The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently struck down a state law that limits the amount of noneconomic damages personal injury victims may be entitled to in claims.
Personal injuries can be caused by a number of different factors. Motor vehicle accidents, slips, trips, or falls, and getting struck by or against objects are all common examples of accidents that result in injury. When these types of injuries do occur, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses through a personal injury lawsuit filed against the at-fault party. Previously, Oklahoma limited the amount to which victims and their family members were entitled. The state Supreme Court recently overruled what many claimed was an unfair and unconstitutional law – eliminating the cap on non-economic damages in these claims.
Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Even relatively minor personal injuries can have a major impact on victims and their families. When another person is at fault for your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim. Under the Oklahoma Statutes, this compensation is referred to as damages and includes:
- Economic damages: Based on actual and estimated costs that can be easily proven and calculated, these include lost wages, medical expenses, and ongoing care you are likely to need.
- Non-economic damages: These cover intangible costs associated with your accident or your injuries. They include compensation for pain, suffering, and mental anguish you endure, loss of companionship for your family members, and loss of enjoyment of life due to being unable to engage in your usual hobbies and activities.
Non-economic damages can represent a significant portion of your claim. Under the previous statutes, these damages were limited to $350,000. While this may seem like a lot, it is just a small portion of what victims are typically awarded by a jury. When factoring in the long, painful months of recovery, the emotional toll involved, and not being able to be intimate with a spouse, play with your children, or enjoy time with friends, these awards can easily total millions of dollars.
Oklahoma Eliminates Cap in Personal Injury Claims
In April of 2019, the Oklahoma Supreme Court voted to eliminate the cap on non-economic damages in personal injury claims. The decision was made after reviewing a premises liability claim in which an individual was injured to a company’s negligence.
The jury awarded the injured man and his wife $6 million in non-economic damages, but the amount was reduced as a result of the cap. If the man had died as a result of his injuries, there would have been no limit to the amount of non-economic damages he would have been entitled to in a wrongful death claim. As the at fault party would have been equally to blame in either case, the court ruled that it was unconstitutional to treat people who survive injuries differently than those who do not.
Contact Our Ponca City, OK Personal Injury Attorneys
When accidental injuries happen, BDIW Law can assist you in holding responsible parties accountable. To discuss the types of compensation you may be entitled to, call or contact our Ponca City personal injury attorneys online and request a consultation today.