There are a variety of types of damages you can earn in personal injury cases. However, many states have caps that they put on certain types of those damages. California has a few different laws in place to limit the amount or types of damages that a person can get in personal injury cases, including:
- No non-economic damages for uninsured drivers. In most cases, California laws prevent uninsured drivers from being able to recover any types of non-economic damages, even when the other driver is at fault in the accident. Non-economic damages are types of damages that, unlike lost wages or medical bills, do not have a specified cost. Common examples include “pain and suffering,” “loss of companionship,” or “lost future earning capacity.” The only big exception to this rule is that uninsured drivers can recover non-economic damages if the other driver in the accident was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash and is convicted of a DUI in the accident.
- Limits on non-economic damages in malpractice cases. Because of the stipulations in the California Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, there is a $250,000 limit in place for non-economic damages in malpractice cases. A recent proposal to lift this limit to more than a million dollars failed in November elections.
At this time, these are the only damage cap rules in place in California. The reason these rules exist is that non-economic damages tend to be more subjective in nature than other types of damages. It’s hard to say with any great degree of certainty what the true financial ramifications of, say, disfigurement are on a person’s life after an accident. These damages could quickly get out of hand if caps were not in place.
If you have any questions about the types of damages you could receive in a potential personal injury claim, consult a skilled San Diego lawyer with Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.