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Why Capping Your Recovery is Both Unfair and Unnecessary

If you are injured, you are entitled to compensation for things such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. The amount you are awarded depends on many factors, including the severity of your injury, the impact it has on your life, the impact it has on your ability to work, how long it takes you to recover, and more.

However, the amount you are awarded may be bound by a “cap,” or a legally-mandated maximum that you are allowed to receive. Many people support tort reform such as this until they or a loved one is injured and they realize how dreadful caps can be. Interestingly, the corporations and insurance companies lobbying for tort reform do not seek to limit the amount they can recover should they be wronged.

While Missouri has no such caps (except for medical-malpractice wrongful death suits), Kansas law has caps on just about every type of personal injury case, including automobile and truck accidents. Since you can be bound by the law in the state in which you were injured, the value of your claim can vary greatly depending upon where you were hurt.

Arbitrary Damage “Caps” Explained

There are two main types of damages in injury cases. For example, if you are injured in a car or truck accident or by a defective product, your recovery may be severely limited by a cap (maximum recovery). The first type of damage is known as “economic damages.” These are your past and future medical bills and lost wages. Your other damages, otherwise known as “non-economic damages,” are designed to compensate an accident victim for the suffering, pain, and permanent injury sustained.

In both Kansas and Missouri, the economic damages are not capped in any way—if you sustain $1,000,000 dollars in medical bills, you can claim them as damages in your case. However, Kansas caps the non-economic damages to $300,000 per case.

This is particularly unjust to victims of catastrophic injuries. Amputees or those who become paralyzed as a result of their injuries may have experienced a dramatic change in their lifestyle and suffer severe mental trauma, pain, and suffering as a result of this negligence. In this instance, the $300,000 cap may not be suitable for their losses. In situations such as these, the cap laws dramatically favor those who were at fault while failing to allow the victim to be adequately compensated.

Many lay people do not realize that a judge can reduce the amount awarded by the jury if the judge feels the amount was too high under the circumstances. This is called remittitur. The judge who heard the evidence in the case is in a far better position to decide if an award is too high. This is far more equitable than an “across the board” cap for even the most catastrophic injury.

If you have suffered from a serious injury while on the job, Adler & Manson may be able to assist you. Our Kansas City personal injury attorneys have served those injured in both Missouri and Kansas for decades, combining to more than 65 years of legal practice experience. If you have been a victim of negligence that has resulted in an injury, trust your case to our firm and give yourself the best chance to recover the compensation you deserve for your medical bills and other harm inflicted.

To review your case with one of our skilled attorneys, call Adler & Manson today at 816.933.2283.

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