Caps on Personal Injury Damages
If you’ve suffered a personal injury and plan to sue, you should understand what "caps on damages" means. A "cap" means there are limits to the dollar amount of damages you can receive if you win your case.
One of the biggest caps in Texas is the "statute of limitations." This refers to the amount of time it takes you to file your case in court after being injured. Most personal injury cases in the state are given a two-year time limit. This means you must file your case in a Texas civil court within two years of your accident. After two years, you can't file a suit to receive any money for your injuries.
There is also a cap on medical malpractice cases called a “damages cap.” This cap limits the amount of money you can recover for "non-economic" damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. This means that Texas law limits the amount of money you can be awarded for things that aren't medically related.
For example, if you want to receive money for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice suit, the state of Texas will only allow $250,000 per defendant and no more than $500,000 total. Even if you think you deserve more, this cap prevents you from getting it.
When it comes to cases of wrongful death, the cap on how much you can receive is $1.9 million. This cap is adjusted for inflation. These monetary caps aren't the same for every personal injury case in Texas. They are only for medical malpractice lawsuits.
There are also caps you need to be aware of if you want to receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the person or persons who caused your injury by making them pay you money. They are also meant to teach the at-fault party a lesson by making them pay for their mistake. They are not the same as compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages help pay for any medical care you received, money you lost from being out of work and your personal pain and suffering.
When it comes to punitive damages, the state of Texas puts a cap on the amount of money you can receive from the defendant for causing you harm. You can collect two times the amount of what the total damages cost up to $750,000.
If you have been awarded compensatory damages, you can file a separate lawsuit to collect punitive damages. The entire jury in a case like this must agree that the person who hurt you did it on purpose or simply didn't care about yours or others' safety. It is not typical for a plaintiff (you) to collect punitive damages in a personal injury case.
If your case involves a state agency or the Texas government, many different rules apply. In cases like these, you can't just file a lawsuit. You must file a formal claim with the part of the government you think is responsible for your injury.
This must be done within a given timeframe and as little as 45 days from the time you were hurt. You must include the details of the accident and the time and place of where it happened. There are different rules and caps on damages when you file a claim like this.