Personal Injury Damages

Our lawyers help injured persons recover for the damage, harm and personal losses caused by the negligent or intentional misconduct of others. In personal injury cases, the jury is asked to value a wide range of injuries and losses, including physical injury, mental and psychological injury and economic losses. This page will outline the relief that we regularly recover for our personal injury clients.

Personal Injury Attorneys May Recover Damages for Pain and Suffering Experienced by the Injured Person

If a personal injury case goes to trial, the jury will be asked to award damages for physical pain and suffering. The law recognizes that this element of damage is susceptible only to approximate economic valuation. Accordingly, no set formula is required for the determination of the damage amount for physical pain and suffering. Further, injured parties may also obtain an award of money from juries for future physical pain and suffering that in reasonable probability the injured party will continue to experience in the future. It is important for the personal injury attorney to obtain all facts from the injured party regarding the extent, duration and severity of physical pain and suffering experienced. We have used medical experts at trial as expert witnesses to convince the jury about the likelihood of future physical pain and suffering that will be experienced by our client.

Personal Injury Attorneys May Also Recover for Closed-head Injuries Suffered by Injured Persons

Closed-head injuries present a special case regarding recovery of damages under personal injury law. Someone who has suffered a closed-head injury may potentially recover for non-economic damages in two significant areas: physical and psychological damages. In terms of physical damages, an injured party who suffers a closed-head injury may suffer from cognitive defects, memory loss and deficits in concentration and language. All of the foregoing are physical injuries that a jury will be asked to value. Further, the psychological distress of someone who suffers a closed-head injury is also recoverable, as these injuries frequently result in greater fatigue, mental anguish, irritability and anxiety.

The Law Allows Recovery of Damages for Physical Impairment Caused by Personal Injury

Physical impairment is defined essentially as impairment beyond loss of earning capacity or pain and suffering. It generally deals with substantial changes to the injured party's former lifestyle. It includes the loss of the ability to participate in activities such as walking, climbing, running, dancing and other recreational and social activities. For example, the marathon runner who can no longer participate in running races, an activity that he or she was so passionate about prior to the injury, may have a powerful claim for physical impairment damages. Juries will be asked to separately value physical impairment damages from all of the other recognized elements of personal injury damages.

Personal Injury Attorneys May Recover Disfigurement Damages on Behalf of their Clients

Another element of damages in a personal injury case that is separately considered and valued by the jury is disfigurement damages. This type of damage has been defined as that which "impairs the beauty, symmetry or appearance of a person or thing…[or makes] unsightly, misshapen, or imperfect or deformed in some manner." Sunbridge Healthcare Corp. v. Penny, 160 S.W. 3d 230, 252 (Tex. App. – Texarkana 2005, no pet.). Disfigurement damages are typically recovered in cases involving scarring, deformity, amputation or any other changes in appearance caused from the injury. Future disfigurement damages may also be recovered and should be carefully considered by the client and counsel.

Injured Persons May Recover Mental Anguish Damages

Whereas pain and suffering is an element of damages dealing with the physical sensations caused by an injury, mental anguish damages address the mental sensation of pain resulting from emotions such as grief, severe disappointment, wounded pride, shame, despair and public humiliation. Mental anguish damages are separately considered and valued by the jury. Mental anguish damages may be inferred from the nature and extent of the injuries.

Loss of Consortium Damages Are Also Recoverable by the Plaintiff in a Personal Injury Case

Courts recognize that the injury or death of a spouse, parent or child causes a great loss to the familial relationship and may be worthy of compensation. Loss of society and companionship are elements of loss of consortium. Further, the consortium that is recoverable may be valued by the jury can be spousal, parental or filial.

A Personal Injury Attorney may be able to Recover Bystander Damages in Certain Situations

Courts have allowed parties who witness an injury suffered by a third party to recover damages for mental anguish in certain situations. Generally, the party seeking to recover bystander damages must establish that the defendant had negligently inflicted serious or fatal injuries on the third party. Further, the injured party may also have to prove that the harm to the bystander was foreseeable by the wrongful party. There may also need to be a close relationship between the bystander and the injured party for there to be a recovery of bystander damages.

Plaintiffs in Personal Injury Cases Can Recover Past and Future Medical Expenses

An injured party can recover reasonable expenses incurred from medical, surgical, hospital and nursing services used for the treatment or a cure of the injuries. Moreover, expenses related to the injured party obtaining necessary medical treatment may also be recoverable as a damage. Transportation expenses, for example, in relation to medical treatment may be recovered. Recovery of medical expenses is not barred by the fact that the medical bills were paid by insurance or social security. Further, future medical expenses that the plaintiff proves will, in all reasonable probability, be incurred as a result of the injury are also recoverable.

Personal Injury Attorneys May Recover Loss of Earning Capacity Damages

A valuable element of damage that the injured party may recover due to a personal injury is loss of earning capacity damages. These are separately considered and awarded by the jury. Loss of earning capacity damages compensate the plaintiff for diminished capacity to earn a livelihood caused by the injury. These damages may be awarded for the difference between what the plaintiff was capable of earning prior to the injury and the amount the plaintiff was capable of earning after the injury. Because earning capacity damages focus on the capacity to earn, these damages are not limited to the plaintiff's salary prior to the injury. As a result, the plaintiff may recover loss of earning capacity damages despite being unemployed or underemployed at the time of the injury.

Loss of Household Services is also Recoverable in a Personal Injury Case

Loss of household services compensates the husband or wife for the loss of services provided by the injured spouse. It is different from loss of consortium, which compensates for the loss of emotional and intangible elements of a marriage. Regarding loss of household services, the services that would be compensable would be household and domestic services, such as caring for children, tending to financial matters and performing house or yard work. The value of a husband or wife is not measured necessarily by his or her pecuniary wage, but is an intangible within the sound discretion of the jury.

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