How Can Personal Injury Damage Caps In Texas Affect Your Claim?
Friday, January 24th, 2020
In Texas (and all other states) you have the right to seek compensation for injuries caused by someone’s negligence. But, in some cases, there are caps placed on the damages you can receive. Here are the types of damages you can get after a serious accident caused by someone else and any caps set on them by law.
Economic and non-economic damages in Texas
These two types of damages actually have no legal caps in Texas. After you have been in an accident, you can seek compensation by filing an insurance claim or working with an attorney to file a case.
Economic damages refer to those that can be calculated, like medical bills, lost wages, and lost capacity to earn a wage. Your medical bills include things like emergency healthcare right after the accident, future rehabilitation costs, and medication or medical devices needed to heal. Pay stubs and tax records can help you prove your lost wages. Lost capacity to work refers to a situation in which you cannot work your current job for an extended period.
Non-economic damages are those that cannot be easily calculated. They include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship. Because non-economic damages are subjective, you cannot estimate the value you may be able to get without an experienced attorney. Also, your case may require a jury and they would be responsible for valuing these damages.
Medical malpractice lawsuits
In these types of cases, the non-economic damages you could receive are capped by law, specifically the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act of 2003, also known as House Bill 4 (“HB4”). For economic damages, the law said a plaintiff can seek compensation for the calculated total. For non-economic damages, a plaintiff may not sue a doctor for more than $250,000.
No medical facility can be sued for more than $250,000 and the total damages paid out by multiple facilities cannot exceed $500,000. So, the total non-economic damages a plaintiff can receive by this law are capped at $750,000. Keep in mind that economic changes could cause these numbers to change.
Cases that result in punitive damages do so because the defendant showed gross negligence, malice, or fraud that caused the accident. They are meant to “punish” the party at fault and are capped by this law. The limit is the greater of these two numbers: $200,000 or 2 times the amount of economic damages plus the amount of non-economic damages up to $750,000. The cap does not apply if the act that caused the plaintiff’s injuries was a felony.
Lawsuits filed against government organizations
Government entities in Texas are not typically held liable for personal injuries. But, in some cases, they can have limited liability for an accident that resulted in injuries. If you become injured due to the negligence of an employee of the state or a city, you can seek compensation. The cap is set at $250,000 per person and $500,000 total per incident.
Do you need help handling your personal injury claim?
To learn more about seeking compensation for your injuries after an accident caused by someone else, contact Attorney Dean Boyd today at (806) 242-3333. We provide legal assistance in a variety of situations including after Car Wrecks, Semi-truck Accidents, and Oilfield Accidents.