Damage Caps and Limits on Personal Injury Compensation

If you have been injured due to another’s misconduct, you may be wondering: Are there any limitations on the amount of money I can receive in compensation? This article will help you answer that question.  

In some cases, there is no cap on the amount of compensation a person can receive. In others, there are limits on how much money can be awarded. This depends on the type of case, as well as the nature and severity of your injuries. It is important to be aware of damages caps that apply to your case so you can accurately manage and plan your finances. 


Economic Damages in Personal Injury Claims

Economic damages are compensation you receive as a result of monetary losses you experience. Essentially, things that you have (or will have) a receipt or bill for. This can include things like medical costs, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses associated with the injuries you suffered in your accident. There is no cap on how much you can receive in economic damages. The amount you receive is based on your ability to prove your losses. 

Economic damages are broken down into two main categories: past and future.


Past Economic Damages

Past economic damages are things that you already have a receipt or bill for. This type of damage is easier to prove because the costs have already been incurred. To prove economic damages, you'll need documentation. This could be medical bills, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, tax forms and/or documentation reflecting work you missed due to your injuries, and so forth. As long as you have appropriate proof of your past economic damages, and can demonstrate they were incurred as a result of your accident, you should receive compensation for them.

Understanding your past economic damages and providing appropriate proof to the court can be challenging, but an experienced litigation attorney can help you with this crucial step. Often, your attorney can obtain the documents necessary to prove your past damages with little to no involvement on your part. 


Future Economic Damages 

Future economic damages consist of the same types of damages as past economic damages. For instance, future economic damages can consist of things like future medical bills, future lost wages, future out-of-pocket expenses, etc. The main difference between past and future economic damages is that future economic damages have not yet been sustained while past economic damages have already been incurred. This makes proving future economic damages more difficult. Typically, this requires having a qualified expert explain what damages you will experience due to the accident you were in. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to obtain the expert support needed to prove your future economic damages claims.  


Noneconomic Damages in Personal Injury Claims

Noneconomic damages cannot be proven with written documentation or receipts. A typical example of noneconomic damages is “pain and suffering”. Because these damages are less concrete, they are relatively difficult to measure and prove. A jury will reward noneconomic damages based on the impact your injuries have had on your daily life and the life of your close family members. 

For noneconomic damages like pain and suffering and damage to your relationships, there is a cap. That cap will vary based on the severity of your injuries and the amount of your economic damages. In all but the most extreme cases, that cap will be between $250,000.00 and $350,000.00 per person, and typically $500,000 per accident.  


When can you receive more than the damage cap for pain and suffering?  

There are a few ways to get around the damage cap for pain and suffering. 

First, if you are filing a wrongful death claim, there is no cap on noneconomic loss. 

Second, the cap for noneconomic loss is raised in cases involving “permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system;” or “permanent physical functional injury that permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life-sustaining activities.” 


If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of others, and are considering pursuing legal action, the cap for noneconomic loss may affect your recovery. Keep the following in mind: 

  • There is no cap on past and future economic damages (like medical costs). However, you will need to prove your economic damages with specific evidence. 
  • The cap on noneconomic damages (like pain and suffering) is usually between $250,000.00 and $350,000.00.  
  • The cap on noneconomic damages is typically $500,000 per accident.  
  • In extreme cases involving death, permanent severe injury, or loss of the use of a body part, the statutory cap on noneconomic damages may be raised or completely eliminated.  


An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand how the cap on noneconomic damages may impact your case. They can also argue to the court that the cap does not apply to your case. The Law Offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel will help you gather the necessary evidence and present that evidence to the court. We have years of experience helping clients get the most possible compensation for their injuries. Call us at (614) 389-9711 for more information.

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