Texas Supreme Court May Soon Change How Non-Economic Damages Are Evaluated

Everything has its price, but what is the reasonable cost of non-economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit? The Texas Supreme Court may soon clarify or redefine the standards by which Texas courts should objectively review non-economic awards after hearing oral arguments in two wrongful death cases out of Dallas on appeal: Gregory v. Chohan and United Rentals v. Evans.

In Gregory, decedent was one of many motorists who lost their lives after a black ice incident caused a multi-vehicle accident. The jury awarded roughly $15 million in damages for past and future mental anguish and loss of companionship to the surviving family members. In United, defendant driver carried an oversized load under a low bridge causing bridge beams to collapse onto the oncoming decedent’s vehicle, killing him on the scene. The jury awarded $5 million to the decedent’s estate for conscious pain and mental anguish suffered prior to death. Both decisions included concurring or dissenting opinions urging the Texas Supreme Court to clarify an objective standard from which to measure fair and reasonable non-economic compensation.

To underscore the importance of this upcoming decision, a total of ten amicus curiae briefs were filed from stakeholders on either side of the issue offering their arguments for or against change. The matters at issue here are of additional importance to both practitioners and clients as the Supreme Court’s position may revise how such damages are currently presented and supported at trial and on appeal.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury or lost their lives in a vehicle collision, call the experienced trial lawyers at the Houston law firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner at 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584 for a free personal injury consultation.