Personal injury damage awards in New Jersey may or may not have a limit or cap. Certain categories of damages awards are subject to limitations. While compensatory damages have no cap, punitive damages do. Damages are governed by a complex series of laws in New Jersey, which are more fully described below.
Knowing About New Jersey’s Damages Cap
If you are planning to file a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey, you may be wondering if there is a cap on the damages you can obtain as a victim of negligence. Damages are the monetary sum awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury case.
The amount of money that can be awarded to you as damages in a personal injury case through a verdict or settlement is limited by a damages cap. They exist in the majority of states, one of which is New Jersey.
Types of Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Cases
As in other jurisdictions, the two main categories of damages (compensation for losses) available in a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey are compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are connected to a particular injury and fall into two major categories that an injured person may make a claim for.
Any expenses or financial losses sustained by the victim as a result of their injuries are considered economic damages, which include medical costs, property damage, and loss of earning capacity. If the person can no longer walk, this may entail modifications to the home and a car that is wheelchair-accessible. Those costs are also considered economic damages. Things we can put a price on.
Non-economic damages are less clear-cut but yet frequently account for a substantial portion of the victim’s cash compensation. These include losses that are recognized by the law as legitimate but do not have a specific monetary value, such as pain and suffering brought on by the plaintiff’s injuries or the devastating impact those injuries have had on the plaintiff’s ability to go about their everyday life.
Non-economic damages, which are sometimes referred to as pain and suffering, include conditions like:
- physical pain
- loss of independence
- loss of consortium
- loss of enjoyment of activities
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The amount that can be collected as compensation for some types of damages, however, may be limited by law. Since non-economic damages can be significantly more subjective and do not directly relate to the financial losses incurred by the injured party, these regulations are typically exclusively applied to non-economic damages.
No Cap on Compensatory Damages in NJ
There is no cap on compensatory damages in New Jersey. In general, compensatory damages are intended to make up for losses the victim has suffered as a result of the defendant’s negligence. The legislature has made several attempts to limit compensatory damages, but none of them have been successful.
Caps on Punitive Damages Under New Jersey Law
Punitive damages are limited in amount and aren’t given as often as compensatory damages. To receive punitive damages, you must demonstrate that the defendant acted outrageously or recklessly disregarding the value of human life. They are meant to hold the defendant accountable for their actions and discourage them from doing them again in the future.
For punitive damages to be awarded, the defendant’s failure to act, malicious conduct, or their full disregard for the plaintiff’s rights must be established. In other words, the defendant behaved maliciously with the intent to hurt the plaintiff while being fully aware of the potential harm that could be caused. Punitive damages are limited to $350,000, which is five times the compensatory award.
Do you need legal counsel?
All cases falling under this umbrella, including auto accidents, slip and falls, and other premises liability or product responsibility claims, are subject to the same cap criteria for personal injury damages. We strongly advise that an experienced personal injury attorney be taken on to advise, investigate, and gather evidence in any personal injury case. That same attorney can speak with witnesses, compile any required paperwork, negotiate on your behalf, and present your case at trial.
The first step in being paid is finding a personal injury attorney with experience who understands damage caps and how to get you fairly compensated for your injuries.
We are aware that the consequences of injuries sustained in an accident go far beyond your financial situation, which is why we are firm in our commitment to fighting for the compensation you are entitled to. The New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Grossman Law Firm, LLC are available if you have any inquiries. For a free consultation, contact us at (732) 625-9494.