What are special damages in Texas?
In Texas there are two different types of damages you can claim in a lawsuit: general damages and special damages. These damages are also called direct or consequential damages.
General, or direct, damages include the damages that are the direct result of your accident. These could be your medical bills, the cost of ambulance health care services, pain and suffering, or property damage. These were the damages that would happen after any injury accident, and they are often less than the special damages.
Special damages are damages that happened after your accident but weren’t a part of the accident itself. These will include other financial damages that will be unique to you such as the value of your lost wages. Loss of earning capacity and loss of household productivity are also examples of special damages.
In Texas courts, special damages are required to be pleaded. You may lose your right to recover your general damages if you don’t.
The Concept of Damages
Damages are meant to restore you back to the position you were in before an accident or illness occurred. It is a means of seeking justice and it’s currently the best means we have available, even if no amount of money can restore your health or the life of a deceased loved one.
The term “damages” doesn’t have anything to do with actual damages. This is just another one of many idiosyncrasies of the English language. Instead, damages is a term used to describe the economic and non-economic losses that are the result of an accident, illness, or act of violence.
Being able to seek financial damages is an important concept in our society, especially when you consider what came before this. Centuries ago, there was a different system in place—one that called for one death to be compensated by another death. Way back before we had the concept of paying for a wrongful death, a wrongful death would have been avenged. This is where the term “blood money” comes from.
Getting validation and financial compensation from a settlement or trial is a much better way to deal with someone else’s negligent actions. It holds the responsible party accountable and encourages them to be more responsible in the future.
When You May Be Awarded Damages
There are many situations that can result in an individual being awarded damages. Anytime you are injured or you develop an illness because someone else was careless or criminally negligent, you may be able to recover the damages that are associated with the incident. This could be the result of:
- A car accident
- A slip, trip, or fall
- Being exposed to hazardous materials
- A workplace injury
- An injury in a store or business
- An injury on government-owned property
- Workplace violence
- Domestic violence
- An injury that happens during a crime
In the case of a crime, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. This type of damage is intended to punish the perpetrator of a crime such as a drunk driver or someone who has committed a murder.
What to Do If You Are Owed Damages
If you believe you may be owed damages, it’s time to seek professionals that can help you deal with the aftermath of a car accident. The statute of limitations in this state is two years from the date of the accident in cases of personal injury and wrongful death.
For your best chance at a successful case with the largest possible award, you will want to begin collecting evidence and preparing your case as soon as possible, before the statute of limitations has expired.
Remember, it is your legal right to collect damages if someone else was at-fault. Exercising this right is a critical step in your recovery.