Does California Have Damage Caps In Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated affairs for those who have been injured due to the actions of another party. The legal process can be lengthy, and in some cases, the damages awarded may not fully compensate the injured party for their losses. One issue that often comes up in personal injury lawsuits is the concept of damage caps. In this article, we’ll take a look at whether or not California has damage caps in personal injury lawsuits.

What Are Damage Caps?

Before delving into California’s laws regarding damage caps in personal injury lawsuits, it’s important to understand what damage caps are in the first place. Essentially, damage caps are laws that limit the amount of money that can be awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit. These limits can be placed on both economic and non-economic damages, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

In personal injury lawsuits, there are two main types of damages that a plaintiff can seek: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to quantifiable, tangible losses that a plaintiff has suffered as a result of their injury. These can include things like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intangible losses that a plaintiff has suffered. These can include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Because non-economic damages are often more difficult to quantify than economic damages, they are often the subject of damage caps in personal injury lawsuits.

California’s Laws Regarding Damage Caps

So, does California have damage caps in personal injury lawsuits? The short answer is yes, but it’s important to understand the specifics of these laws.

In California, there are several types of personal injury lawsuits that are subject to damage caps. These include:

  • Medical malpractice lawsuits: In California, non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits are capped at $250,000.
  • Lawsuits against government entities: In California, damages in lawsuits against government entities are capped at $985,000 per incident for non-economic damages. Note that this limit applies to all plaintiffs involved in the incident, not just one individual plaintiff.
  • Lawsuits involving product liability: In California, damages in product liability lawsuits are generally not subject to damage caps. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as for lawsuits involving non-economic damages related to prescription drugs.

It’s worth noting that there are some situations in which a plaintiff may be able to argue that the damage caps in California are unconstitutional. This is a complex issue that is often the subject of litigation, and it’s best to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney if you believe that your damages have been unfairly limited by these laws.


In conclusion, California does have damage caps in certain types of personal injury lawsuits. These caps limit the amount of money that a plaintiff can receive for non-economic damages, which can include things like pain and suffering. However, there are exceptions to these laws, and plaintiffs may be able to argue that the caps are unconstitutional in certain situations. If you have been injured due to the actions of another party in California, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options.

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