If you were hurt in a Houston truck accident, the negligent driver is generally required to pay for your medical bills and other damages. Damages generally fall into one of three categories including economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are those that you can measure. These include such items as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages were caused by the accident but are not economic. For instance, money for pain and suffering is a non-economic type of damage.
Punitive damages are also known as exemplary damages. These are above and beyond economic and non-economic and punish an extremely negligent perpetrator and deter similar bad acts. Punitive damages are not automatic and must be requested. Punitive damages are only appropriate where the driver was grossly negligent.
Certain criteria must be met to win punitive damages. To proceed with punitive damages there must first be actual damages caused by the accident. You cannot collect damages for pain and suffering if you have not suffered an injury. Your attorney must be able to prove that the driver knew or should have known that their actions had high risk for potential harm and that the driver knew about the risk but acted anyway. To prove gross negligence, you must do so by providing clear and convincing evidence.
The Texas Damages Act
Punitive damages that you can collect in a case is capped by law. The Texas Damages Act is legislation that limits the money that can be awarded for punitive damages. Punitive damages cannot exceed twice economic damages plus the amount equal to non-economic damages. It cannot exceed $750,000 or $200,000, whichever is greater.
Before there were limits in place, juries would decide punitive damages without limits. Therefore, a jury could cause financial ruin if they imposed excessive punitive damages. The cap therefore limits the amount to ensure that it is kept within reason.
If you were hurt in a Houston truck accident you may seek economic, non-economic and if the conduct is severe enough, punitive damages. Your attorney will review the details of the case to determine whether the driver was grossly negligent in causing the accident.
Not all cases require a trial. Most personal injury cases are settled before they reach that stage. An experienced Houston truck accident attorney will protect your rights and fight for a settlement that is fair. If a settlement cannot be reached, the matter will court.
Our attorneys will prepare the case as if it will go to court and will be ready to prove your case to the satisfaction of a judge or jury.
If you or a loved one were hurt in a truck accident, contact the Houston truck wreck law firm. Call (281) 863-0760!