Can A Florida Court Award Punitive Damages In A Florida Auto Accident Claim?
In Florida, severely injured auto accident victims are allowed to seek compensatory damages from at-fault parties. The most commonly awarded damages are economic and non-economic. Economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages. Non-economic damages include emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Can a Florida Court Award Punitive Damages in a Florida Auto Accident Claim?
Punitive damages are damages designed to punish defendants. Florida courts can award punitive damages in auto accident claims, but whether or not the court awards you punitive damages depends entirely on the other driver’s conduct. According to Florida Statute 768.72, a plaintiff can only claim punitive damages if the accused person was guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence at the time of the accident.
Gross negligence occurs when a person acts recklessly or in a wanting manner such that their conduct shows they have no conscious regard for other people’s safety, lives, or rights.
Intentional misconduct occurs when a person, being fully aware that their conduct can cause harm to others, goes ahead to pursue that code of conduct and, in turn, causes damage.
An award of punitive damages can drive up the value of your Florida personal injury case. Therefore, you must consult a personal injury attorney right away if you believe that you are eligible to claim punitive damages.
Has Florida Put a Cap on Punitive Damages?
According to Florida Statute 768.73, Florida courts are allowed to award plaintiffs the sum of $50,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded, depending on which is greater. However, there are exceptions to this law. Firstly, suppose the court finds that a defendant’s intentional misconduct was solely for the purpose of monetary gain. In that case, a plaintiff can receive up to four times the amount of compensatory damages and the sum of $2 million, depending on which is greater. Secondly, there is no cap in the event that a court determines that the defendant who harmed a plaintiff had a specific intent to cause harm to the plaintiff.
Punitive Damages in Florida DUI Crashes
If the other motorist was driving under the influence at the time of your accident, you might be qualified to receive punitive damages. Driving under the influence can be viewed as intentional misconduct because Florida motorists know they are not supposed to drive under the influence and that driving under the influence can cause harm to others.
Legal Help Is Available
If you believe you deserve to be awarded punitive damages after sustaining a severe injury in an accident, reach out to a qualified personal injury attorney immediately. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at the Pendas Law Firm can assess your case and determine if you have a claim for punitive damages. If you do, our team will help you gather the evidence you need to prove your claim. We can help you recover punitive damages and the other damages you may be entitled to. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Daytona Beach, Miami, Tampa, Fort Myers, Ocala, Orlando, Bradenton, Jacksonville, and West Palm Beach areas.