When a person sustains injuries in a car accident in Dallas, he or she can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court. Both methods of recovery can yield damages for noneconomic losses, known as pain and suffering damages. Pain and suffering damages are damages paid based on the monetary value of the victim’s non-financial losses and include damages for physical pain and suffering, mental or emotional pain, loss of enjoyment of life, injury to reputation, and more. A personal injury lawsuit often yields higher damages amounts than filing a claim with an insurance company.
How an Insurance Company Calculates Pain and Suffering Damages
Texas is an at-fault car insurance state, meaning that when an accident occurs, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying damages to the injured party. Damages that are commonly paid are economic losses, such as medical expenses. When injuries are more serious, an insurance company may be responsible for paying damages for pain and suffering. The exact formula for calculating pain and suffering damages can vary, but usually the total sum of economic losses is calculated by a number (the number varies depending upon the severity of injury) to produce a figure for pain and suffering damages. Because a driver in Texas is required to carry only a minimum of $30,000 in bodily injury liability per person, keep in mind that if a driver does not carry more than this, then your damages amount may be capped at $30,000.
How Pain and Suffering Damages Are Calculated in Civil Court
If your injuries are so severe that the amount offered to you by an insurance company is not nearly enough to adequately compensate you, you may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver instead. In Texas, the only damages caps are for medical malpractice claims, wrongful death claims and punitive damages. As such, pain and suffering damages for a car accident are not capped in the state, nor is there a specific formula for determining a damages amount. Instead, a jury will value pain and suffering damages depending upon a number of factors, including extent of impairment and disability, major life changes as a result of the injury, pre-existing injuries, family situation and marital status, and more. The amount of pain and suffering damages recoverable may be reduced if you are found to be partially at fault for the car accident.
How an Attorney Can Help to Negotiate a Fair Damages Amount
Before you accept a settlement amount from an insurance company, make sure you meet with the Dallas attorneys at the Law Office of Julie Johnson PLLC first. Our team can help ensure that you are offered a fair compensation amount for pain and suffering damages. To learn more, call us at 214-290-8001.