Am I Eligible for Punitive Damages?
When pursuing a personal injury claim, injured parties typically seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress, but in some cases, punitive damages are also available. This type of damage recovery is labeled punitive for a reason, these damages are designed to punish the defendant for their egregious conduct. Additionally, a punitive damage award deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
After an injury in Clearwater, Hudson, or Tampa, you may be wondering if punitive damages could apply to your claim. To fully understand when punitive damages play a role in a case and what the criteria for eligibility is, connect with an experienced injury attorney.
Criteria for Awarding Punitive Damages in Florida
Unlike compensatory damages, which are designed to compensate a victim for their losses, punitive damages serve to punish for intentional misconduct, gross negligence, or willful disregard for the safety of others. The primary objective of these damages is to discourage similar wrongful behavior by imposing a penalty, in this example a financial one.
In Florida, punitive damages are not automatically awarded in personal injury cases, and the following factors must be met to even begin considering pursuing punitive damages.
- Egregious behavior. There must be proof of conduct that was particularly egregious, involving intentional wrongdoing, reckless behavior, or a conscious disregard for the well-being of others.
- Clear evidence. The burden of proof for punitive damages is a lot higher than it is compensatory damages. Convincing evidence to substantiate the egregious conduct has to be gathered and presented.
- Causal connection. There must be a clear connection between the egregious conduct and the injuries or damages that are included in the claim.
- Statutory limitations. Florida imposes certain limitations on the amount and timelines of punitive damage awards, these details will depend on the circumstances of the case.
Some examples of situations involving punitive damages are driving under the influence incidents that result in severe injuries or fatalities, manufacturers who knowingly release a defective product to the public without proper warnings or testing, and when healthcare professionals or facilities demonstrate gross negligence or intentional misconduct, leading to serious harm. In all of these circumstances cited, punitive damages could be considered.
Your Claim and the Role of a Florida Injury Lawyer
Determining eligibility for punitive damages and pursuing them is not a simple process, doing so successfully requires a thorough understanding of Florida law. Plus, strong evidence will need to be gathered. When you consult with a skilled Florida personal injury lawyer, they will assess the viability of punitive damages in your case. Once a seasoned injury attorney takes on a case, they thoroughly investigate the circumstances, collaborate with expert witnesses, and navigate the legal complexities to seek the maximum compensation available, including punitive damages, if warranted.
Have you been wondering if punitive damages apply to your claim? Instead of guessing what is possible, connect with the skilled legal experts at Roman & Roman to have over 100 years of combined experience working on your case. Schedule your fee-free, no-obligation consultation today.
Although the law firm of Roman & Roman has offices in Clearwater, Hudson and Tampa, we handle cases and claims throughout Florida. We also meet personally with our clients if at all possible, rather than impersonally over the phone or on the Internet.