Damages in Personal Injury Cases
When you have been in an accident or suffered an injury as the result of someone’s reckless or negligent conduct, recovery can be a slow and painful process. During this time, you may be undergoing medical treatments, attending regular doctor appointments, and participating in physical therapy, all with the aim of helping you to make a complete recovery from your injuries. At the same time, you may find yourself unable to work, or even to engage in activities you once enjoyed. Regardless of the nature or extent of your injuries and the amount of medical care required to treat them, all personal injury accidents involve some type of damages. Damages are a form of financial compensation based on both the actual and potential costs associated with your injuries, and getting the proper amount of damages through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit is imperative to ensure a complete recovery
Damages Based on Negligence
Chapter 768 of the Florida State Statutes concerns negligence, which is defined as when the actions or inactions of one party result in injuries to another. Oftentimes, what is considered to be an ‘accident’ is, in the majority of personal injury claims and lawsuits, the actual result of someone’s negligence. Examples of negligence include the following:
- A slip and fall accident caused by a wet floor;
- Being injured by a defective product;
- Being bitten by a dog that was allowed to run loose through the neighborhood; and
- Being struck by a falling object from a grocery store shelf.
In all of these cases, there is someone who was ultimately responsible for your injury occurring, and their negligence in taking actions to prevent someone from being injured entitles you to damages.
Types of Damages Under Florida Law
Under Section 768.81 of the Florida Negligence Statutes, even if your own actions were partially to blame for your injuries occurring, you are still entitled to receive some form of compensation from the court, provided the other party is more at fault. Under Florida law, there are three types of damages you may be entitled to receive in a personal injury lawsuit:
Economic Damages: These damages are meant to cover actual costs associated with your injuries and include the following:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Property damages;
- Cost of repairs to property; and
- Funeral expenses in the event of fatal injuries.
Non-Economic Damages: These types of damages, though they do not have a specific dollar amount, occur as a direct result of your injury. They include compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- Disfigurement and scarring; and
- Loss of quality or enjoyment of life.
Punitive Damages: These damages are a dollar amount decided upon by the court in addition to your economic and noneconomic damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the party responsible for your injuries for conduct that was particularly reckless or negligent.
When dealing with insurance companies, it is important to remember that your settlement amount will likely cover only economic damages caused by your accident. Punitive damages, and in most cases non-economic damages, are only available through the court by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Let Us Assist You
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident or as the result of someone’s reckless or negligent conduct, contact our experienced Florida personal injury lawyer today. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, our lawyers can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable for your injuries, and assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover. Serving the entire Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties, our office can help; call or contact us online today for a free consultation.