• Nicole Linko

WHAT’S MY CASE WORTH

Car wreck victims want to know how much money they will get for what happened to them. Texas law allows recovery of damages for past and future medical expenses that are reasonable and necessitated to treat the injury that are paid or incurred by the victim; past and future loss of earning capacity that was caused by the injury; past and future physical impairment; past and future physical pain and mental anguish; past and future mental impairment; and past and future disfigurement. Not every injury causes all those elements of damage.


The amount of money a victim can expect for each element depends on the severity of the injury, the amount of impairment the injury causes, and whether such severity and impairment are temporary or permanent. Other factors are the age of the victim, whether the victim was already suffering on account of a medical condition that existed at the time of the car wreck.


Many recoveries are limited by the amount of insurance the negligent driver had and the amount of underinsured insurance the victim had. It is an extremely rare case where an individual in Texas can be required to pay damages that exceed the amount of insurance such driver had.


Most recoveries will be limited by having to repay out of settlement proceeds to the victim’s health insurance carrier, Medicare, Medicaid. This repay is called subrogation, and the party that gets repaid is called the subrogee. The subrogee is protected by law and gets repaid out of the victim’s portion of a recovery.


Due to the impact that “Tort Reform” has had on Texas juries, jury verdict damage awards in soft tissue injury cases have reached all time lows. Many jury verdicts do not even award the victim all the medical expenses, if the jury thinks the medical expenses were not justified. Most jury verdicts will award the medical expenses, loss of wages, and some amount for physical pain and mental anguish.

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