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Boca Raton, FL – When someone is hurt in a motor vehicle accident, their most urgent questions are usually related to financial matters such as paying for vehicle repairs and medical treatment. While the insurance process may help pay for some of these losses in minor accidents, individuals who were severely hurt and will miss time from work may need to contact a personal injury attorney and file a lawsuit. 

Economic damages

Economic damages are usually the easiest to calculate in any injury lawsuit. The plaintiff can essentially add up their costs due to property repairs, medical bills and treatment, and lost wages to come up with their economic losses. The defendant may have to end up paying for these costs through a settlement agreement or jury verdict if they are at fault. There are also personal injury protection laws related to insurance coverage in Florida that may cover a person’s economic damages if they are a few thousand dollars or less. As a general rule, more serious accidents that cause severe medical problems will require lawsuits. 

Non-economic damages 

In serious accidents, the victim may have a number of long term or permanent problems related to their mental health and emotional state. The plaintiff’s lawyer can argue for damages tied to pain and suffering, emotional trauma and distress, loss of the ability to enjoy life, and any kind of permanent injuries that cause cosmetic defects. In cases where these kinds of damages are awarded, they can become larger than the economic losses.

Cases where punitive damages are awarded

Punitive damages are rarely awarded in civil cases in Florida, because they are meant to deter or punish the defendant for their behavior. A court needs to find that the defendant’s actions or failure to act was intentional or they committed gross negligence. When punitive damages are awarded, they are calculated separately from, and in addition to other forms of compensatory damages. There are also caps on punitive damages under Florida law. A plaintiff can receive a maximum of the greater amount of three times compensatory damages, or $500,000 total.  

For motor vehicle accident cases, punitive damages are normally only awarded if the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if a commercial vehicle or truck was not inspected or maintained properly. The judge will make the decision to award punitive damages or not on a case by case basis.  

Getting assistance from an accident law firm

Anyone who was injured in an accident can explore their legal options with the help of an experienced firm. Rosenberg Injury Law assists local clients in Boca Raton and nearby parts of Florida. 

Firm contact info:

The Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Rosenberg

5255 North Federal Highway, 3rd Floor, Boca Raton, Florida 33487