When an individual is hurt, it may seem impossible to come up with a dollar figure that would properly compensate the victim for the many ways that injury may have interrupted the individual’s life. Despite the apparent challenges in such a calculation, this is the task that personal injury lawyers and courts face daily. Individuals who are considering taking legal action to seek damages following an injury may wonder what kinds of damages could be available to them. Under Texas law, there are two types of damages that could be sought in such a lawsuit: actual and punitive.
What are actual damages?
In personal injury law, actual damages are the primary form of compensation sought in most cases. These damages are meant to allow a personal injury victim to pay for the losses and costs incurred due to their injury. Actual damages are broken down into two categories: general and special. Special damages are those which are tangible, such as medical costs and lost income. General losses include intangible pain and suffering, including but not limited to psychological distress, loss of enjoyment of life and relational issues resulting from the injury.
What are punitive damages?
As the name might suggest, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant, rather than being focused on making the plaintiff whole. These damages primarily serve the purpose of dissuading the defendant and others who may be in their position from repeating the action that led to the injury. These are not applicable in all cases, but may be involved in cases where gross negligence, indifference or intentional harm are involved.
The exact amount that a Texas plaintiff may be awarded in a personal injury case can depend on many factors. This includes but is not limited to the type of injury, the treatments available, the impact on the victim’s lifestyle and career and the circumstances under which the injury was suffered. To fully understand the possible damages that could be involved in a specific case, it is advisable for prospective plaintiffs to speak with an attorney.