Filing a lawsuit to claim punitive damages differs from the standard personal injury claim, as not all punitive damage claims will be successful. Cases that include punitive damages in Florida are rare, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of being awarded the damages.
With experienced Personal injury lawyers in Miami representing you, the chances of succeeding are high.
What Are Punitive Charges?
Punitive damages differ from compensatory damages in that they are awarded as punishment to the defendant. They’re awarded in civil cases if the court determines that the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional.
The aim is to punish the offender and pass a message that the action is not permitted in the community and that other people should avoid committing such an offense. For example, the court may award punitive damages against drivers who cause accidents due to drunk driving.
While you can pursue punitive damages in specific types of personal injury cases like car accidents, they have been a source of much controversy in Miami. However, Miami car accident lawyers can advise you on the legal options and the best course of action.
What Do the 2022 Florida Statutes Say About Punitive Damages?
According to Title XLV Chapter 768, plaintiffs may not lay a claim for punitive damages in any civil lawsuit unless reliable proof provides a rational basis for recovering such damages. Additionally;
- An offender may be held liable for punitive damages only if the jury finds them guilty of gross negligence or deliberate wrongdoing, as shown by clear and convincing evidence.
- Punitive damages may be imposed against an employer, corporation, or legal entity for the gross misconduct or failure of an employee if the employer, legal entity, or corporation knowingly participated in the conduct.
How Does a Jury Decide to Award Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases in Florida because such damages are meant to punish offenders. Personal injury cases aim to help victims recover compensation for their economic and non-economic injuries, not to punish defendants.
However, Florida courts can award punitive damages if the plaintiff presents enough convincing evidence that the defendant was guilty of their conduct. In other words, the court may enforce punitive damages if the defendant knew that they were deliberately malicious, oppressive, or violent.
Another situation in which punitive damages may be appropriate is if the defendant’s behavior was indifferent and posed a risk to the lives and safety of others. Car accident lawyers in Miami can argue your case to show why you deserve to recover punitive damages in your car accident case.
In Which Personal Injury Cases Can I Recover Punitive Damages?
Miami personal injury attorneys can help you file claims for punitive damages when the evidence warrants such a claim. Generally, cases in which you may attach punitive damage claims in Florida are:
- Medical malpractice cases: There are caps for punitive damages in medical negligence cases, but they can be awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages
- Product liability cases: Manufacturers who don’t test their products adequately before bringing them to the market or who know that the products will fail in certain conditions may be liable for punitive damages
- Truck and auto accidents: Drivers who drive under the influence or companies that allow truck drivers to operate uninspected trucks may be held liable for punitive damages
- Premises liability cases: Property owners who fail to warn occupants or visitors of potential hazards that could lead to injuries or death within a building may be held liable for punitive damages
- Intentional or gross misconduct cases: These may include battery, assault, or domestic violence cases.
If you’d like to pursue punitive damages in your personal injury case but are unsure of the applicability, consult experienced personal injury lawyers in Miami for guidance.
Are There Limits on Punitive Damages in Florida?
Florida is one of the states with caps on the amount of punitive damages one can recover in personal injury cases. The law limits the amount to three times the value of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is higher. The cap isn’t a strict limit but a method to control punitive damages from being higher than compensatory damages.
In some specific, exceptional cases, the punitive damage amount may be as much as four times the value of compensatory damages or $2 million, whichever amount is more. This most applies in cases where the defendant acted to make more financial gains from the situation. For example, a manufacturer that didn’t fix a defect to avoid cutting into their profits.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me Obtain Punitive Damages?
Punitive damage settlements are not easy to obtain, and you may not be able to ask for them in every personal injury case. A skilled lawyer can help you prove intentional misconduct or gross negligence. They can show that the defendant knew their conduct was wrong and that the probability that it would cause injuries was high, yet they still pursued the misconduct.
Punitive damage cases involving companies or legal entities can also be hard to navigate. A lawyer can help you show that the principal, employer, or corporation actively and knowingly participated in the misconduct for which you seek punitive damages.
Aggressive Representative Helping You Get the Compensation You Deserve
Navigating personal injury cases in Florida can be complex and time-consuming. It can get further complicated if you wish to pursue punitive damages for your injuries. Retaining a knowledgeable attorney who understands how the system works in punitive damage claims can be to your advantage. They can help you gather relevant evidence to create a strong case.
Miami car accident attorneys at our firm can help you pursue punitive damages. We can file a demand and work with the defendant’s insurance company to reach a fair settlement. We bring a wealth of knowledge in personal injury cases and aim to help you recover the total damages you deserve. Schedule a FREE consultation with us today to get started.