Understanding Damage Caps in Florida Personal Injury Cases
The sky isn’t the limit when it comes to payouts in personal injury lawsuits in the state of Florida.
What are known as “damage cap statutes” govern the financial ceiling in a given case. They essentially set the limit on the amount of money an injured person can receive as a result of those injuries. Personal injury cases take many forms, like slip and fall, brain injury, workplace mishap, vehicle collision, premises liability and more. Damage caps can play a role in the final payout a judge can rule for in most of these cases.
In many states, these statutes cover non-economic damages that an injured person can recover. Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, negative effects on your family and personal life, and relationship woes.
In Florida, there is no damage cap statute for standard personal injury cases, however. Judges are not beholden to a certain top number in terms of how much the plaintiff can receive in damages.
There are no other damage cap laws on the books in Florida when it comes to standard personal injury cases. But it’s a different story in medical malpractice cases. Florida law does impose caps on damages in lawsuits against medical practitioners, including strict limits on non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Punitive Damage Cap in Florida
Florida does, however, have a damage cap statute when it comes to punitive damages. Punitive damages are an additional penalty a judge can levy on an individual or company in the case of serious or egregious behavior that leads to injury. For example, if you were crossing the street with the right of way and a drunk driver hit you and you broke your leg, you may be able to receive punitive damages beyond the economic damages you would likely receive.
Most personal injury cases do not allow for punitive damages — it’s often a very small percentage of cases where these types of penalties are levied.
In those rare instances, Florida does have a punitive damage cap (768.73) in place. The state limits the damages to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, depending on which is greater. Compensatory damages are those that are directly tied to financial losses, like loss of wages, loss of future wages, medical bills and the like.
Medical Malpractice Damage Cap
Florida does impose a damage cap for non-economic costs on medical malpractice lawsuits. The cap in the state for medical malpractice lawsuits targeting medical practitioners, like doctors and other health care professionals, is $500,000. For those who are not deemed practitioners, the cap is $750,000.
The cap does not govern the compensatory damages a plaintiff can recover, including lost income, medical bills, future lost income and other economic hardships that result from your injuries.
Considering Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit In Broward County?
If you’ve been injured in Broward County and are considering seeking justice, contact the lawyers at Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale. We have years of experience advocating for victims in the courtroom and we are prepared to provide you with immediate assistance.