Recovering damages after a personal injury can be pivotal for supporting your healing process. Such compensation usually covers the costs of medical treatment, loss of income from inability to work, and intangible losses like sustained pain and mental anguish.
However, as you proceed with your lawsuit, it’s essential to understand whether damage caps apply in Arizona, as it will influence the trajectory of your claim and determine what you may be entitled to.
Damage caps are imposed limits on the amount of compensation one can receive in a lawsuit. Essentially, these set a maximum limit to what you may recover from responsible parties after an incident like an accident or malpractice.
When there are no caps, decision-making regarding awards falls to juries. They assess all aspects including facts and evidence presented during the trial, at which point they determine what they believe to be a fair compensation amount. In most cases, you will be awarded what they decide.
But when damages caps exist by law, plaintiffs cannot receive an award that exceeds this predetermined figure – irrespective of how much the jury wants to award.
In states that enforce damage caps, the limitation applies to punitive and/or non-economic damages.
Punitive damages are above and beyond actual losses, meant to punish the defendant and deter them from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
Non-economic damages cover your intangible losses like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Notably, there’s currently NO state that limits economic damages, which are awarded to cover the cost of things like medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
Arizona is one of the more plaintiff-friendly states when it comes to claiming damages in a personal injury suit because it does not impose limits on damage recoveries.
Article 2, Section 31 of Arizona’s State Constitution strictly prohibits laws that curtail damages brought about by injuries or death:
“No law shall be enacted in this state limiting the amount of damages to be recovered for causing the death or injury of any person.”
However, there are certain restrictions that apply when pursuing punitive damages in Arizona.
The state law – specifically Arizona Revised Statute 12-820.04 – does not permit plaintiffs to obtain punitive damages in cases against public entities or public employees. This means if the defendant is a government entity or a public employee, you won’t receive such additional compensation meant to deter wrongful action in the future:
“Neither a public entity nor a public employee acting within the scope of his employment is liable for punitive or exemplary damages.”
In non-government-related personal injury cases throughout Arizona, the jury is largely responsible for deciding recovery amounts. The awarded sum hinges on several factors including the extent of sustained injuries, projected healing timeline, medical expenses related to your accident, and even considerations like age and earning capacity.
A dedicated lawyer plays an integral role in bolstering your claim’s chance at success. They understand the nuances of maximizing compensation in your favor, drawing upon proven negotiation tactics to advocate for an optimal payout from the party at fault, their legal team, or the insurance company.
Should these negotiations not yield satisfactory results, the right lawyer won’t be afraid to take things a step further and will tirelessly represent you during trial proceedings. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation.