There is a limit on the amount of punitive damages that an individual can receive in a single case. As such, the punitive damages cap for injury lawsuits in Alabama could affect your financial recovery following an accident. According to Ala. Code 6-11-21, punitive damages in civil actions must not exceed:
- Three times the amount of the compensatory damages
- Up to $1,500,000 for physical injuries
While most cases do not recover punitive damages, they play a significant role in a payout when awarded. Our attorneys can explain how this damage cap may affect your case when seeking compensation on your behalf in a personal injury lawsuit.
Understanding Damage Caps in Alabama
Alabama had previously instituted a law limiting the amount a plaintiff could claim in a personal injury case – this included compensatory damages as well as other types of financial recovery. However, the Alabama Supreme Court subsequently deemed this limit unconstitutional. As such, the state currently has no direct limit on the overall damages you can receive for your injuries.
Still, there are limits on punitive damages and damages recovered from a government agency. These limit your recoverable compensation regardless of the strength of your case and the amount of evidence showing you suffered those damages.
If you are concerned that a damage cap will affect your case significantly, a personal injury lawyer from our firm can explain how these caps work and help you navigate them.
Alabama’s Punitive Damages Cap
Punitive damages are not compensatory. They do not compensate victims for their injuries, property damages, or other losses. Instead, they serve as a penalty for the liable party. They are also not common in personal injury cases.
For example, a judge may award punitive damages to a plaintiff if they can show the defendant acted maliciously or intentionally. As such, a careless or negligent liable party is unlikely to qualify the victim for punitive damages.
It is not always easy to prove that a defendant acted in such a manner, but if you have the evidence to do so, your final compensation could increase up to the allowable limits.
Another important factor regarding punitive damages in Alabama: they are the only damages available in wrongful death cases. This means you may experience this cap while seeking compensation for the loss of your loved one.
The Municipal Liability Cap
In addition to the limit on punitive damages in Alabama, the state also has a cap on municipal liability. This cap limits how much a victim can recover when the at-fault party is a city, town, or related agency.
Under Ala. Code 11-47-190, no city or town can be liable for personal injury damages unless the injury resulted from negligence or carelessness. In general, you could bring a case against the city or town if there is evidence of a failure to remedy defects or if the municipality should reasonably have known about a potential danger.
Even so, if a court determines that the municipality is liable for injuries, there is a limit on the compensation recoverable. Specifically, an injured individual may only claim a total of $100,000, and awards cannot exceed $300,000 for a single incident.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
The benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer extend beyond having someone to handle all the legal paperwork. For example, a personal injury attorney will understand how to gather evidence, structure a case, and negotiate for the highest payout. If your case goes to trial, a lawyer with litigation experience can aggressively fight for a favorable judgment.
If you were injured due to the negligence of another person, a company, or a government entity, our attorneys could help you seek damages for your:
- Medical treatment and expenses
- Future care needs
- Lost wages and reduced ability to earn in the future
- Property damages
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages, under some circumstances
Moreover, if you suffered injuries due to another person or company’s negligence, it is important to know the laws that could affect your case. The laws governing personal injury cases vary from state to state, so you will want to work with someone who understands these procedures and rules in Alabama.
Our law firm can provide this support after a free initial consultation.
Speak with Our Attorneys About Your Case Today for Free
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in Alabama, you can discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer from the Morris Bart law firm for free today. We provide complimentary consultations from four locations in Alabama, including Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery.
We are a contingency fee firm, so there is no financial risk to hiring us for your case. Our lawyers are ready to develop a case to recover compensation on your behalf. Call (800) 537-8185 today to learn more.
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