Important Caps on the Rights of California Residents to Recover Noneconomic Damages
If you’ve been injured in an accident in California, then you likely have a right to recover for your noneconomic damages including physical pain, emotional distress, and inconvenience, among others. However, there are several important limitations that could prevent you from recovering these noneconomic damages.
You may not recover noneconomic damages in these situations
First, we’ll cover three situations in which the California legislature has said individuals cannot recover noneconomic damages:
- If the victim was driving someone else’s car and isn’t able to complete the requirements as set out by California’s financial responsibility law. This typically means that the victim either wasn’t insured or can’t post the required bond.
- The victim has been convicted of a DUI, which includes driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, per California law. This applies even if the victim was not at fault – if they were found to be under the influence then the law states that they’re not eligible for noneconomic damages.
- If the victim was driving their own vehicle but did not have liability insurance as required by the laws of California.
There are a few exceptions. First, if the victim of the accident was driving their own car and was uninsured, but the driver was found to be impaired, then the uninsured victim is able to recover noneconomic damages. Depending on your specific situation, there may be other exceptions. If you’re not sure where your case falls, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas to get a free case evaluation.
There are other limitations
While the above are the most common reasons judges find not to award noneconomic damages, there are a few other examples. First, if an injury is sustained by a person while they’re either committing a felony or fleeing arrest after committing a felony, than that person is not eligible for noneconomic damages even if they were totally blameless in the accident that actually caused the injury. However, note that this only applies of the victim was actually convicted of a felony – not just suspected of it.
There’s also a limitation in medical malpractice cases. In California, you cannot get damages of more than $250,000 for noneconomic damages.
Do not assume that the law will prevent you from recovering what you deserve
Though these limitations are in place, you should never assume that California law is going to prevent you from getting the noneconomic damages you deserve. If your accident or injury was caused by someone else’s negligence then you may still have options. The best plan is to contact a California personal injury attorney right away.
Call Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for your free initial consultation. We can review your case and let you know what our best advice is on what you’re likely to recover. Once you have all the information, you can make the most informed decision about how to continue.