When Do You Receive Punitive Damages In A Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Injured victims need as much compensation as they can get. These individuals are often faced with medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and much more. Fortunately, victims can receive compensation from a number of different sources when they file personal injury lawsuits in Orlando. These include economic damages, non-economic damages, and perhaps punitive damages. But what exactly are punitive damages, and when might you be eligible for them?
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages represent an extra layer of penalties for defendants in personal injury lawsuits. These financial penalties stress the fact that the accident was caused by gross or even intentional negligence. In fact, you might argue that when punitive damages are ordered, it wasn’t really an accident at all – but rather a situation that verges on criminal negligence. For this reason, punitive damages often accompany criminal charges for the defendant. The court uses punitive damages to ensure that the defendant never engages in such dangerous behavior again.
Who is Eligible for Punitive Damages?
You are only eligible for punitive damages if the court determines that they are appropriate. Unlike economic or non-economic damages, this decision does not hinge on evidence like medical records, medical receipts, missed wages, and psychological diagnoses. The only important factor is the circumstances of the accident itself, and whether the defendant acted in a grossly-negligent manner. However, you may be able to provide evidence that helps show just how grossly negligent the defendant was.
How Much Are Punitive Damages Worth?
Punitive damages can be worth a great deal. According to Florida law, you can receive up to three times the amount of your compensatory damages when punitive damages are awarded. If that amount is less than $500,000, you will be granted $500,000 instead.
An Example of Punitive Damages in Florida
On January 1st of 2023, a Florida judge decided that punitive damages should be added to a car accident lawsuit. This crash occurred in 2021 when a 79-year-old individual driving a golf cart was struck and injured by a delivery van for a marijuana dispensary. The driver of the delivery van is facing third-degree felony charges in connection to the crash, as he reportedly swerved directly into oncoming traffic before striking the golf cart. The accident left the victim with critical injuries, including fractures to her right hand, right leg, and back. In addition, she suffered internal bleeding, head trauma, and organ damage.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, police discovered that the driver of the marijuana delivery van had THC in his system at the time of the crash. The family is seeking $30,000 in damages from the driver and the marijuana company itself, but that amount could become higher with the addition of punitive damages.
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Orlando?
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced Orlando personal injury attorney, look no further than Payer Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured victims get their hands on all the compensation they need. With a fair financial settlement, you can pay for medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and any other damages you might have incurred. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan.