Car Accident Injury Damages

Doug Goyen, AttorneyIf you break it you pay for it. This ancient common-sense rule applies in personal injury cases as well. If you have been injured due to the negligence of someone else, you have damages, and the law allows you to pursue compensation from those that caused the damage. The Law Office of Doug Goyen auto accident attorneys in Dallas use expertise, top-of-the-line representation, and a passion for justice on our client’s behalf. We go after the insurance company for car accident injury damages. We can get started on your case immediately. Call today.

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The driver who is negligent is required to pay for those injuries, harms, and damages that Texas law allows you to recover in a personal injury case. The insurance company may act as if they don’t believe your claims or may try to make it difficult for you to present your claims, but Texas law allows you to recover for the following damages listed below.

“Damages” is the term used by personal injury attorneys to describe how you were harmed or lost money in your personal injury or wrongful death case. If you have one or more of the following types of damage from your injuries, the law in Texas allows you to recover money to compensate you for the damage and injury caused by the negligent conduct of the other party. With proof of the damage or injury claimed, the person or company who caused the harm can be forced to pay.

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Woman taken on stretcher from accident, Damages in car accidents


Texas divides damages into three categories. They are 1) Actual Damages, 2) Nominal Damages, and 3) Exemplary Damages.

1) ACTUAL DAMAGES include both economic and non-economic damages. They are also known as compensatory damages and are awarded in order to repair a wrong or compensate for an injury. Robertson Cty. v. Wymola, 17 S.W.3d 334, 343-44 (Tex.App.-Austin 2000, pet. denied); City of Dallas v. Cox, 793 S.W.2d 701, 733 (Tex.App.-Dallas 1990, no writ); King v. Acker, 725 S.W.2d 750, 756 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1987, no writ).

Actual Damages are classified as either economic damages or non-economic damages. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem Code section 41.001(8). In jury trials, the jury determines the amounts of these damages. See 41.008(a). Exemplary Damages (also known as Punitive Damages) are not included as part of actual damages. See 41.001(8).

a) ECONOMIC DAMAGES: Economic Damages are damages intended to compensate for the actual economic or pecuniary loss (losses measured in money). See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code section 41.001(4). Economic Damages recoverable in auto accident personal injury cases often include the following:

Past and future medical bills: The amount of the medical bills necessary to treat your injury, both in the past and future.

Past and future lost earning capacity: The amount of money you could have earned had you not been injured.

Past and future lost income: The amount of money you actually did lose due to the injury and will lose in the future.

Property damage: Damage done to your property, such as your car, or computer, or phone, or glasses are recoverable in an accident case.

Loss of use of your property: Such as rental car bills, or if you used your property or vehicle in your business and lost some of your income while the vehicle was not able to be driven is recoverable in a car wreck or accident case.

Storage: If your vehicle was towed from the scene and stored in a storage yard, you will have bills for that storage. This is recoverable in an auto accident or motor vehicle wreck case.

Total loss of property: If your vehicle was destroyed and cannot be repaired, you are entitled to recover the value of the vehicle just prior to the accident happening.

Diminished value of the property: If your vehicle has been repaired, but is now worth a lower amount of money due to it having been involved in the accident, then you are entitled to recover money for the diminished value of your vehicle.

Loss of services: If a husband or wife can no longer do their normal household duties due to the injury, then they are entitled to recover from this.

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b) NONECONOMIC DAMAGES: Noneconomic Damages are awarded to compensate for physical pain and suffering, mental or emotional pain or anguish, loss of consortium, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of companionship and society, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, injury to reputation, and all other nonpecuniary losses other than exemplary damages. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code section 41.001(12).

Past and future mental anguish: How your physical injury has caused the mental anguish to a high degree, to the point that it is more than mere disappointment, resentment, embarrassment, or anger, and how it will do so in the future.

Past and future pain and suffering: Compensation is allowed based on the common sense, knowledge, and sense of justice of a jury. Determining the value of pain and suffering in terms of settling a claim is therefore done by trying to think of how a jury – who doesn’t know anyone involved – will think the value is.

Loss of body member or mental function: If you have lost an arm, leg, hearing, or mental function or capacity due to the accident or injury, there may be circumstances where this injury needs to be claimed separately from physical impairment or disfigurement in order to recover damages for the harm that was caused.

Loss of consortium (spouse, parent, child/filial): If the injury severe enough that it has caused you to no longer enjoy the companionship of your family members, then you are entitled to recover for how this has damaged your family relationships.

Past and future physical impairment: How you have been physically impaired in the past due to your injury, and how you will be physically impaired in the future. Physical impairment is Texas’ version of “loss of enjoyment of life”.

Past and future disfigurement: How the injury has physically disfigured you in the past, and how it will do so in the future.

Emotional/mental trauma (bystander injury): If a closely related person actually witnesses in some way as it happens, such as sees a loved one seriously injured or killed, they are entitled to recover as a bystander for the emotional or mental trauma caused by witnessing such an event.

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2) NOMINAL DAMAGES: Are damages awarded when there has been a violation of a legal right, but the injured party has not sustained any actual loss (or is unable to prove the amount of loss due to a lack of evidence or testimony on the particular injury or damage). See MBM Fin. Corp. v. Woodlands Oper. Co., 292 S.W.3d 660, 665 (Tex.2009); Huntington Corp. v. Inwood Constr. Co., 472 S.W.2d 804, 808 (Tex.App.-Dallas 1971, writ ref’d n.r.e.)(P could not prove actual loss). Nominal damages are not allowed if the harm claims is entirely economic and subject to proof. MBM Fin., 292 S.W.3d at 665; Gulf States Utils. Co. v. Low, 79 S.W.3d 561, 567 (Tex.2002)(P who suffered actual damages but did not prove the amount was not entitled to nominal damages). Nominal damages are typically damages in name only, and usually award a trivial amount such as one dollar. The court is able to tax court costs against the defendant even if the damages are only nominal. ITT Commercial Fin. Corp. v. Riehn, 796 S.W.2d 248, 257 (Tex.App.-Dallas 1990, no writ).

In cases of breach of contract, assault, defamation, invasion of privacy, and trespass, Texas courts have held that if the suit is proven, even if damages have not been proven, the plaintiff is entitled to recover at least nominal damages.

3) EXEMPLARY DAMAGES (Punitive Damages): These damages are designed to penalize and deter conduct that is outrageous, malicious, or morally culpable. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code section 41.001(5); Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corp. v. Malone, 972 S.W.2d 35, 40 (Tex.1998); Transportation Ins. v. Moriel, 879 S.W.2d 10, 16 (Tex.1994). They are permitted in order to “punish” the person who caused the injury for extremely bad or illegal behavior, with the goal of discouraging such behavior in the future. Exemplary damages are not considered compensatory. They are not considered economic or noneconomic damages either.

Tort reform in Texas has weakened the bite of this measure of damages, but it is still available in certain situations or cases – but it is often limited by caps enacted by the Texas Legislature in response to the tort reform movement.

Prenatal injury, exemplary damages, prejudgment interest, attorney’s fees, and court costs are examples of additional damages that may be recoverable in accident and injury cases.

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Death or Wrongful Death cases include the following damages (harms & losses – Economic and Noneconomic Damages):

The death of a person causes different types of recovery than in injury cases where the person survives. Since the person is deceased, they are unable to make the claim for their own injury. Family or the estate must make any claims for damages in situations where a person dies due to negligence or an intentional act. There are two courses of recovery in death situations in Texas – the Wrongful Death Act and Survival Causes of Action. Damages recoverable include both economic and non-economic damages, exemplary damages, and nominal damages.

WRONGFUL DEATH ACT losses that can be recovered: Pecuniary loss (adult child, minor child, parent), loss of society & companionship, mental anguish, loss of spousal consortium, loss of parental consortium, loss of filial consortium, emotional and mental trauma resulting from the contemporaneous perception of death of loved one, exemplary or punitive damages, loss of inheritance.

Survival Causes of Action in death situations include damages that are recoverable by the estate: Funeral and burial expenses, decedent’s conscious pain and suffering, mental anguish, property damage, exemplary or punitive damages, and medical expenses. In other words, the estate steps into the shoes of the decedent, as though he had not died, and makes the claims on behalf of the decedent. Any money recovered goes to the estate.

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If you are looking for a Dallas accident injury lawyer, call (972) 599 4100. We offer free phone consultations. We also provide a free strategy session. The strategy session includes a summary of your case, legal issues involved, and legal issues we identify as being critical to maximizing the compensation owed.


You owe us nothing if we are unable to recover. We charge a contingency fee structured to take a percentage of what we recover. As a performance-based contract, the better we do for you, the better we do for ourselves. This aligns our interests in the case with our client’s interests.


Law Office of Doug Goyen
15851 Dallas Pkwy #605
Addison, Texas 75001
(972) 599 4100 phone
(972) 398 2629 fax

Directions to our office: We are on the southbound side of the service road to the Tollway. Stay on the Dallas North Tollway until you come to the Keller Springs exit. Take the Keller Spring exit. Stay on the service road on the southbound side and go just past Keller Springs. Our office is the 2nd building south of Keller Springs, located on the service road to the North Dallas Tollway in the Madison Business Center on the 6th floor.

By Doug Goyen,

Call For A Free Case Review (972) 599 4100

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