Did you know that some states limit how much compensation you can receive after a personal injury accident? Click here to learn more about damage caps.

Does Washington put a cap on personal injury damages?

 

A:

When pursuing a personal injury claim, there are three classifications of damages that you can be awarded: Economic, Non-Economic, and Punitive. A brief explanation of each follows:

  • Economic. Economic damages refer to specific monetary costs that have accrued as a direct result of the accident. For instance, medical bills for injury treatment, lost wages from being injured, and repair costs are all considered economic damages.
  • Non-economic. Non-economic damages refer to damages that don’t have a specific price tag. These include emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
  • Punitive. Punitive damages refer to a monetary punishment of sorts. The amount is intended to act as a consequence for the defendant’s actions and is used to persuade him from repeating his poor behavior or engaging in similar behavior in the future. Punitive damages may also be sought against companies whose actions or negligence led to a death or injury.

Depending on which damages your attorney advises you to pursue, and what type of accident caused your injuries, your settlement amount may be limited due to regulated damage caps.

Personal Injury Caps

Damage caps are laws that set a maximum limit on the amount of damages that may be awarded for a case. Each state can set its own caps, with one exception. The federal government has put a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims only. This cap is to prevent health insurance premiums from rising.

State cap amounts vary, ranging from $350,000 to $750,000 depending on the circumstances of the claim. However, all damage cap laws make exceptions for cases involving death and serious injuries, permitting a higher damage cap or removal of the cap altogether.

Washington’s Specific Caps

Unlike some states, Washington doesn’t have a universal cap when it comes to personal injury damages. Instead, Washington limits damages as follows:

  • Economic damages. Washington has no caps on economic damages in personal injury cases.
  • Non-economic damages. Washington uses a formula to calculate non-economic damage caps. This formula takes into account the plaintiff’s wages and life expectancy to come up with a limit.
  • Punitive damages. Washington law does not allow for punitive damages in civil cases.

For more information on compensation limits or to discuss pursuing your damage claim, contact our Bellevue office today. Our team of exceptional lawyers and staff will be happy to answer your questions and get you on the right path toward a fair settlement. Call us today at 800.636.3676 to schedule your free consultation.


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Bellevue Office
11900 NE 1st Street
Suite 300
Bellevue, WA 98005
Phone: (425) 289-1990
Fax: (425) 289-1991
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Bellevue Office
11900 NE 1st Street
Suite 300
Bellevue, WA 98005
Phone: (425) 289-1990
Fax: (425) 289-1991

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