Is There a Damages Cap for Injury Lawsuits in Pennsylvania?

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
July 4, 2024
Disabled rehabilitation

In Pennsylvania, the issue of damages caps in injury lawsuits is a topic of significant importance for plaintiffs seeking compensation. The answer to whether there is a cap on damages in Pennsylvania is nuanced. Generally, there are no caps on economic and non-economic damages in most personal injury cases, allowing plaintiffs to recover full compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, exceptions exist, particularly in cases involving governmental entities.

Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. (RGSG) can provide essential guidance in navigating these complexities. With over 65 years of experience, our attorneys are well-versed in personal injury law and can help you understand the intricacies of damages caps and how they may apply to your case. Our firm offers skilled representation to help you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.

Understanding General Damages in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, economic damages cover tangible losses like medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate for intangible harms such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship. Unlike some states, Pennsylvania does not impose a cap on these types of damages in most personal injury cases. This means plaintiffs can seek full compensation based on the severity of their injuries and the impact on their lives.

However, punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious conduct, are subject to limitations. When dealing with a non-government defendant, Pennsylvania courts caution that punitive damages should bear relation to compensatory damages.  It has been suggested that any more that 9 times the compensatory damages would be a questionable result. This rule ensures while plaintiffs are compensated fairly, the punitive aspect remains proportional to the actual harm caused.

It is important to note each case is unique, and the calculation of damages will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the injury. Factors such as the nature and extent of the injuries, the impact on the plaintiff’s life, and the degree of negligence involved will all play a role in determining the final amount awarded.

Special Considerations for Governmental Entities

While general personal injury cases in Pennsylvania do not have caps on economic and non-economic damages, there are specific rules for cases involving governmental entities. The Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act imposes limits on the amount of damages that can be recovered from local government entities. Under this act, the maximum amount a plaintiff can recover from a local government unit is $500,000.

In cases involving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Sovereign Immunity Act applies, capping damages at $250,000 per plaintiff and $1,000,000 per incident. These caps are intended to protect government entities from excessive financial liability while still providing a means for injured parties to receive compensation.

Claims against governmental entities also involve strict procedural requirements and shorter statutes of limitations. Plaintiffs must adhere to these rules to ensure their claims are valid and to avoid dismissal on technical grounds.

Impact of Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice cases in Pennsylvania have their own set of rules regarding damages. Unlike some states, Pennsylvania does not impose a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. This means plaintiffs can seek full compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic harms.

However, punitive damages in medical malpractice cases are restricted. They can only be awarded if the plaintiff proves the defendant’s actions were willfully malicious or involved wanton misconduct. Even then, the punitive damages awarded cannot exceed twice the amount of actual damages.

The absence of a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases underscores Pennsylvania’s commitment to allowing plaintiffs to recover fair compensation based on the specifics of their case. This approach recognizes the significant impact medical negligence can have on a person’s life and ensures victims have the opportunity to seek comprehensive redress.

How RGSG Can Assist You

Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. is dedicated to providing personalized and effective legal representation to those affected by personal injuries. Our attorneys understand the complexities of Pennsylvania’s damages laws and can navigate the legal landscape to maximize your compensation.

Our team will conduct a thorough investigation of your case, gather relevant evidence, and consult with experts to build a strong claim. We will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and, if necessary, take your case to court to ensure you receive the justice you deserve.

At RGSG, we are committed to helping our clients recover from their injuries and regain their lives. Our extensive experience and compassionate approach make us a trusted ally in your pursuit of fair compensation.

Why Choose Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.?

Choosing Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. means partnering with a law firm that has a proven track record of success. Our talented attorneys have been recognized for their excellence in personal injury law and have the resources to handle even the most complex cases. 

We offer a unique blend of big firm resources and small firm personal attention, ensuring your case receives the focused attention it deserves. Our team will work diligently to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your situation. Contact RGSG today at (215) 822-7575 or visit our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation. Let us help you navigate the legal process and secure the compensation you need to move forward.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
July 4, 2024
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.