When someone is injured due to the negligent or intentional conduct of another person, the victim is entitled to file a Florida personal injury claim against the person or people they believe to be responsible for their injuries. If successful, an accident victim can recover compensation for their injuries.
Compensation awards in personal injury cases are broken down into different categories. For example, the most common category of personal injury damages is called compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are designed to put the plaintiff back into the position where they were before the accident. Medical expenses, lost wages, and a decrease in one’s quality of life are all categories of compensatory damages. Since these damages are designed to make the plaintiff “whole” again, the focus is on the victim, rather than the conduct of the defendant.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, focus on the defendant’s conduct that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. Punitive damages are rare and can be significant – sometimes reaching into the tens of millions of dollars. These damages are designed to deter parties from engaging in the type of conduct that resulted in the plaintiff’s injury. As a result, punitive damages focus on the defendant’s conduct, rather than the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. Punitive damages are rare and generally are not appropriate when mere negligence is alleged. Normally, there must be a showing of intentional conduct or recklessness in order for a court to consider punitive damages.