What Damages Are Available In A Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury cases are sadly common and occur in various situations every day. A personal injury case is one where a party has been injured due to the negligence or intentional actions of another party. Personal injury cases can have a variety of causes ranging from auto accidents to unsafe property, unsafe products, dog bites, and more. The damages a personal injury case can cover are likewise as varied as the causes. These can include (but are not limited to) physical injuries, permanent disability, psychological trauma, out-of-pocket expenses related to the event, loss of earning potential, long-term care expenses, medical treatment, a lowered quality of life, and other long-term losses. It is important to note that an injury does not need to be physical and issues such as PTSD have as much merit and cause for legal action as a broken bone. If you’ve been injured, you should contact personal injury lawyers in Houston as soon as possible.
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Types Of Damages A Personal Injury Case Can Involve
When injured there are many economic areas in your life both in the present and the future that can be impacted. These areas can include:
- Medical Costs: depending on the severity of your injury extensive medical care may be required for proper recovery. Such expenses can quickly add up. Also, there may be a need for long-term medical care (such as physical therapy) which can range from an extended period of time to the rest of your life.
- Lost Wages: another key area of financial loss an injury can cause relates to your work or career. When injured you can easily use up any sick time your job may allow leading to lost income and possibly short-term disability which can reduce your earnings. Severe injuries can permanently impact your wage-earning ability which can lead to a lifelong loss of earning potential which will require proper compensation.
- Property Damage: if the incident causing your injury involves an automobile or other types of transportation there can be property damage which should also be accounted for. Other types of property can also be included given the nature of the accident.
- Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses: when injured costs can accumulate from often random and expected areas requiring your pay for them. Such miscellaneous expenses are also given consideration. Also included are household service expenses injured due to injury and needs such as at-home rehabilitation.
Not all damages are financial in nature, in fact, some of your greatest losses due to injury are non-financial ones. The lasting psychological impact and simple frustration an injury can cause to your daily life should not be overlooked. These damages can include pain and suffering, reduced enjoyment of daily activities, humiliation, damage to your reputation, PTSD, emotional distress, and other related issues. While such damage can be harder to set an exact figure to, they are no doubt as important and matter every bit as much as lost wages.
Some cases display a level of negligence so severe punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages are not intended to cover a specific cost or damage but instead to punish the offending party due to their negligence and bad conduct. Not every case warrants a punitive award however, cases such as those involving reckless and gross negligence are common situations where such a judgment may occur. Recklessness and gross negligence are understood as follows however, there is some gray area as intent and awareness can vary depending on each unique situation or case.
- Reckless Versus Negligence: reckless behavior differs from traditional negligence by nature of intent. Negligence implies that a party should have known better; however, recklessness implies that a party did know better, knew that their action was unreasonable, but did so anyway. Speeding could be considered negligent depending on the surrounding circumstances and nature of the offense, however, drag racing is reckless as it is an illegal act that knowingly puts other drivers in danger.
- Gross Negligence: is defined much like reckless behavior in that it is an action that willfully disregards the safety of others. Gross negligence is well beyond simple error and a lack of care implies a more willful intent. Examples can include knowingly driving through an active school zone, a company running a factory they know to be unsafe, and a company providing known faulty equipment to its customers.
Why Hiring A Lawyer Is So Important
No matter the cause or the nature of your injuries you deserve fair representation and peace of mind. If you’ve been injured through the negligence of others, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible. Never agree to a settlement, speak with an insurance claims adjuster, or sign documentation with an insurance company before you’ve had a chance to receive proper legal advice. By having a lawyer in your corner you will receive sound advice on all legal concerns and also increase your chances of receiving the highest settlement possible for your injuries.