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The Burkett Law Firm Blog

Damages You Can Recover After a Texas Car Accident

accident damages
Our car accident lawyer in Corpus Christi explains the different types of damages you may be entitled to in a Texas car accident claim.

Car accidents in Corpus Christi can leave you suffering serious personal injuries. When another driver’s reckless behavior is to blame, you have the right to hold them responsible. The term ‘damages’ refers to compensation you may be entitled to in a car accident claim. Our car accident lawyer in Corpus Christi explains the different types of damages and steps you can take to help ensure you get the maximum amount you need to recover.

What are compensatory damages?

Section 41.01 of the Texas Civil Remedies Code details the types of damages available in a car accident lawsuit and other types of claims. As the name implies, compensatory damages are meant to compensate you for losses suffered. This includes current expenses and losses you are likely to incur in the future. There are two types of compensatory damages available: economic and non-economic damages. 

What are economic damages in a Texas car accident lawsuit? These are based on actual costs that result from your accident and include: 

  • Medical expenses: This includes diagnostic testing, treatment, medications, follow-up visits with your doctor, occupational or rehabilitative therapy, and other medical expenses you are likely to incur.   
  • Property damages: This includes the costs associated with repairing or replacing your vehicle. 
  • Lost wages: This includes current lost income and future losses earnings and benefits in the event you suffer permanent impairments or long term disabilities. 

 

What are non-economic damages in a car accident claim? These cover intangible losses you and your family experience. It includes compensation for pain, suffering, and mental anguish, any loss of enjoyment in life your injuries result in, and the impacts you suffer due to disfigurement, scarring, or the loss of a limb. Non-economic damages also include compensation for any loss of companionship your family experiences and loss of consortium.  

There are no caps on the amount of economic and/or non-economic damages in a Texas car accident lawsuit, except in cases where the other driver was a government official or employed by a government entity. In this situation, damages are limited to $250,000 per person, and $500,000 for a single event.

What are punitive damages?

drunk driver causing car accident damages
Accident compensation can include a punitive damages award for gross negligence such as drunk or distracted driving.

Punitive damages are an additional type of compensation our car accident lawyer in Corpus Christi may be able to push for in your lawsuit. As the name implies, it is designed to punish at-fault drivers for actions that were grossly negligent. What does gross negligence mean in a Texas car accident lawsuit? Any type of behavior that shows a willful and extreme disregard for others health and safety. Examples include: 

  • Driving distracted, such as texting and talking on cell phones;
  • Driving while taking certain medications or with a high blood alcohol content (BAC) level;
  • Engaging in aggressive driving behavior, such as tailgating and failing to yield right of way;
  • Going at high rates of speed or racing other vehicles;
  • Purposely running red lights and stop signs. 

 

Punitive damages are designed to send a message, both to the at-fault driver and others who may consider engaging in the same types of behaviors. They are generally based on the total amount of other losses suffered. 

Are there any caps on punitive damages in Texas? Punitive damages are limited to the greater of $200,000 or two times the amount of economic damages, plus the total amount of non-economic damages up to $750,000. For example, in a car accident lawsuit in which economic and non-economic damages each totaled $1 million, the maximum amount of punitive damages is $2,750,000.

How to improve your odds of recovering all your accident damages

Actions you take in the immediate aftermath of a car accident in Corpus Christi can impact your rights in a claim. To improve your odds of recovering the total amount of damages you may be entitled to by law, follow these steps: 

  • Report your car accident immediately to police;
  • Get the names of all drivers involved and their contact information;
  • Collect evidence at the scene, including the names of witnesses and photos of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle;
  • Seek medical attention right away and follow your doctor’s instructions regarding treatment and activity restrictions;
  • Resist accepting any immediate settlements from insurers, which are likely to be far less than what you deserve;
  • Contact our car accident lawyer in Corpus Christi to discuss your options in filing a claim. 

Our car accident lawyer in Corpus Christi can help you recover all your accident damages

If you’ve suffered a car accident in Corpus Christi or the surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to contact The Burkett Law Firm. Serving injured accident victims in the community for over three generations, each case is personal for us. Working with an experienced car accident lawyer in Corpus Christi can give you every advantage in seeking full compensation for all your accident damages under Texas law, including economic, non-economic and punitive damages. Contact us online or give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.