Caps on Non-Economic Damages in Missouri: It Depends on the Cause of the Injury

Posted on

In many types of personal injury lawsuits, there is theoretically no limit to the amount of money a court can award the injured plaintiff for his or her pain and suffering.  Despite this, you are unlikely to become a billionaire by suing the driver who was at fault in the car accident that left you with serious injuries.

There are plenty of blogs online about how to become wealthy, with wealth-building strategies to suit every taste.  If you dream of getting rich by clipping coupons, playing poker, making YouTube videos of yourself using ordinary consumer products for their intended purpose, or monetizing any of your other skills, talents, or characteristics, it isn’t hard to find a website that will cheer you on, but this blog is not one of them.  If, instead, you want sound advice from a St. Louis car accident lawyer about how much you can expect to receive if you sue for damages related to your injuries, though, keep reading.


How Courts Award Money in Car Accident Injury Lawsuits

When a court awards money in a personal injury lawsuit, such as a car accident injury lawsuit, the damages awarded can be classified as economic damages and non-economic damages.  Think of economic damages as reimbursement for financial losses that the plaintiff suffered as a result of the accident.

Economic damages include all kinds of medical expenses related to the accident, including but not limited to hospital stays, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and even future medical expenses if the plaintiff still needs more treatment after the court issues a decision in regard to the lawsuit.  Lost income, both past and future, also counts as economic damages. In general, it is possible to calculate economic damages objectively. How much were your medical bills? How much did you earn at your job at the time of your accident? On what basis does your employer calculate pay raises and contributions to retirement funds?

By contrast, non-economic damages are not so easy to quantify.  Non-economic damages are compensation for pain and suffering related to the accident.  As pain and suffering are hard to quantify, courts often calculate non-economic damages as a multiple of the economic damages.  The general damages multiplier is the amount by which the court multiplies the cost of your economic damages because of your accident-related suffering. Usually, it is between 1.5 and five times the amount of economic damages, depending on the seriousness of the injury.


Caps on Pain and Suffering Damages

You may have seen news headlines about caps on non-economic damages in lawsuits.  In Missouri, these caps only apply to medical malpractice-related wrongful death lawsuits, not most other types of personal injury lawsuits. If your injury resulted from a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, a defective product, or a slip and fall accident at a place of business, the amount of money the court can award you as non-economic damages is theoretically limitless.


Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys About Car Accident Cases

Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys in the St. Louis, Missouri area for a legal consultation and to see if your car accident injury is grounds for a lawsuit.

WaltonTelken Logo Final760

Get in touch with us today to get started with your FREE case review. We’re only a call, click, or short drive away.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.