To most people, gauging the success of a lawyer and their firm is measured by how much compensation they can get for their client's injuries. While an attorney cannot help you physically heal from injuries incurred from another's negligence, what they can do is recover financial compensation in the form of damages. In Florida, damages can be recovered in three forms: economic, non-economic and punitive. However, the time you have to recover damages in personal injury claims is limited to four years from the date of the accident, so obtaining the best personal injury lawyer without delay is essential to the outcome of your case.
Economic damages are defined as objectively verifiable monetary loses and can be calculated based on factual data related to the outcome of the accident. Medical bills, wages, the cost of property damage repair or replacement and other receipts are used to calculate the amount of economic damages that an injured party can potentially be awarded.
The most common economic damages that can be recovered include:
- Medical expenses, including bills, prescriptions, and equipment
- Past and future lost income
- Property damage expenses
- Funeral expenses in the event of wrongful death
Non-economic damages are non-monetary loses that are more subjective in nature. Generally, non-economic damages are more complex to quantify and include:
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Quality of life
- Loss of consortium (intimate companionship with one's spouse or significant other) in the event of wrongful death
Punitive damages are awarded where there has been intentional misconduct or gross negligence enacted by the defendant. These damages are intended to punish the defendant. Unlike compensatory damages, Florida caps the amount of punitive damages a plaintiff can receive. According to Florida statue 768.73, punitive damages for personal injury may not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or the sum of $500,000. However, exceptions to this cap exist in certain circumstances, especially where high misconduct or negligence is evident.
As a comparative negligence state, Florida courts take contributory fault into consideration when awarding compensatory damages. Contributory fault assigns judgment based on what percentage each party is held at fault for the accident and the plaintiff's subsequent injuries. For instance, if a judge determines that a plaintiff is 30% responsible for the injuries sustained in their case, that person would only receive 70% of the compensatory damages awarded by a jury.
Attorney Skill and Experience Matters When Recovering Damages
After an accident, the insurance company will try to offer you a settlement. Don't be fooled by their offer, which is often a low-ball amount to save them money. Instead, talk to the attorneys at SKG who have the skills, experience and track record of results to get you the most for your injuries. Call our offices 24/7 at (800) 350-FRIM for a free, no-risk consultation.