What Are Punitive Damages?May 12, 2022
If you suffer a personal injury, you can seek compensatory damages. These include both economic and non-economic damages. You may also recover punitive damages in some personal injury incidents.
The good news is that you don’t have to fight for your compensation alone. A personal injury lawyer can advise you on the range of damages available in your particular case.
When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?
Punitive damages are typically available only in a handful of personal injury claims. This is because these damages do not directly pertain to your losses. They are instead a financial punishment and deterrence for the at-fault party.
Under Florida Statute 768.72, punitive damages are awarded when the at-fault party is guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. When a person knows that their actions can put other people in danger and still perform these actions, this constitutes intentional misconduct. Physical battery is a common example of such behavior.
Gross negligence, in contrast, is when a person deliberately disregards the safety and well-being of other individuals. Accidents caused by drunk driving are a notable example of such negligence.
You are entitled to file for punitive damages when you can prove that the at-fault party committed intentional misconduct or was grossly negligent.
Florida Caps on Punitive Damages
Unlike economic and non-economic damages, Florida laws limit the maximum amount you can seek for punitive damages. The limit applies only when punitive damages are being awarded for gross negligence. If the damages are awarded for intentional misconduct, there is no cap.
For gross negligence, the following caps apply:
- You may seek to recover up to three times the total amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is greater.
- If the at-fault party was motivated by financial gain, you may seek to recover up to four times the total amount of compensatory damages, or $2 million, whichever is greater.
- If the at-fault party is a practitioner and you are seeking punitive damages for medical malpractice, you can seek up to $500,000.
- If your medical malpractice case is against a non-practitioner, you can seek up to $750,000 in punitive damages.
There are several exceptions to these caps. It is important to understand whether or not these caps apply to your case and the maximum compensation available if they do. A lawyer from our firm can help you with this.
How Can a Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
Seeking punitive damages can be complicated. You have to show that the at-fault party was deliberately or grossly negligent. You must also produce relevant evidence to back up your claim.
Here at Gross & Schuster, P.A., we help Pensacola personal injury victims go after maximum compensation for their losses. Our lawyers can help you determine whether or not punitive damages are available in your particular case. We also work with you to bring together the evidence to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Call us now at 850-434-3333 to discuss your Pensacola injury claim with our lawyers. You can also complete the following online contact form for a free consultation.