Is There a Cap on Damages in California?

Believe it or not, personal injury suits aren’t all frivolous suits. In fact, the majority of personal injury lawsuits are filed in cases of gross negligence, after a person or group’s careless actions led to someone else’s severe injury. In some states (like Texas), however, a person can only sue up to a certain point before a cap prevents the court from granting him or her more compensation. California, on the other hand, is a little different.

In most cases, California doesn’t usually place limits on the type or amount of compensation a person can receive if they file a personal injury lawsuit or injury-related insurance claim. However, there are a few instances where there is a cap in place.

For example, there is a cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. Pain and suffering compensation is sometimes rewarded in cases where an egregious medical error led directly to a person’s extended misery. However, while the personal injury case doesn’t have a limit to compensate a person for tangible medical costs, it does place cap of $250,000 on all damages other than that. This prevents the court from awarding more than that amount in punitive damages, or a financial penalty designed to keep the negligent party from repeating the same mistake in the future. The law was passed in 1975 and is called the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).

Likewise, there is a pain and suffering damages cap for uninsured drivers. California law prevents most uninsured drivers from recovering noneconomic damages following a car accident, even if the other driver is completely at fault for the collision. This cap is likely to encourage all California drivers to purchase some kind of car insurance to keep themselves and other drivers covered after such a collision. The only exception to this rule is if the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is later convicted of a DUI. In cases involving DUI, even an uninsured driver is eligible to collect as much as possible in pain and suffering compensation if their injury is severe and was caused by someone else’s egregious disregard for the health and safety of other people.

If you were injured by the negligence of another person, make sure to call our skilled San Jose personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. We can take a look at your case and offer compassionate and experienced guidance about your best course of action. The at-fault party should assume the responsibility for paying your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. We can help you hold the negligent person or group accountable. Habbas & Associates has more than 175 years of combined legal experience to offer your case. Let us see what we can do for you and your family.

Contact us at (888) 387-4053 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.

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