Damage Caps on Personal Injury Awards in California

Damage Caps on Personal Injury Awards in California

In California, an individual who is injured due to someone else’s negligence is entitled to collect compensation from the person who hurt them. In order to collect the compensation to which he or she is legally entitled, the injured individual can file a personal injury claim. Successful personal injury plaintiffs can recover a variety of different types of compensation (referred to as damages), depending on the types of losses they suffered.

For example, damages awarded in personal injury cases in California often include:

Compensatory Damages: Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the injured party in the amount necessary to replace what was lost with the intent of making the injured party whole again. Examples include compensation for medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost income, and emotional distress.

Punitive Damages: Punitive damages can be awarded to an injured party in addition to compensatory damages in order to punish a liable defendant who acted in a particularly malicious or reckless manner. The idea is to deter both this defendant and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.


Does California Cap Damages in Personal Injury Cases?


Many states impose limits on how much a successful personal injury plaintiff can recover in damages. These caps generally apply to non-economic damages (i.e. damages that compensate for intangible harms such as emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life) and punitive damages. California does not imposes personal injury damage caps across the board, however our state does have a few laws that effectively cap damages under specific circumstances. For example, in California personal injury plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases generally are not allowed to recover more than $250,000 in non-economic damages. (CA Civil Code section 3333.2). Additionally, most uninsured drivers in California are barred from recovering non-economic damages after a car accident, unless the at-fault driver was convicted of driving under the influence in connection with the same accident. (CA Civil Code section 3333.4).


The Pros and Cons of Damage Caps


Why do some states feel the need to impose damage caps and limit the amount of money that a personal injury plaintiff can recover? The obvious downside of damage caps is that an injured party who suffered enormously due to someone else’s negligence may be prevented from receiving what a jury of their peers determined that they deserve in compensation. However, proponents of damage caps argue that these limitations are important in order to protect the economy. They claim that high personal injury awards are a drag on the economy because they increase the costs of doing business. For example, if medical malpractice plaintiffs are allowed to recover high awards in California, then the cost of medical malpractice insurance will go up and the doctors will be forced to charge more for their services. These increases are ultimately paid by the consumer and can drag the economy down.


Need Legal Advice?


Interested in pursuing a personal injury claim in California? If so, The Paris Firm is here to help. Our experienced personal injury lawyers provide the premier legal services that you need. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at The Paris Firm to help you with your case today.

About the Author:

The Paris Firm

Being injured in a car accident or another catastrophe can have unforeseen consequences. Victims may face paying insurmountable medical expenses, decreased quality of life, be unable to work and pay for the necessities of life. Families may be left grieving over the loss of a loved one in addition to facing funeral expenses and other debts. No one should have to face these consequences alone.Personal injury attorney Eric D. Paris, founder of The Paris Firm has been fighting for the rights of injured people in California since 1994.The Paris Firm serves clients injured in accidents in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Kern County. Being injured in a car accident... View full business profile here: The Paris Firm

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