Anyone who's prepared to hire a personal injury lawyer will want to know if there are any potential limits on the possible compensation in their case. No personal injury compensation lawyer can guarantee how much a client might recover or whether there will be limits. However, there are common factors that tend to determine whether compensation will be capped or not and how high the limits may go.
The biggest factor is usually going to be state laws that impose caps. For example, a car accident lawyer will often encounter limits on non-catastrophic injuries in clients' cases. Some states also impose caps on certain kinds of compensation, such as awards for emotional suffering or punitive damages.
It is always wise to talk with a personal injury lawyer who's licensed to practice in the state where the incident happened. They can tell you more about the specific rules.
Insurance policies also have coverage limits for non-catastrophic injuries. These limits don't necessarily impose a strict cap on recoverable damages, but a victim has to consider whether they want to sue a defendant versus accept a settlement. An insurer always has a number in mind for how much it wants to pay to settle a claim. Folks seeking compensation will have to decide if the settlement offer is sufficient enough to cover their current and long-term needs.
You may have noticed a pattern where limits tend to only exist in cases where victims' injuries were deemed non-catastrophic. The vast majority of laws and insurance policies carve out exceptions for catastrophic claims to ensure there are no limits. A catastrophic injury is one that permanently affects a person's ability to live their life or ply their trade. If someone suffers a spinal injury that leaves them permanently paralyzed, for example, this would trigger a catastrophic exception.
An accident lawyer will often have to prove that a victim's injuries were catastrophic. Bear in mind that context matters. If a professional violinist suffers a major injury to their hand, that could be catastrophic for them in ways that might not trouble someone else.
Types of Injuries
Laws also frequently carve out limits or exceptions based on types of injuries. For example, radiological, chemical, or biological exposure cases often are uncapped. Conversely, many states cap medical injury claims to protect doctors' livelihoods. You should discuss the types of injuries you've suffered with a lawyer so they can determine whether or not there might be limits on compensation.
Reach out to a car accident lawyer for more details.