Texas courts most commonly award injury victims financial compensation for medical expenses (past, present, and future), loss of income due to missing work because of the injury, property damage, and “pain and suffering.” Pain and suffering refers to noneconomic damages an individual may be entitled to if he or she is involved in a personal injury accident. As personal injury cases can be complex in nature, accident victims may have questions regarding their case, including an explanation of the compensation they can expect to receive. Depending on the incident, Texas law has certain restrictions regarding pain and suffering claims.
The Causes and Components of Pain and Suffering
Texas law categorizes pain and suffering as “noneconomic damages,” also known as “quality of life damages.” Noneconomic damages allow a personal injury victim to recover damages for the incident’s impact on their everyday life. Pain and suffering affect the injured party’s quality of life and that of his or her friends and family’s lives.
An accident can leave a victim struggling with many issues that not only inhibit recovery but have lasting effects on their daily life. Depending on the severity and type of injury, the injured party may require the assistance of a caregiver for an extended period of time or even forever. This loss of freedom takes an emotional toll on victims and their loved ones who must adjust to a new normal. Texas recognizes emotional, mental, and physical pain as compensable damages that can be recovered as pain and suffering as a result of an accident.
Conveying the experience of the accident and how the injuries sustained affect a person’s life is crucial for a successful pain and suffering claim. It’s common for victims to become overwhelmed when recounting an accident and most don’t know which injuries qualify for a pain and suffering claim. For this reason, it’s important that victims hire an experienced Lubbock personal injury lawyer with a proven track record. Legal representation is crucial to effectively communicate a victim’s experience so they are awarded the compensation they deserve.
Under Texas law any of the following may be considered as noneconomical damages:
- Chronic pain and discomfort
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of services
- Mental anguish
- Pain from medical treatment
- Permanent disability, scarring, or disfigurement
- Permanent loss of important bodily function(s)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Psychological trauma
Pain and suffering damages can include any one or a combination of the above. Just as every case is unique, the experience and trauma endured by each victim vary, as does the amount of damages victims are awarded.
It can be impossible to put a value on intangible harms like pain and suffering. The jury may decide to use a combination of calculation methods. They may also adjust the results to match the specifics of the unique accident.
In Texas, the basic multiplier method is most commonly used to determine the value of pain and suffering in personal injury cases; however, a jury can choose not to use a particular method and instead calculate damages on their own based on the evidence presented. Under the basic multiplier method, all of the economic damages (like medical bills and lost wages) are added up and the sum is multiplied by a number between 1.5 and five (the multiplier gets higher as the injuries become more severe).
A Texas jury can also decide to use another method of calculation – such as the Per Diem Method – or it can decide to forego methodology and determine the amount based on the evidence presented. At the end of the day, the jury has relative freedom in how much they award the accident victim for pain and suffering.
Lubbock Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury victims and their loved ones deserve the opportunity to heal and recover. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Lubbock personal injury accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact the Lubbock trial lawyers at Liggett Law Group today, as there is limited time to act in Texas following an accident.