The state of Florida has some damage caps in place for certain types of personal injury claims. Depending on the type of injury claim you have and the nature of your injury, there could be a limit to the amount of money you may recover.
There is no damage cap statute for regular personal injury claims in Florida. Courts do not have a top-end limit in terms of how much a plaintiff may recover in damages. However, there are damage cap laws in place for punitive damages.
Punitive damage caps
Florida does place caps when awarding punitive damages, which are those awarded to the plaintiff primarily to punish egregious behavior on the part of the defendant: to hold the wrongdoer accountable and punish him or her. These types of damages are not available in most personal injury claims, however, and they are not guaranteed even when a claim is successful.l According to a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court, in W.R. Grace v. Waters, punitive damages will only be considered in two circumstances: when the defendant’s actions are:
- “fraudulent, malicious, deliberately violent or oppressive, or
- committed with such gross negligence as to indicate a wanton disregard for the rights of others”
That means that punitive damages can be awarded only if the defendant knew that his actions were wrong or acted without considering the safety of others. In cases in which punitive damages are an option, Florida caps the amount of punitive damages to $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages — whichever is greater.
The types of injury claims where punitive damages may be sought would be an auto accident case where the defendant was driving while impaired by alcohol; a trucking accident case in which the truck had faulty tires but did not let the driver know that; and a premises liability case where a store owner knew an escalator was broken but did not warn visitors of that fact. In any of these cases, it’s essential to be represented by a personal injury attorney who understands what’s at stake in seeking and successfully obtaining punitive damages. To learn more about the compensation you may recover in your injury claim, contact a reliable team of personal injury attorneys at Serrano Law.