Does Pennsylvania Place Caps on Personal Injury Damages?
Pennsylvania does not place caps on economic and non-economic damages, or compensation— in personal injury cases. However, there is an exception if the defendant is a public entity such as a government agency or school district.
Also, the Commonwealth does not put a cap on medical malpractice awards. In fact, Pennsylvania’s constitution specifically prohibits personal injury caps.
A Pittsburgh personal injury attorney from our team will hold those responsible for your injuries accountable and help you receive the compensation you deserve. Our dedicated attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion for clients in verdicts and settlements.
Large damage awards most often go to those suffering a catastrophic injury as the result of another party’s recklessness or negligence. Likely, this individual will never return to the condition they were in before the accident.
Examples of this include:
- Loss of limbs
- Loss of vision
- Multiple fractures
- Neurological damage
- Severe burns
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
Also, because of a catastrophic injury, the person may never work again and may require constant care and supervision. Medical needs are usually ongoing and may include special equipment and housing accommodations. Our highly skilled team knows a fair settlement amount and will fight for it.
Types of damages
Damages fall into two basic categories: Economic and Non-economic. The former is easily quantifiable, while the latter is more subjective.
Examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
With non-economic damages, it is not simply a matter of adding up the bills or determining future earnings based on a person’s age, education, and skills. Such damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
There is another type of damages, which are not awarded as frequently as economic and non-economic damages. These are punitive damages, and they are meant to punish a defendant who acted in a particularly reckless or egregious way.
Damage cap exceptions
As noted, there are personal injury damage caps when the defendant is a state, county, or local government body. If the Commonwealth is involved, the damage cap is $250,000.
Overall, damages are limited to $1 million, and are limited to:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage – does not pertain to roadway potholes or sinkholes
When the defendant is a local government or its agency, the cap is $500,000. Keep in mind that pain and suffering damages are only available if the case involves permanent disfigurement, bodily function loss– or death– and total medical expenses are greater than $1,500.
Punitive damage amounts are limited to ten times the amount of other damages awarded.
Finally, there are other limitations to a lawsuit against the government. It is critical to contact a skilled attorney who specializes in catastrophic injury if you are involved in an accident with a government entity—for example, a collision with a public school bus or municipal garbage truck.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation
A Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer from our team will protect your rights. Use our online contact form to arrange a free consultation or call or text us 24/7.
Most cases are settled, but if the insurance agency does not offer a reasonable amount for your injuries, we will take the case to trial. Because we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation.