Through the civil justice system in Texas, you can receive financial compensation from the person or party that committed a wrong (tort) against you. In legalese, this compensation is known as damages. A civil claim not only has the power to reimburse you for past damages; you could also recover compensation for future damages. Learn more about future damages available in a personal injury case by consulting with an attorney.
Economic vs. Noneconomic Damages
First, understand the difference between the two main categories of damages available: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages pay for your out-of-pocket costs as the victim of a tort. These costs may include hospital bills, lost wages, property repairs and attorney’s fees.
Noneconomic damages are the intangible effects an accident had on you and your loved ones. Another name for noneconomic damages is pain and suffering. Compensatory losses in this category may include emotional distress, mental anguish, physical pain, inconvenience, humiliation, lost quality of life and loss of consortium.
During a personal injury case in Texas, you could be eligible for future damages for economic and noneconomic losses. Your eligibility for future damages will depend on the extent of your injuries and how long they will foreseeably stay with you. Future damages are only available if you will experience losses connected to the accident in the foreseeable future.
What Are Future Damages?
Past and present damages are clear at the time a claimant files a personal injury claim. As an injured victim, you will have medical bills and lost wages piling up to prove these losses. Future damages, however, are less clear. They will depend on when your injury will fully heal – if it will fully heal at all.
You may be able to seek compensation for future damages during a claim if your injuries will, with some level of medical probability, stay with you or get worse in the future. Future damages can include:
- Future medical care. Any surgeries, treatments, physical therapy, rehabilitation, medications or visits with specialists in the future you may need because of your injury. This includes disability accommodations for a permanent injury.
- Future lost wages and lost earning capacity. If a doctor believes your injury will make you unable to work for a certain period of time, you can seek lost wage compensation for shifts you will miss. If you have an injury that will remove you from your current occupation, you can pursue damages for permanent lost capacity to earn.
- Future emotional and psychological impacts. Many accidents have long-term emotional impacts on survivors. If you notice emotional injuries or are diagnosed with a condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder, you may be eligible for future pain and suffering damages.
You can only recover compensation for future damages in Texas if you or your personal injury attorney can successfully prove they will exist. Your lawyer can help you prove future losses using evidence such as your medical records, testimony from your doctor and medical experts, testimony from friends and family members, and information from your employer about the requirements of your job.
Why It Is Important to Seek Future Damages in a Lawsuit
Once you close a personal injury case by accepting a settlement and signing a release of liability form, you cannot reopen it. Even if your injuries worsen or you encounter additional medical costs, you will not be able to reopen a case and negotiate for a higher amount. This is why it is imperative to seek future damages in your original lawsuit – before you miss the opportunity to recover these damages forever.
If you need assistance listing all past and future damages on an insurance demand letter or personal injury lawsuit in San Antonio, contact an attorney. An attorney can make sure you do not miss any important opportunities for recovering financial compensation, including future damages. A lawyer will ensure you do not settle for less than the full and true value of your claim.