Damage Caps in Texas

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McMinn Law Firm

Austin, TX

Practice Areas

Personal Injury, Auto Accident

Plaintiffs in personal injury cases often want to know whether or not all the pain of the lawsuit will be worth it. Concerns can center around whether or not they will be able to accept a verdict that covers the true value of their loss. Is there ever a cap on what a plaintiff is able to recover? The short answer is yes. Damage caps in Texas can apply in several situations that we will discuss here.

If you are worried about caps on damages in a persoanl injury case, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is it possible punitive damages be awarded in the case?
  2. Is the case in the medical malpractice practice area?
  3. Is the personal injury case being filed against government entities?

If you have answered "yes" to any of these questions - damage caps may play a role in the case.

Punitive damages occur in cases where gross negligence has been proved. In Texas, punitive damages may not exceed more than two times the amount of economic damages plus the amount equal to non-economic damages. This value should not exceed a total of $750k or $200k, whichever is greater.

Medical malpractice cases are subject to The Medical Malpractice adn Tort Reform Act of 2003 that limited the maximum money a person can receive for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case. There are additional rules as well, the cap for total recovery is $1.65 million (adjusted for inflation).

In Cases Against Government Entities the defendant may have immunity from liability. In cases where the government agency does not have immunity, there may be caps on how much they can be sued for.

Why are damage caps limited in the first place? One argument from seeking to limit the value an accident victim can recover from their injuries has been to prevent "frivolous lawsuits." The agenda has been highly publicized in years past. It refers to "freeloaders" looking for quick cash. Damage caps are widely thought by the public to prevent cases that have no merit from, or are based on weak legal cliams. This tort reform in Texas has been criticized by some as frivolous politics. One aspect of HB 4 Tort Reform Bill of 2002 has made it difficult for many Texans to place a claim on loss of value of life. For instance, a stay at home parent plays a critical role in a family structure, however it would be difficult for them to quantify their "earnings." Some say that after the passage of HB 4, those with higher paychecks are the only ones able to recover after a serious accident.

The best way to find out about damage caps in your state or in your case is to speak with an experienced local attorney.

Visit our website to learn more.

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