When someone is injured due to the reckless, intentional, or negligent conduct of another party, they may be entitled to monetary compensation from the at-fault party through a Florida personal injury case. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the severity of the accident victim’s injuries, and the defendant’s level of culpability, an accident victim may be entitled to one or more of several types of damages.
Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases
The most common and straightforward type of damages in a Florida personal injury case is compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are designed to restore the plaintiff back to the situation in which they were prior to being injured. Of course, courts cannot go back in time and make a plaintiff “un-injured,” so instead courts estimate the costs that have been incurred by the plaintiff in the past and estimate the plaintiff’s expenses moving forward. Thus, compensatory damages include award amounts for medical expenses, lost wages, and the pain and suffering endured by the accident victim as a result of the defendant’s conduct.
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded in a Florida personal injury case. While the purpose of compensatory damages is to make the plaintiff whole again, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for especially egregious behavior and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Due to their nature, punitive damages can be quite substantial; however, they are only available in limited circumstances.
In Florida, the availability of punitive damages is controlled by Florida Statute section 768.72. Under section 768.72, punitive damages must be established by “clear and convincing evidence” and are only available when the defendant’s conduct was intentional or grossly negligent. Gross negligence is defined as a “conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.”
Limits on Punitive Damages
Under Florida Statute 768.73, even when punitive damages are appropriate, the amount of damages can be limited depending on the facts of the case. For example, generally punitive damages are limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater. However, if a plaintiff’s injuries are due to the intentional conduct of the defendant, there is no limit on the amount of punitive damages.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Cecere Santana have decades of collective experience handling a wide range of Florida personal injury cases, including those seeking punitive damages. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated Florida injury attorney about your case, call 800-753-5529 today. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
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Drunk Driving Accidents in Florida, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published January 4, 2018.
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