Although we have periodically gone over some of these details on the site, now is a good time to look back over some of the logistics of how we consult with other accident victims in their state of residence.
These quick points will show you quite a bit about how courts award personal injury damages in auto accidents and other personal injury cases.
Compensatory and Punitive Damages
First of all, the word is “compensatory.” It’s easy to get this word wrong, because of the Latin root and everything else.
Secondly, a ‘compensatory’ award has to do with ‘making someone whole’ for their costs, and punitive damages are different.
Punitive damages are awarded by a court, not for the victim, but for making sure that the defendant has some commensurate consequence for something that they did wrong. In many cases, that translates to punitive damages for neglect or harmful action.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Within the category of compensatory damages, there are two other major categories to consider.
Economic compensatory damages have to do with hard costs incurred by the victim. This is where we talk about medical bills and lost wages, for example.
Non-economic compensatory damages have to do with changes to the victim’s lifestyle and some of the ‘soft opportunity loss’ costs that happen when you’re dealing with the aftermath of some injury.
This is where phrases like ‘pain and suffering’ apply. Of course, every case is different, and Florida accident attorneys have to sit down with the client and go over every detail of the case, in order to learn about where either of these kinds of damages are relevant.
A Reminder on FL State Auto Accident Law
Yes, it’s worth mentioning that Florida is still a no-fault auto state, where drivers need to purchase adequate PIP (personal injury protection coverage).
And yes, this puts drivers in the position of asking for compensation from their own insurance companies, instead of the insurance company representing some at-fault driver.
With that in mind, a lot of the work of trying to figure out damages and other aspects of a settlement has to do with working through an insurance company’s massive bureaucracy, and holding that party’s feet to the fire to award equitable compensation.
So that’s a big part of what experienced professional injury lawyers do in the state of Florida, and it applies to our day-to-day work with clients.
Make sure that you’re getting your voice heard and taking advantage of your rights according to Florida law! We will help.