You should not commence litigation without thought and a solid strategy. In weighing your decision about whether to initiate litigation in a personal injury case, one question likely comes to mind above others: What is the maximum amount you can be awarded in a personal injury case in Texas?
The answer to this question is key because it can help you determine whether litigation is worthwhile, and/or whether a settlement offer from the defendant is just.
Generally, the maximum amount you can be awarded depends on the facts of your case and what kind of injury is involved.
There are three kinds of damages you can receive in almost any personal injury case:
- Economic damages,
- Non-economic damages, and
- Punitive damages.
Together, economic and non-economic damages create your compensatory damages, and punitive damages are a reflection of how egregiously an at-fault party behaved at the time of your injury. Each of the three types of damages mentioned above are subject to different kinds of award limits, depending on the type of personal injury case.
Maximum Awards for Economic Damages or Total Damages
Your economic damages are pretty straightforward in a personal injury case. They consist of the money you paid out of pocket for medical care, the cost of property repair/replacement, lost wages, and future financial losses. In most cases, personal injury damage limitations in Texas do not limit your award of economic damages. But there are exceptions.
Award Limits for Injuries Occurring on Agricultural Recreational Land
If you suffer injury while on agricultural land used for recreational purposes, there is a maximum award you can receive in a suit against the private landowner, lessee, or occupant of the land. Texas law allows each person to recover up to a maximum of $500,000 for bodily injury and a maximum of $100,000 for property damage.
The liability of a landowner, lessee, or occupant cannot exceed $1 million for a single occurrence. These limitations apply only if the party to be sued has applicable insurance coverage.
Award Limits for Injuries Caused by State Government Employees and Agents
If a state government employee or agent caused you damage or deprived you of a right while they were performing work for the government, the maximum total amount you can recover is $100,000.
This limitation applies only if the government has an obligation or authorization to indemnify the employee or agent, or if the employee or agent has insurance coverage. This limitation does not apply to cases brought under federal law or the United States Constitution.
Award Limits for Placing Burdens on Religious Beliefs
Generally, the government may not substantially burden your free exercise of religion. If a state government actor infringes on your right to freely practice your religion, your compensatory damages cannot exceed $10,000. This kind of suit applies only to government actors who infringe upon your rights while acting in official capacities.
Award Limits for Wrongful Death and Survival Lawsuits Against Healthcare Providers
If you lost a loved one due to the careless actions of a healthcare provider, money does not bring much comfort, but you should be compensated. A wrongful death or survival action can award you damages for economic losses, damages for pain and suffering, and punitive damages for a provider’s especially heinous behavior.
The maximum award each claimant can receive is $500,000, regardless of how many providers are at fault. Though the law limits total damages in these cases, it does not limit damages for medical care, including future care.
Maximum Awards for Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice
Your non-economic damages are for injury-related losses that can be hard to quantify with receipts. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, damage to your reputation, disfigurement, physical impairment, and other non-pecuniary losses.
In addition to laws setting maximum recoveries for total damages, Texas specifically limits non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
Non-Economic Damage Award Limits in Cases Against Physicians and Healthcare Providers
The maximum amount of non-economic damages you can recover in an action against a physician or healthcare provider is $250,000. The same limit applies even if multiple healthcare providers were at fault or your claim is based on multiple causes of action.
Non-Economic Damage Award Limits in Cases Against Healthcare Institutions
The maximum amount of non-economic damages you can recover in an action against a single healthcare institution is $250,000. If more than one healthcare institution is responsible for the same injury, the maximum amount of non-economic damages you can recover is $500,000.
Maximum Awards for Exemplary or Punitive Damages
Exemplary/punitive damages punish a defendant who behaves particularly poorly at the time of the actionable incident. You cannot recover exemplary damages in cases involving infringement of your right to freely exercise your religion.
In all other cases, you can recover punitive damages only if you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant committed fraud or acted with malice or gross negligence. In general, you can recover exemplary damages only up to an amount equal to twice your economic damages plus your non-economic damages, or up to $200,000, whichever is greater.
Regardless of the calculation method, your exemplary damages generally cannot exceed $750,000. If your case involves methamphetamine or certain felonies, there are no limits to your exemplary damages.
There Are Minimum Awards for Personal Injury Cases Involving Methamphetamine
The typical question is, What is the maximum amount you can be awarded in a personal injury case in Texas? Sometimes it is important to ask about minimum awards. If your case involves the manufacture of methamphetamine, you can recover at least $20,000 for each exposure to the substance or its byproducts.
Contact an Attorney for Maximum Recovery
There are many complicated legal factors that determine how much you can recover in a personal injury case. An experienced personal injury attorney can determine your best options for recovery and negotiate the best settlement on your behalf. An experienced attorney can also bring you peace of mind by doing the heavy lifting in your personal injury claim.
The Zimmerman Law Firm, P.C., has been fighting for the rights of injured Central Texans for over half a century. Our attorneys want to help you recover financially and emotionally during trying times. Contact us online or call us at 254-233-8869 for a consultation and the support you need.