Before deciding to enter into a lawsuit in order to recover costs associated with an injury caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person, it is important to understand whether the case is worth pursuing. Determining the Value personal injury is a difficult task, as there are many factors that go into what can be awarded to someone who has been injured by another person.
The first amount that the insurance company and attorneys will review are the compensatory damages you may be entitled to recover. Compensatory damages are actual costs incurred by you due to your personal injury, such as medical bills, lost wages and either the repair or replacement of your vehicle, if you were in a car accident.
Most compensatory damages are easy to prove as long as you keep accurate records, receipts and documentation of the days you missed work. However, some compensatory damages are more difficult to prove, including pain, suffering or emotional trauma caused by another person’s negligence.
Missed days at work can lead to financial difficulty, which in turn leads to stress and, in most states, stress falls under compensatory damages. In Florida, it is also possible to recover future medical costs under compensatory damages and there is no limit on the amount of compensatory damages that can be awarded.
Punitive damages are designed to punish the person who caused the injury, however, in Florida, there are limits on how much can be awarded. In addition, according to Florida Statutes 768.72, punitive damage may only be awarded if there is convincing evidence that the defendant was guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. In other words, the defendant must have actual knowledge that their action would result in injury, or that their conduct was so reckless, it demonstrated a disregard for the safety and well-being of others.
Once it has been determined that the defendant acted in such a manner, punitive damages may not exceed three-times the compensatory damage ordered or $500,000, whichever is greater.
However, if the injury was caused solely due to attempt of financial gain or if the defendant had a specific intent to harm the plaintiff, damages are limited to four-times the amount of compensatory damages or $2 million, whichever is greater.
The first step to determining what your personal injury may be worth is to total all medical bills, missed days of work and the cost of auto repairs. Keep in mind that in order for punitive damages to be awarded, the court must believe that the person who caused the injury acted with gross negligence or willful misconduct.
If you are the victim of a personal injury case, contact New Port Richey, Florida’s PLM Attorneys.