Many states put limits on certain types of financial damages that people can receive in a personal injury claim. In most situations, damage caps are used to limit the amount of non-economic damages that a person can recover in their case.
Non-economic damages refer to damages like “pain and suffering,” “loss of companionship” or “loss of future earning capacity.” These damages are inherently more subjective in nature, as it’s difficult to place a specific dollar value on any of them. However, Florida does not have any damage caps in place for non-economic damages. This is unlike many other states, which limit these damages due to the difficulties involved with coming to reasonable dollar amounts.
Instead, Florida places damage caps on punitive damages. These are types of damages levied against the negligent party in a case. In personal injury cases, punitive damages are only awarded when a defendant has engaged in particularly reckless negligence or has committed an act that was intended to injure the other person. These damages are meant as a punishment for the defendant’s wrongdoing.
In personal injury cases, Florida caps the amount of punitive damages a person can receive at three times the total amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. There are also certain types of caps in medical malpractice cases, specifically in terms of limits on non-economic damages in cases against medical practitioners, but those are more complicated rules and are separate from general personal injury damage cap rules.
For more information on damage caps in Florida injury claims and whether you qualify for punitive damages, speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh in Bradenton.