Work with an Experienced Crestview Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been harmed in an accident due to another’s negligence, then Florida law entitles you to sue the defendant and obtain compensation for your losses. But many would-be plaintiffs don’t understand how damages works — they may not understand why damages can be quite variable from plaintiff-to-plaintiff, or how they can maximize their own damage recovery.
Let’s take a closer look at the general principles behind a plaintiff’s damage recovery, and why it varies depending on the plaintiff and their circumstances.
Damages Imposed on the Defendant — the Cost Burden
In the personal injury context, defendants may be held liable for all damages that they are responsible for causing. This responsibility extends in an unlimited fashion, varying on the basis of the plaintiff’s unique losses. This can be difficult to understand, so let’s use a quick example to clarify.
Suppose that you are a highly paid professional whose income is $500,000 per year. After a car accident, you are rendered incapable of working for a year at your job — as a result, you suffer wage loss damages totaling $500,000. The defendant is liable for that amount.
Now, suppose that you worked a blue-collar job that paid $60,000 per year instead. For the same exact injury, under the same exact circumstances, (with respect to the wage loss portion of the damages) the defendant would be liable only for that $60,000.
Thus, we have the same situation, but a wildly different outcome for the defendant and the plaintiff: a $500,000 payout vs. a $60,000 payout.
Is this “fair”? Arguably, yes.
The reasoning behind this dynamic is that the defendant — the individual or entity that caused you harm — should bear the burden of variable damages. If the defendant had to pay a flat damages amount, then the “risk” of variable losses would have to be borne by the plaintiff. That would be patently unfair, given that the plaintiff is not the one responsible for their own losses (in this context).
So, for example, let’s return to our example above. If the defendant was liable for a flat $60,000 amount, the plaintiff who suffered $500,000 in losses would be unable to secure a full and adequate recovery — a fundamentally unjust result.
As such, it is only fair that defendants be held responsible for whatever damages the plaintiff actually suffers, so long as the plaintiff can introduce sufficient evidence to support their damages claim. If defendants wish to avoid such liability, they should exercise greater caution to minimize their negligent acts.
Contact a Crestview Personal Injury Lawyer for Assistance
Powell Law Firm is a Florida-based personal injury firm founded seven decades ago, committed to helping injured clients recover the damages they deserve. Our team regularly represents plaintiffs throughout the state of Florida in a range of personal injury disputes, from motorcycle accidents to product liability disputes (and more).
Over the years, we have built up a reputation as detail-oriented, relentless advocates who treat every case as though it will go to trial. We believe that this trial-ready approach gives a significant advantage. In many cases, we can push the defendant to resolve the dispute at an early stage, and on favorable terms.
If you’d like to speak to an experienced Crestview personal injury lawyer at our firm, then call us at 850-682-2757 or send us a message online to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.