What Damages Are Recoverable in Florida Personal Injury Cases?

What Damages Are Recoverable in Florida Personal Injury Cases?

Sustaining serious injuries can derail virtually every aspect of your life. Mounting medical bills could prevent you from reaching various financial milestones, for example, while an extended leave of absence from work could hurt your career trajectory.

While no amount of money will undo the trauma you’ve experienced, bringing a personal injury claim against those liable for your condition could yield the funds needed to put your life back together. This, in turn, could help you regain financial security and reestablish some sense of normalcy.

Thankfully, Florida allows personal injury claimants to pursue both economic and non-economic damages, which together are called “compensatory damages.” These damages essentially reimburse victims for the direct and indirect losses they incur, which might include:

  • Property damage;
  • Alternative transportation;
  • Medical bills;
  • Lost wages and benefits;
  • Loss of earning capacity;
  • Home care;
  • Child care;
  • Domestic help;
  • Reasonably necessary home and vehicle modifications to accommodate any permanent disabilities;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress; and
  • Loss of enjoyment in life.

If you happen to be married, your partner may also be able to recover damages for loss of consortium. This refers to the loss of services, society, attention, love, affection, and comfort that he or she has incurred as a result of your injuries. In certain scenarios, Florida allows the children or parents of the victim to file a loss of consortium claim, too. 

When Are Punitive Damages Warranted?

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive awards aim to punish the defendant for gross negligence or intentional misconduct. That means if the liable party acted with ordinary negligence, you wouldn’t be entitled to punitive damages.

If, on the other hand, the defendant acted with intent to harm, a total disregard for your safety, or a reckless indifference to your rights, it may be worthwhile to seek a punitive award in addition to the standard compensatory damages. Common scenarios that call for punitive damages include:

  • Drunk driving accidents;
  • Reckless driving accidents;
  • Hit-and-run accidents; and
  • Violent attacks.

A punitive award may also be warranted if the defendant tried to alter or destroy critical evidence, even if the accident in question was caused by ordinary negligence.

Florida generally caps punitive damages at $500,000 or three times the total compensatory damages, whichever is greater. This cap increases to $2 million or four times the compensatory damages if the defendant was motivated by financial gain. And if the liable party intentionally set out to hurt the victim, there is no cap on punitive damages.

Call 772-266-5555 Today to Speak with an Accident Lawyer in Stuart

If you are recovering from serious injuries that someone else caused, contact Donaldson & Weston to determine the most strategic way to proceed with your claim. We require no money upfront, nor do we charge a retainer to those who want to take advantage of our legal services. Call our office at 772-266-5555 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney in Stuart.