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Damages - Tort Damages Reform And Caps On Damages

statutes providers types enacted

Many jurisdictions enacted statutory damages caps on personal injury cases during a tort reform movement in the 1980s. In general, three different types of statutes have been enacted. One type allows full recovery of pecuniary damages, but limits recovery of nonpecuniary losses such as loss of consortium, pain and suffering, or mental distress. Other statutes limit actual pecuniary damages. These statutes typically apply only to specific categories of defendants, such as health care providers, governmental entities, or alcohol providers. Finally, some jurisdictions impose dual caps, that is, some combination of the first and second types of statutes.

Some damages caps have been successfully challenged on constitutional grounds as being a denial of due process and equal protection, particularly where damages were capped in favor of an interest group, such as health care providers, and where the statute provided for no substitute manner of compensation.

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