Why does Texas have damage caps?
Damage caps can apply in a few different scenarios in Texas. Damage caps could affect the outcome of a personal injury case or the plaintiff's ability to make a recovery at all.
Punitive Damages and Damage CapsPunitive damages can be awarded in civil cases by a jury. They may do so if the jury feels that the defendant should be punished for grossly negligent behavior. The damages don't serve as economic way of making the plaintiff whole again - but rather they send a message to the community at large about the consequences of acting so negligently that it causes unnecessary harm.
So what? Why does this matter to damage caps? There is a limit on punitive damages in Texas.
When punitive damages are a part of a personal injury claim, they may not exceed certain amounts. If determined based on economic damages, they may not be more than two times the amount of economic damages plus the amount equal to non-economic damages not to exceed $750,000. If not based on economic damages in the case, they may not exceed $200,000, or whichever of these figures is greater.
Medical malpractice and damage capsIn 2003, Texas passed the Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act of 2003. In this act, the maximum amount of money a person can receive for a non-economic damages has been limited. Now, a person can sue a doctor or healthcare professional for for no more than $250,000. Additionally, the amount involved for a healthcare facility is limited to $250,000 to $500,000 among all facilities involved in the incident.
There is additionally a total cap on recovery of combined economic and noneconomic damages is capped at $500,000 (Adjusted for inflation is approximately $1,650,000.)
Government Entities and Damage CapsThere are special rules that exist around suing for damages caused by a government entity. Some examples can be the police, EMS, schools, and other entities associated with the state or municipality. The cap for each person involved is $250,000 but cannot exceed more than $500,000 for a single person.