Punitive Damages in Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits – What You Need to Know

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If you are ever involved in an accident in the state of Florida and file a personal injury lawsuit, it is a good idea to be familiar with the state laws that will come into play to determine the outcome of your case. When you file a personal injury lawsuit and incur serious injuries due to the negligence, disregard of your safety, or malicious intent of another person, you have the right to seek monetary compensation for your losses due to the offending party’s actions.

The party responsible for your injuries could be accountable for compensating you for the economic and general damages you incurred because of their actions. These damages include, but are not limited to, medical treatment costs, lost earnings, future lost earnings, property damages, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Additionally, there are non-economic damages that the court can award you for your personal injury case, including the emotional stress caused by the injuries, the pain, physical impairment, mental anguish, losing the capacity to enjoy life, and any inconvenience caused.

However, there are other damages that you can seek in a personal injury case: Punitive damages.

Punitive damages are considered a punishment that is specifically designed to punish the defendant for their conduct because of their wanton disregard for the safety of other people. Another goal for awarding punitive damages is to effectively set an example to discourage and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

The reason for punitive damages to be more elusive than economic and non-economic damages is that it is at the court’s discretion to award punitive damages.

This post will guide you to tell you the most important things you should know about Florida personal injury law and how it deals with punitive damages to help you make a well-informed approach for your case.

How Does A Court Decide To Award Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are considered an entirely different category of damages than economic and non-economic damages. The other categories of damages require a significant amount of proof to be presented, pled, and proven. Despite winning your personal injury lawsuit, you cannot consider a guarantee that you will win punitive damages.

Winning punitive damages in personal injury cases in Florida is rare but not impossible. According to W.R. Grace v. Waters, punitive damages are considered to be appropriate when the offending party’s actions are “fraudulent, malicious, deliberately violent or oppressive, or committed with such gross negligence as to indicate a wanton disregard for the rights of others.”

This means that the person or entity whose actions caused the injuries to the plaintiff in a personal injury case were aware of their actions and knowingly took those actions that caused harm to others. It also means that punitive damages could be awarded to the plaintiff if the defendant showed a blatant disregard for the safety and lives of others.

In such instances, a jury can award punitive damages to the plaintiff.

In Which Types Of Cases Can The Jury Award Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages do not belong to the same category as other damages that can be awarded to the plaintiff in a personal injury case. An experienced personal injury lawyer who has a significant track record fighting successful personal injury cases in Florida will be the best judge of when a case could possibly warrant claiming punitive damages.

If the facts surrounding a case can provide enough grounds to pursue punitive damages, the right personal injury attorney will bring the claims on your behalf. Here are some of the cases which can involve the plaintiff being awarded punitive damages:

Automotive accidents

An individual who causes a car accident while driving under the influence could be considered liable to pay punitive damages.

A case involving misconduct with intent

If an individual causes harm to the plaintiff while intending to do so, such as an assault case, it is possible that the jury can consider them liable to pay the plaintiff for punitive damages.

Truck accidents

Shipping companies could be found liable to pay for punitive damages if the court finds that the company let a driver drive a vehicle despite knowing that it is unsafe or did not pass safety inspections.

Premise liability

If a commercial property, such as a grocery store, is aware of dangerous conditions at its premises and does not take any corrective actions to prevent injury or harm (for example, posting warnings or closing off the area), the owners of the property could be considered liable to pay punitive damages to the plaintiff.

Product liability

A brand or manufacturer could be considered liable to pay punitive damages if there is enough evidence to prove that it produces subpar quality products that deteriorate quickly or cause harm to consumers.

Medical malpractice cases

A jury can consider healthcare professionals liable to pay punitive damages for medical malpractice, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Are You Looking To Hire The Right Personal Injury Attorney?

Hiring the right attorney to represent you in your personal injury lawsuit can make a world of difference in your chances of obtaining adequate compensation for your sustained damages. If your case involves the possibility of you winning more compensation due to punitive damages, a skilled lawyer is crucial in helping you seek the money you may legally deserve. Consider asking the professionals at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers to help and advise you.

The attorneys at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers have years of experience working with clients to help them pursue the compensation they deserve in their personal injury claims. The experienced lawyers from the firm have an excellent track record, work on a contingency fee basis, and will go to court if needed.

If you’re looking for an experienced and qualified Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer who will go the distance to help you seek fair compensation for your personal injury case, working with Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can be ideal for you (by appointment only).

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