Texas Personal Injury Law Firm – Buzbee Law Firm – Just Win


Is There a Cap on Wrongful Death Settlement?

A “cap” is a limit on how much a plaintiff can win in a lawsuit. Different states use different caps for certain types of damages. Sometimes, there’s no cap at all. We’ve been asked in the past if there is a cap on wrongful death settlements in Texas. Here’s the answer.

If your case is not related to medical malpractice, there is no cap on any damages in a wrongful death settlement. If you have a medical malpractice case, it gets complicated. Before we can talk about the limits, we have to talk about wrongful death damages.

What Damages Are Available in Wrongful Death Cases?

There are three broad categories of compensation in wrongful death cases, economic, non-economic, and punitive. In wrongful death settlements in Texas, there is no cap for economic or punitive damages. Economic damages include:

  • Final medical expenses
  • Reasonable funeral expenses
  • Lost economic support (e.g. wages, potential future earnings)

Punitive damages are a special award given by the court for cases of gross negligence in a wrongful death case. They are a punishment against the defendant. It is up to the court to decide how much those are.

Non-economic damages have caps in Texas. Non-economic damages include things like:

  • Lost companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of their help in raising a family
  • Mental pain and anguish
  • Any other damages that lack a specific dollar amount

However, the amount of that cap changes depending on the malpractice case.

Two Damage Caps in Texas

First, there is the cap that applies to all medical malpractice cases in Texas. You can get a maximum of:

  • $250,000 if you sue one or more individuals AND
  • $250,000 if you sue a hospital or facility AND
  • $250,000 if you sue two or more hospitals or facilities

Thus, the normal maximum you can get for non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case is $750,000. However, if a patient dies due to medical negligence, there is a higher cap that kicks in.

This cap is tied to the consumer price index. As of this writing, the amount is around $2 million. However, this cap applies to both economic and non-economic damages. Thus, assuming no punitive damages, the most you can get from a wrongful death settlement in Texas in a malpractice situation is $2 million.

How Do I Maximize My Non-Economic Damages?

The value of non-economic damages depends on many factors. The amount of economic damages is one because many insurers calculate non-economic damages based on the economic hardship suffered by a victim.

Another factor is how many dependents there are in your household. The more people there are, the more pain the family has and the more the loss hurts. A spouse with no children will probably get less than a spouse with three children.

Your wrongful death lawyer can give you guidance on how to get evidence to bring your wrongful death settlement close to the cap. One common way is to keep a journal about what has happened to you and your family since your loved one’s passing. Your lawyer can tell you how to write it so that it supports your need for compensation.

A Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help

The passing of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is extremely difficult to manage, and we offer our sincere condolences. We understand how hard it can be and that no amount of money can ever replace your loved one.

However, you still have a legal right to pursue compensation and demand civil justice. If you’re unsure about whether there might be a cap on your wrongful death settlement, contact a knowledgeable Texas wrongful death lawyer at the Buzbee Law Firm to help you.