How Injured Florida Residents Can Seek Compensation After a Personal Injury
Compensation in a personal injury claim is critical to allowing the victim who sustained the injury to recover. Compensation allows a victim to pay for medical bills and to cover their daily expenses if they are unable to work. Personal injury claims in Florida usually arise from the negligence of wrongful acts of a third-party that cause harm to the victim.
The law requires a defendant who is found liable for a personal injury to pay the victim damages arising from their actual injuries along with other expenses and issues associated to the incident that caused the victim’s injury. In order to receive compensation, the victim must prove that the defendant is responsible for the victim’s damages.
Three Categories of Damages
Florida law allows a personal injury plaintiff to claim three different kinds of damages. These three types of damages are:
- Economic damages or losses
- Non-economic damages
- Punitive damages
Economic damages represent a victim’s monetary, out-of-pocket losses, such as medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, or the repair or replacement of damaged property. Non-economic damages represent a qualitative loss caused by a victim’s injuries, such as the pain and suffering the victim endures or the loss of quality of life the injuries caused by, for example, preventing the victim from participating in activities he or she previously enjoyed. Finally, punitive damages do not compensate the victim for anything but instead are intended to punish the defendant for willful or egregious conduct.
Compensation of Economic Losses
Compensation for economic losses in personal injury claims almost always involve the costs of medical care for the victim’s injuries, lost wages and income that a victim suffers from not being able to work due to his or her injuries, and any costs arising from the need to replace or repair damaged property. However, economic damages under Florida law can also cover other ancillary expenses, such as car rental fees if a motor vehicle accident victim must rent a car due to the damage to his or her car, or transportation expenses to get to and from medical appointments. A victim may also be entitled to recover the cost of household services, such as housekeeping or lawn care services, if the victim must hire companies to take care of these tasks because the victim is not physically capable of doing so. Finally, when a personal injury victim suffers permanently debilitating injuries that prevent him or her from returning to her old job or working the same hours he or she could before their injury, the victim may also be entitled to claim the difference in income they earned pre-injury versus what they earn post-injury.
Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages cannot be readily calculated from bills, invoices, or pay stubs. Instead, non-economic damages require an abstract calculation, with losses such as pain and suffering or loss of quality of life having to be determined based on factors such as the severity of injuries and the jury’s own sense of the value of loss. Finally, non-economic damages can also compensate a victim for certain physical losses, like disfigurement, loss of a bodily function, or loss of a body party.
Finally, in rare cases, the court may determine that the defendant’s conduct warrants punishment as a matter of law and may allow the victim to pursue punitive damages. Punitive damages are generally reserved for cases where a defendant engages in criminal or especially egregious or wanton conduct that results in serious permanent injury, traumatic emotional injury, or intentional or wanton physical or emotional torture of the victim.
Contact a Lake Worth Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Personal Injury Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to an accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. represent clients injured because of accidents in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines, and throughout Florida. Call (561) 533-0345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 813 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth, FL 33460, as well as offices in Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.