When faced with a personal injury case, it’s always recommendable to seek the services of a San Antonio law firm to represent you. One of the reasons for this is that the professional can help you fight for the maximum compensation possible for the injuries and damages.
In other words, you’re not entitled to an unlimited settlement amount. That’s why many states have damage caps in place, Texas being one of them. Here are more insights into what damage caps mean and the types of cases that have damage caps defined.
What Is a Damage Cap?
One of the most common terms you will frequently hear when seeking compensation for personal injuries caused by someone else is damages. It refers to the settlement awarded to the injured person by the negligent party liable for causing the injuries.
States determine damage caps for various injuries to control how much you can recover to help you cater to the medical and related expenses. In Texas, victims of personal injury cases can recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
Why Are Damage Caps in Place?
Given the severe severity of injuries you may sustain in a personal injury case, it’s natural to wonder what purpose damage caps serve. Damage caps seem to be unfair to victims of injuries. Why should the court overrule the decisions if the jury determines that a plaintiff deserves $5 million in compensation?
The overall argument is that high awards can drag the economy. Damage caps help the country manage business costs across the board by reducing service providers’ liability. For example, the jury may award millions of dollars in non-economic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
While the doctor’s insurance company may pay for the damages, what will likely follow is a chain reaction of increasing costs. The primary purpose of damage caps is to deter people from making fraudulent claims. It’s also a way to protect the system. A San Antonio personal injury attorney can guide you on how much you can recover depending on the specific claim.
What are the Damage Caps for Different Claims in Texas?
In Texas, you may recover financial compensation based on the damage caps, but only in specific case types, as not all injury claims have caps. Here are the cases in which Texas imposes damage caps
Non-Economic Damage Caps in Texas
You can recover compensation for non-economic damages like:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
Non-economic damages refer to injury-related costs that are hard to quantify or put a price tag on when calculating compensation. Texas doesn’t impose damage caps on non-economic damages unless the claim is medical-related.
Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims
If you file a compensation claim against a medical practitioner or hospital for negligence that led to your injuries, here are the compensation amounts you can be entitled to:
- Up to $750,000 for non-economic damages in medical negligence
- Up to $250,000 in total if you sue an individual doctor, even if you pursue a case against multiple doctors
- Up to $500,000 in total if you sue a healthcare facility
These caps are stipulated in House Bill 4. The figures may vary as they are subject to adjustment to account for inflation.
Damage Caps on Lawsuits Against Government Entities
Generally, government entities enjoy immunity from liability in personal injury cases. In some cases, they may have limited liability, but there are caps on how much they can pay as compensation.
The Texas Tort Claims Act allows you to file a lawsuit against the government for its negligence and that of its employees. Damages for suits against the government are capped at:
- Up to $250,000 per person involved
- Not more than $500,000 for a single event
- Not more than $100,000 for property damage
For example, if a police officer is an at-fault driver in your car accident case where you and your two children sustained injuries, each of you can only recover up to $250,000 from the officer. The amount may also not be more than $500,000 for that single incident. The caps apply to both economic and non-economic damages in government-related lawsuits.
Damage Caps on Punitive Damage Claims
Some personal injury cases may involve claims against the negligent party as punishment for their wrong action. The damages are neither economic nor non-economic, but they send a message against the defendant not to act negligently in the future to avoid punishment.
Texas courts don’t award punitive damages unless requested. The damages are included in exemplary damages in Texas law and don’t serve a compensatory purpose. The cap for punitive damages is double the value of economic damages in addition to an amount equivalent to non-economic damages up to $750,000 or $200,000, whichever is more.
What Happens if Insurance Companies Don’t Want to Pay Me the Max Amount
Insurance companies thrive by taking advantage of the damage caps determined by the state. They usually fight back against claimants, hoping to pay them as little as possible.
An experienced personal injury attorney in San Antonio can aggressively fight to ensure an insurance company doesn’t lowball you when making a settlement offer. They can evaluate the circumstances around your case, calculate a fair compensation amount, and help you fight for it.
An Aggressive Legal Professional Helping You Fight for Maximum Compensation
After filing a compensation claim for your personal injury case, the defendant’s insurance company will try to shortchange you. You shouldn’t accept a settlement offer before consulting an experienced San Antonio personal injury law firm.
We have skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers in San Antonio who can fiercely fight for your rights. We have spent many years in the legal field and know how the system works. Trust us to help you navigate the complex principles around personal injury cases. Contact us to start a FREE case evaluation.