There are two types of Texas personal injury damages: compensatory or exemplary (punitive). Compensatory damages are to make the plaintiff whole and include economic and non-economic items like medical bills, lost earning capacity, physical pain, mental anguish, physical limitations, and disfigurement.
Exemplary damages are awarded, in addition to compensatory damages, as a punishment for egregious behavior. They are also meant to deter similar wrongdoing by others. Exemplary damages are available in certain cases and have been severely limited by state law and court decisions.
If you have been injured in an accident and are wondering what damages may be available in your case, the qualified Houston personal injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. can help.
Am I Eligible for Exemplary Damages?
Under Section 41.003 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, exemplary damages are awarded if a plaintiff proves with clear and convincing evidence that their harm resulted from:
- Gross negligence
Exemplary damages may also only be awarded if the jury’s decision was unanimous regarding liability and the amount. This, in combination with the clear and convincing evidence standard, makes it difficult to recover exemplary damages in personal injury cases in Texas.
Are Punitive Damages Hard to Get?
Texas has several limitations to exemplary/punitive damages. Specifically, these damages are precluded if only nominal damages are awarded (i.e. proof of actual damages is a prerequisite) or if the plaintiff elects to have their recovery multiplied under another statute.
Damages Caps in Texas
In Texas, there are statutory caps on punitive damages in personal injury cases. For instance, an award of exemplary damages may not exceed an amount equal to the greater of:
- Two times the economic damages; plus an amount equal to any noneconomic damages found by the jury, not to exceed $750,000; or
In calculating exemplary damages as compensation, the jury must consider the:
- Nature of the wrong
- Character of the conduct involved
- Degree of culpability of the wrongdoer
- Situation and sensibilities of the parties concerned
- Extent to which such conduct offends a public sense of justice and propriety and
- Net worth of the defendant
An Attorney Can Help Recover the Max
If you have been hurt because of another’s negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct, you deserve compassionate and skilled representation from the beginning. This could be the difference in getting the compensatory or exemplary damages you are rightfully entitled to by law.
The Houston personal injury lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. are experienced negotiators and litigators with a proven track record of success.
Our legal team has more than four decades of experience helping accident victims secure the maximum compensation possible, including numerous multi-million dollar recoveries. We will handle your case with the high-level of care and dedication it deserves, so you can concentrate on moving forward with your life.
Contact us today at (281) 283-8500 or online to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.