Some states impose strict damage caps on compensation awarded to plaintiffs in personal injury cases. These damage caps can apply to punitive as well as compensatory damages. When you file a suit in Connecticut, and your lawsuit is eligible for punitive damages, you may wonder if there is a cap that will be imposed on your compensation award.
Damage caps are laws, which are dictated by the state. These laws affect non-economic damages that may be awarded in a personal injury claim. There is also a federal level damage cap, which rests at $250,000 for medical malpractice claims.
Damage caps are created to ensure that compensation awards are merited and not based on emotion. While punitive damages are there to “punish” the defendant, they must be reasonable when compared to the offense.
Also, there are the costs associated with high value awards. For example, in a medical malpractice case, a doctor’s insurer would pay the punitive damages. In return, they would raise rates for that physician, as well as others. The chain reaction of inflation would no longer punish just the defendant; it would punish the economy. Therefore, states have combatted the inflation issue by imposing damage caps.
Most personal injury claims will not deal with damage caps, because they do not qualify for punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded when there is gross negligence or malicious acts. Therefore, simple negligence does not qualify.
Connecticut does not employ damage caps for economic or non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. They allow punitive damages in medical malpractice claims, but these punitive damages are limited to the costs of the case and associated attorney’s fees. There is also no statute that allows punitive damages to be awarded in excess of these amounts.
There are limits for attorneys’ fees in a personal injury case. These are graded based on the award amount, and the percentage for the attorneys’ contingency is adjusted based on the reward. There are instances where these amounts can be waived, but only in cases that apply after 2005 and even then, the 33-1/3 percent cap will apply.
If you have suffered an injury, you must consult with a personal injury attorney. An attorney can assess your case and determine which non-economic and economic damages, as well as punitive damages, may apply to your case.