California Damage Caps

personal injury | January 6, 2021

Anytime a person sustains an injury caused by the careless, negligent, or wrongful actions of another individual, they should be entitled to compensation for their losses. Personal injury lawsuits are not uncommon in and around Sacramento, and any person responsible for causing harm to another individual should be held accountable for their actions.

However, many injury victims wonder whether or not there are any limitations on the amount of compensation they can be awarded for their claim. Damage caps are often put into place in various states throughout the United States. Here, our Sacramento injury attorneys want to discuss what damage caps are in place in California.

California injury victim meeting with an attorney

Types of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Cases

Before discussing any damage caps that may be in place in California, we need to briefly review the types of compensation that can be awarded in personal injury cases. In general, this can be broken down into economic damages (special damages) and non-economic damages (general damages).

Economic damages refer to compensation awarded for expenses that are relatively easy to calculate. This can include medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, etc. Non-economic damages refer to the types of compensation that are generally harder to calculate because they do not come with bills or receipts. This can include pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, loss of earning potential, etc.

Are There Damages in Place for These Types of Compensation?

California does not place any limitations on the amount of compensation that can be awarded for economic damages in personal injury claims. In general, there is also no limitation in place for non-economic damages in these cases. However, there is one exception to this. California law does place a damage cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice cases.

In the event you or somebody you love is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional, and if you are successful with your lawsuit against that individual, the most you will be able to recover for non-economic damages is $250,000. However, there is no limitation in place for economic damages concerning medical malpractice cases.

Other Special Circumstances

There are a few other circumstances in which pain and suffering damages may not be available. In the event a driver was operating while uninsured, California law will not allow them to recover pain and suffering damages unless the at-fault driver was operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, a person will not be able to secure pain and suffering damages if they were injured while operating their own vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Finally, any person who is injured while committing or fleeing a felony will not be able to secure pain and suffering damages.

Do You Need an Attorney to Help with These Cases?

Anytime you or a loved one sustained an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, you should seek assistance from a skilled accident lawyer in Sacramento as soon as possible. These cases can become very complex, but an attorney can use their resources and legal expertise to conduct a thorough investigation into the claim, determine liability, and help secure full compensation for your losses.