The civil justice system works by allowing an injured accident victim to become whole again through financial compensation from the at-fault party. If a victim succeeds in proving a defendant is liable, he or she will receive a personal injury settlement or judgment award for related losses. Understanding the components that make up the average personal injury settlement could help you learn what to expect during your injury case in Dallas.
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Reached?
First, understand what it takes to obtain a personal injury settlement in Texas. The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning you or your personal injury lawyer will need enough evidence against the defendant to prove he or she is more likely than not responsible for your accident and injury.
Most cases in Texas settle without having to go to trial. Settling means your lawyer and the defendant’s insurance company have agreed on a resolution. With a settlement, you will receive a check from the insurer directly. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, however, your lawyer may need to take your case to trial to seek a judgment award instead.
3 Types of Damages
If your lawyer succeeds in proving the defendant is at fault for your injuries, you could receive a settlement that pays for both past and future losses. In Texas, there are three possible types of financial damages available in a personal injury case:
- The tangible and specific losses related to an accident.
- The intangible or general losses related to an accident.
- An additional award to punish the defendant for egregious acts.
Economic and noneconomic damages are common in personal injury law. Punitive damages are relatively rare, although they are possible in a case involving a defendant who behaved with gross negligence, a wanton disregard for the safety of others, maliciousness or intent to harm.
Parts of a Personal Injury Settlement
Economic and noneconomic damages are both compensatory damages, meaning they are meant to compensate a plaintiff for his or her losses. Compensatory damages are further broken down into many specific types of losses that are unique to the individual and case:
- Past and future medical bills
- Long-term treatment
- Property damage
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or anguish
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Legal fees
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death damages, if applicable
The losses you and your family can claim during a personal injury case in Dallas depend on the particular ways the accident and injury impacted you. You or your personal injury lawyer will need to provide proof of these losses before an insurance company will pay you., such as medical bills, pay stubs, receipts, repair estimates or expert testimony.
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Calculated?
The value of your personal injury settlement is directly related to the severity of your accident and injury. However, many different factors can impact the final value of a settlement in Dallas. No two cases are alike, and no average settlement exists. The easiest way to estimate the value of your case is by consulting with a personal injury attorney.
To estimate your economic damages, your lawyer will add up all of the expenses related to your accident. Then, your lawyer will calculate future foreseeable economic damages based on your existing costs and projected recovery time. Next, your lawyer will estimate your noneconomic damages. These are more difficult to calculate, however, as they are awarded according to a jury’s discretion.
In general, a victim with a serious injury, such as long-term disfigurement or disability, will have a personal injury case that is worth more than someone with a minor injury in Texas. Recovery amounts are unique and can be difficult to predict. For more information about your particular personal injury case, contact an attorney in Dallas.