers. At this stage, many people make the mistake of accepting settlement offers that typically prove inadequate when it comes to covering the losses they sustain.
Understanding what types of damages you may be able to recover in a lawsuit can help you move closer to getting a ballpark on what you can realistically expect.
In many cases, the bulk of the recovery award consists of damages to repair financial losses you suffer due to the crash. These can include medical bills, prescription and over-the-counter remedies as well as surgical and assistive devices. Other types of expenses include lost earnings.
Because your injuries can cause you to continue incurring losses after the case is over – perhaps even for the rest of your life – future damages form an important part of award calculations. Medical evidence can show the likely necessity of future treatments and the extent to which your injury will continue to impair functioning. Expert witnesses can also testify as to the cumulative loss from any diminished ability to earn money or advance professionally.
Pain and suffering
Accident victims can also get damages for pain and suffering. This category includes physical pain from the injuries and the treatments they can necessitate. It also covers emotional pain due to embarrassment, humiliation and a decreased ability to build and maintain relationships.
In Texas, you may still be able to recover even if you contributed to causing the accident, as long as your share of the fault is not greater than the defendant’s. You will receive the award minus the amount proportionate to your level of fault. Thus, if your actions contributed 15 percent to the crash, you will receive a damages award with 15 percent of it subtracted.