Personal injuries can happen to any of us at any time. Following an accident, many people may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit but have questions about basic legal aspects. In these cases, a simple outline for Florida personal injury lawsuits would go a long way to helping them understand their legal rights.
What can I recover for in a personal injury lawsuit?
Florida tort laws allow injury victims to file personal injury lawsuits to recover compensatory damages for both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic damages are things like lost wages, hospital bills, property damage, and in tragic cases, funeral expenses. Courts are able to calculate the amount of these damages with relative certainty since there are usually corresponding records such as pay stubs, receipts, appraisals, and estimates.
Non-economic damages are a little more difficult so ascertain but are nonetheless important to help fully compensate injury victims for their damages. Emotional and physical pain and suffering are common damages sought in injury claims. Victims are entitled to be compensated for both the physical pain of an accident and the emotional turmoil experienced during and after an accident.
In extreme cases of reckless and intentional misconduct, courts may award injury victims punitive damages to punish and deter the actions which caused the injury. Punitive damages are rarely handed out and the legal standard warranting their disbursement is high. Plaintiffs should not expect punitive damages unless very serious misconduct can be proven.
Are there time limits for filing a lawsuit in Florida?
The state of Florida has a strict time limit of four years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If your personal injury lawsuit is not filed within the statute of limitations, courts may deny your claim and you will have no legal redress for your injuries.
What are the limits on personal injury lawsuits?
Florida only caps punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits and medical malpractice claims. According to Florida law, the limit on punitive damages is $500,000 or three times the total amount of compensatory damages, whichever is higher.
Caps on medical malpractice damages in Florida are complicated. Depending on the circumstances, victims may be compensated in different way. For questions about Florida medical malpractice claims, speak to a qualified medical malpractice attorney.
Comparative negligence laws
In Florida, any compensatory damages awarded to you in a personal injury lawsuit may be reduced should the court determine you were partially to blame for your injury. Florida follows a pure comparative negligence law, meaning whatever percentage you are responsible for your injury will be the reduction in your award. For example, if you are 50 percent responsible for your injury, your award may be reduced by 50 percent.
Personal injury lawyers
Many factors contribute to amount of compensation injury victims may receive. Defendants and insurance adjusters may attempt to downplay factors which may contribute to higher awards and overstate circumstances that can reduce an award. For these reasons and many others, you should retain an experienced personal injury attorney to help prosecute your claim and help maximize the compensation you and your family deserve.