Anyone who suffers injuries because of another person’s negligence can recover various remedies in civil court. Two of these remedies are compensatory damages and punitive damages. While both may apply to your case, there are significant differences between the two. In addition, Florida law applies a different legal standard to recover punitive damages.
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit and wondering what these two remedies are, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll discuss both damage types in depth. If you have more questions, contact our firm online or call 786-933-6985 immediately for a free consultation.
What Are Compensatory Damages?
Fortunately, there is a straightforward compensatory damages definition. Under Florida law, compensatory damages are a type of legal remedy that aims to compensate the person bringing a lawsuit, also known as the plaintiff, for their losses or injuries due to another party’s wrongful conduct.
Plaintiffs can receive compensatory damages in various civil cases, including personal injury lawsuits, contract disputes, and more. There are two primary categories of compensatory damages in Florida: special damages and general damages.
Special damages refer to the quantifiable financial losses a plaintiff incurs due to the responsible party’s actions.
These damages are typically easy to calculate and may include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage,
- Lost wages, and
- A decrease in earning capacity.
They can even include rehabilitation costs, transportation expenses, and attorneys’ fees. Some people also refer to special damages as economic damages.
General damages, or noneconomic damages, refer to the more subjective and intangible losses that are hard to quantify. These damages attempt to compensate the plaintiff for the pain, suffering, emotional distress, and other noneconomic harms they suffered because of the negligent party’s actions.
Common types of general damages in Florida include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and anxiety. It also includes loss of consortium, which refers to the injury’s negative impact on the plaintiff’s relationship with their spouse or family members.
Compensatory vs. Punitive Damages
Courts impose punitive damages in Florida on a defendant in a civil lawsuit as a form of financial punishment.
As the name implies, punitive damages aim to punish defendants who acted intentionally or grossly negligently. Thus, they significantly differ from compensatory damages, which aim to compensate the plaintiff for their losses.
Punitive damages also serve to deter others from acting like the defendant. To receive punitive damages in Florida, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions showed a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, and or rights of others. You may also receive punitive damages if you demonstrate that the defendant acted intentionally.
Our Outstanding Florida Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here for You
If you have suffered because of the negligent actions of another, know that the law grants you the opportunity to be made whole. In other words, you can obtain the compensation that is rightfully due to you because of another person’s carelessness. However, navigating the legal system can be tricky, so don’t try to go it alone.
Instead, reach out to Arias & Abbass today. Our boutique law firm focuses on representing clients in personal injury cases. Unlike other firms, we strive to meet our customers’ highest expectations when it comes to legal representation and tailored communication. Call us at 786-933-6985 or contact us online to get started.