Understanding Personal Injury Damage Caps in Texas
If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, recovering from the losses you incur is critical to your recovery. In order to fully recover your losses, you will need a full accounting of your damages, which is what your physical, financial, and emotional losses are called in legalese. Further, it is important to recognize that Texas laws place some caps – or legal limits – on the damages you can recover in certain situations.
The court awards damages in personal injury cases in order to provide the injured parties with the financial compensation necessary to make them whole again. Damages are divided into both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, relate to physical and emotional pain and suffering (along with mental distress). The State of Texas does implement some financial caps in specific situations.
There are three kinds of personal injury cases where damage caps apply.
Claims Involving Medical Malpractice
If a medical professional or facility’s negligence leaves you injured, there are damage caps involved. You cannot recover more than $250,000 in non-economic damages from any one provider, and you cannot recover more than $500,000 in total non-economic damages from all the medical facilities involved. In other words, you cannot collect more than a total of $750,000 in non-economic damages in a Texas medical malpractice claim.
Claims against the Government
If your claim involves a government entity, your damages (both economic and non-economic) are capped at $250,000 per person involved in the event (with an additional cap of $500,000 per single event). Additionally, there is a cap of $100,000 for claims involving property damage.
Most personal injury claims do not include punitive damages, but when the at-fault party’s actions are especially egregious and/or reckless, the court can award punitive damages that are meant to punish the wrongdoer. Punitive damages are capped at $200,000 – or at twice the amount of one’s non-economic damages plus an equal amount of one’s economic damages – up to a total of $750,000 – whichever amount is larger.
Your Personal Injury Claim
The majority of personal injury claims are not medical malpractice claims or claims against the government, and most do not involve punitive damages. This means that if you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence – such as in a traffic accident or a slip-and-fall accident (or any other kind of premises liability claim) – you are unlikely to face a damage cap.