Understanding Gross Negligence in Florida

florida gross negligenceWhen you suffer injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. And when someone acts recklessly or endangers another person, they could be guilty of gross negligence in Florida. In these situations, your case may be eligible for punitive damages as well.

To learn more, speak with one of our Pensacola personal injury lawyers at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon.

What Is Gross Negligence?

Florida Statutes Chapter 768 Section 72 defines gross negligence as conduct by the defendant that was so reckless or wanting in care that it created a conscious disregard for the rights, safety, or life of others. In these cases, the court has the discretion to award punitive damages to the plaintiff.

Ordinary negligence is the failure to use due care or take the same precautions another person would in a similar situation. Gross negligence involves a deliberate disregard for other people’s lives. An example of ordinary negligence would be accidentally running a stop sign. Gross negligence would be speeding through one in an area filled with pedestrians.

Defective product cases often involve gross negligence as well. When a company continues to manufacture and sell a product they know is defective, they can face numerous lawsuits from consumers who get harmed.

What Are Punitive Damages?

The idea behind punitive damages is not to compensate the victim, but to punish the defendant’s actions. The hope is that the punishment will deter them and others from committing similar offenses in the future. You may also hear them referred to as exemplary damages. Courts only award punitive damages in instances involving intentional wrongful actions or gross negligence. You cannot receive punitive damages for an ordinary negligence case.

However, Florida is one of the states that limit the amount of punitive damages you can receive. You can get an award of up to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever amount is higher. So if you have $500,000 in compensatory damages, you could receive a maximum of $1,500,000 in punitive damages.  

Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in a personal injury case involving gross negligence, you need a skilled Pensacola personal injury lawyer who can protect your rights. With Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon, you have over 100 years of combined experience representing you. We have the skills and expertise to help you get the maximum compensation possible.

To learn more about our services, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. We handle personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means you won’t pay any fees unless we recover compensation in your case.