Understanding Damages Following Florida Car Accidents
It seems like rarely a week goes by when we don't read about a car accident leaving a Florida Panhandle resident or visitor facing serious injuries. As a Panama City injury lawyer, Attorney Wes Pittman understands that the accident is only the first day of a long journey, one often marked by hospital stays, physical therapy, and marked changes to the victim's daily life.
Marianna Car Accident Case Leaves Man Seriously Injured
Frank Golden, a Marianna resident, is beginning his journey of recovery following a two-car accident on Friday. As reported in the News Herald, 70-year-old Joyce Mabardy was driving southbound on Old U.S. Road when she approached U.S. 90. As she attempted to cross the intersection, she collided with a vehicle driven by 50-year-old Golden. The accident left Golden with significant injuries, and emergency responders transported him to Jackson Hospital in serious condition. Mabardy, also of Marianna, incurred minor injuries. Police charged Mabardy with violating the right of way. They also report that both drivers had their seatbelt fastened at the time of the crash.
Damages in Florida Personal Injury Cases
No legal claim can ever turn back the hands of time. No one who has ever suffered a serious injury in a car accident says it was "worth" it for the money. However, a civil personal injury claim can provide a victim with compensation that is vital in the days, weeks, and years following a serious accident.
Florida law provides three primary types of damages in a personal injury lawsuit. In brief, these are:
- Economic Damages – These are, essentially, "pocketbook" damages. They are the direct economic costs of the accident including medical bills, lost wages (including the value of household work), and other care and services needed due to the injuries. In the case of long-term injuries, economic damages can include an estimate of future costs.
- Non-Economic Damages – This is the law's attempt to quantify the non-financial impact of the events. Damages for pain and suffering fall into this category.
- Punitive Damages – These damages are designed to punish a wrongdoer rather than compensate the victim. Generally, these are only awarded in extreme cases involving intentional wrongdoing or very severe, gross negligence.
While the majority of damages are awarded to the victim, Florida law sometimes allows others who are impacted by the injury to recover damages. This might include compensating a spouse who misses work to care for the injured victim. In very severe cases or in suits involving wrongful death, a family member may also be awarded non-economic damages.
Hiring an experienced law firm is essential to recovering the monetary damages provided by Florida law and necessary for covering the costs associated with a serious injury. In many cases, a personal injury claim can be resolved by a settlement. However, a good lawyer is always prepared to go to court if necessary. Victims should know that engaging a lawyer can help them obtain substantially more damages than might be offered to an unrepresented individual, even when cases do settle.
Attorney Pittman is an experienced Panama City personal injury lawyer. Along with his team, he is committed to helping victims of car accidents and other serious injury-causing events in Northwest Florida. Please call to schedule a free consultation.