In Texas, a claimant who has been injured as the result of another’s negligence is legally entitled to recover the following elements of damage, if their claim is supported by credible evidence:
Medical Care Expenses (Past & Future)
Loss of Earning Capacity (Past & Future)
Loss of Household Services (Past & Future)
Physical Pain (Past & Future)
Loss of Consortium (Past & Future)
Mental Anguish (Past & Future)
Disfigurement (Past & Future)
Physical Impairment (Past & Future)
These elements of an injury claim can best be understood by breaking them down into “economic” and “non-economic” damages.
Economic damages are the ones that are easily reducible to a specific dollar value – past medical care expenses (and future, where a treatment provider can clearly articulate a value for those), and past loss of earning capacity – i.e.; pay for work that you had to miss.
Non-economic damages are those for which there is rarely any documentary evidential support, but for which there is testimonial evidence concerning the traumatic impact an injury has had on a person’s life.
Non-economic damages are often disparaged by insurance companies and defense counsel, who believe Texas juries rarely award them.
In fact, the purported unwillingness of juries to award these damages leads to a great many people settling their claims for less than they are probably worth.
Insurers have encouraged this culture of cynicism concerning Texas jurors’ ability to sympathize with injured people so that it now pervades the process, with even supposedly impartial mediators buying into the notion that juries just don’t award money for non-economic damages.
While we would be lying if we said that they unreservedly do, it has been our experience that a Texas jury will usually do the right thing; if a jury finds liability, and if the evidence is credible, it will find damages beyond just past medical expenses and lost earnings.