Switch to ADA Accessible Theme Close Menu
Florida Personal Injury Lawyers
$1,748,000

Auto accident, multi-car crash

$1,035,000

Auto accident involving defective airbag

$600,000

Death resulting from hospital turning away patient

$550,000

Auto accident involving tractor trailer

$345,000

Auto accident involving a work vehicle

$340,000

Slip and fall at a hotel bathroom

Call, Text, or Chat: 1-888-LPENDAS
(573-6327)
Free Initial Consultation
protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms

Comparative Negligence and Nominal Damages

InjuryComp

In January 2014, two police officers responded to a noise complaint at a Fort Pierce home. A man pulled open the garage door when the officers knocked, but then started to close it when he saw the police. One of the officers opened fire when the man allegedly pulled a weapon on them. The man was shot and killed — and an unloaded weapon was found in his back pocket.

The man’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police officer and the St. Lucie County Sheriff. The case went to trial, and the jury came back with a shocking verdict. Because the man was drunk, the jury found him almost entirely at fault for his own death. The jury awarded the man’s family 4 cents for her loss.

Florida’s Comparative Negligence Standard

Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, which means defendants pay damages that are proportionate to their percentage of fault. It doesn’t matter if the defendant is 100 percent at fault or 5 percent at fault. There is no minimum threshold of responsibility when it comes to actually awarding damages.

But what’s the point of a verdict that only awards 4 cents to a wrongful death victim’s family? In that case, would it be better to award nothing at all?

Awarding Nominal Damages

In some cases, juries may award nominal damages of $1 when a defendant acted negligently but the plaintiff’s injuries were minor. Or, in this case, the jury found that even though the man was mostly to blame for his death, the officer was a tiny bit negligent and therefore should be held nominally accountable.

Whether or not this standard was correctly applied in the man’s case, the point of nominal damages is recognizing when someone acts negligently and legally reprimanding them for that conduct.

Other Types of Damages

There are two categories of damages: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are easily quantifiable and include medical expenses, lost wages, funeral costs, and property damage. These are compensatory damages that are designed to make the victim whole.

Noneconomic damages are more difficult to measure. This type of compensation encompasses pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and anything that doesn’t have a measurable cost. Sometimes, juries also award punitive damages, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer for his or her conduct.

The type and amount of damages awarded depend on the facts of a particular case. And of course, you can appeal if you aren’t happy with the amount of damages awarded in your lawsuit. Make sure you have an experienced attorney on your side.

Contact Us Today

Contact a Miami personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you were injured or loved one was killed because of police negligence. We will examine the facts of your case and help recover the compensation that you deserve, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.

Resource:

nbcnews.com/news/us-news/my-heart-just-dropped-4-verdict-shocks-family-man-killed-n879026

Read What Others Have To Say About Us

  • “I can’t express how much I appreciate this law firm. I had the honor to deal with attorney Daniel. He kept me updated on my case. I couldn’t ask for a better law firm. Daniel fought for me til the end and got me what I deserved. Thanks Daniel and your team for always being there to answer any of my questions. If I ever need a law firm again...”

    Terry Mcphillips
  • “Speedy & superb handling of clients & cases, kind & caring. Highly recommended professionals. They made everything very easy for us, were outgoing & polite. I would call them again if ever in need, rather than call the larger firms that need to advertise & brag about winnings…Pendas was a pleasant & more personal approach instead of...”

    Joseph Kestell
  • “Wow I called Pendas Law Firm the other day at their main intake line it was around 11 o’clock at night and I’ve got this wonderful representative his name was Jeffrey Alvarez. This guy was very professional and his compassion was out of this world I don’t know what I would do if I could not have got a hold of him...”

    Luis Sanchez
  • “Thank you for helping us in our time of need. This firm handled my father’s workers comp case, and helped us with every question we had, and we had a plenty. Thankful for the entire legal team!”

    Enilno Resu
  • “I just concluded a case with attorney Michael Sanchez and paralegal Camilo Lopez. I can only say they are exceptional. The customer service is unique, they have been battling alongside me since day 1. They are not only courteous and professional, but they also are amazing at their job. Thanks to them I got a great deal. I am glad I decided to use their services...”

    Israel Garcia
  • “Their attorneys are absolutely someone you want handling your car accident claim. They communicated with us promptly and thoroughly. I was very happy with our recovery. Already recommended them to others in the same circumstances, their staff speaks Spanish and you feel like in family.”

    Ian Brito
  • “Very Professional law firm. They explained to you every detail what to do according to the laws (worker’s compensation). Mr. Danilo Cruz is the best Lawyer and his team. They are very kind, friendly, responsible, I love this firm. They fight for their clients. AwesomeTeam!”

    Lau Rod