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Economic Damages

Economic Damages

Economic DamagesAs you move through your personal injury claim, you will encounter various legal terms of art. One important term that you should fully understand is “economic damages.” This term affects a big portion of how much your claim is worth. Below, we will explain this critical term and what it may mean for your claim.

What Is a Tort Claim?

What Is a Tort Claim?Personal injury cases are sometimes known as “tort” claims. A tort is a civil wrong that causes harm to another person. It is distinct from criminal acts, which usually require showing the defendant intended to cause harm. The legal theory that underscores most tort claims is negligence, which requires the plaintiff (the party bringing the case) to show the following legal elements:

  • The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
  • The defendant breached the duty
  • The breach caused the plaintiff to be injured
  • The plaintiff suffered damages

While criminal law is concerned with punishing the defendant for their misconduct, tort law is focused on making the plaintiff “whole” again by providing financial compensation for the damages they’ve suffered.

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What Are Economic Damages?

Texas law defines economic damages as “compensatory damages intended to compensate a claimant for actual economic or pecuniary loss.” This is a mouthful, but it basically means losses a personal injury victim suffered that can be computed to a dollar figure.

Are There Other Types of Damages?

Yes, there are other types of damages besides economic damages. Non-economic damages compensate the victim for things that are not as easy to quantify, such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for particularly egregious behavior.

Types of Economic Damages

The Texas Trial Lawyers Association says that economic damages are “easily measured by money, such as lost wages, repairs to a car, the cost of hospital care, etc.” Examples of economic damages might include:

  • Medical expenses – The plaintiff may be able to receive compensation for the emergency medical services they required at the time of the accident, such as ambulance charges, emergency room visits, and hospital stays. They might also recover compensation for ongoing medical expenses, such as follow-up doctor appointments, medication, and travel to and from doctor appointments. Additionally, they could recover compensation for future anticipated medical expenses.
  • Lost wages – If the victim missed work because of their injuries or because they were at home trying to recover, they could receive compensation for these lost wages. They could also recover compensation for the employment benefits they had to use, such as sick days.
  • Lost earning capacity – Some injuries are so serious that they cause the victim to transfer to another job or leave their industry altogether. In these situations, the victim may be able to recover compensation for their lost or reduced earning capacity.
  • Property damage – Accident victims may be able to recover compensation for their damaged vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.

After verifying the types of economic damages a victim suffered, a personal injury lawyer can help calculate economic damages.

How To Calculate Economic Damages

Calculating economic damages is usually pretty straightforward. You can usually add up your various losses and get the sum as your total. There may be some further calculations, depending on your losses. For example, if you lost ten days of work because of your injuries, you would multiply ten by your daily wage. Sometimes, an expert may need to help compute some portion of your damages.

Proof of Economic Damages

There are several ways that you can prove your economic damages, including:

  • Medical bills that show how much your healthcare providers charged you for your care
  • Medical reports that indicate the type of care you may need in the future
  • Receipts that show the purchases you made for over-the-counter items, medications, and gas to and from doctor appointments
  • Pay stubs or a letter from your employer that states how much money you lost in wages
  • Tax returns to show an estimate of how much money you lost if you’re self-employed or own your own business
  • Reports or testimony from expert witnesses, such as medical providers, vocational experts, or economists, to estimate the cost of your future projected losses

An experienced lawyer can carefully consider your damages and help you collect evidence to show your economic damages.

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How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

You do not have to try to deal with your claim on your own. FVF Law Injury Attorneys can help with your economic damages claim by:

  • Talking with you to determine the source of your losses
  • Gathering documentation to prove your losses
  • Meeting with your care team to anticipate future expenses
  • Communicating with the insurance company and providing proof of your losses
  • Negotiating for a fair settlement

Consulting an Austin injury attorney after an accident can be a strong step toward pursuing compensation for your financial losses.

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