In St. Petersburg, it is permissible to ask the court to allow a client to pursue an award of punitive damages in certain cases. Unlike other types of damages such as economic or non-economic damages, punitive damages are not primarily to make things better for the victim as much as to punish the responsible party. Negligent conduct by a medical provider or facility is not generally enough to pursue punitive damages as they have a standard of proof requiring gross negligence or intentional misconduct leading to the injury. It may feel to you that you have been denied justice, even if there has been an offer of compensation for quantifiable bills. However, by pursuing punitive damages when applicable in a St. Petersburg medical malpractice case, you may be able to set an example to prevent future injuries like yours.
When Are Punitive Damages Applicable in St. Petersburg Medical Injury Cases?
In order to receive punitive damage in Florida, victims must demonstrate to the court that the evidence suggests that a medical provider or facility is responsible for gross negligence or intentional misconduct related to the injuries that the plaintiff has sustained. If it can be demonstrated to the judge that this occurred, then the plaintiff and their local medical malpractice attorney could present that evidence to the jury at the trial to ask for an additional award of punitive damages.
Gross negligence in Florida is defined as conduct that is so reckless or wanting in care that it constitutes a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of the victim of that conduct. Punitive damages in Florida are prescreened by the court, unlike compensatory damages. This means that the victim must demonstrate a reasonable basis to pursue these damages as most cases do not include claims for punitive damages. However, it is not unheard of for a medical provider to take risks during the assessment, care, treatment, or surgery of a patient such that the requirement for gross negligence or potential misconduct could be met.
How Common are Punitive Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases?
It is not common for punitive damages to be awarded in typical medical malpractice cases in Florida. However, if a person believes that gross misconduct is involved in causing their injuries, they should seek to obtain all evidence available with their lawyer to accurately determine whether a greater degree of negligence was the cause of the injuries. If a punitive damages case is viable, then the damages that could be recovered by the victim might be significantly more valuable.
Factors That Could Effect Punitive Damage Awards in St. Petersburg
The factors that influence an award of punitive damages in St. Petersburg include how egregious the conduct leading to the injury is as well as the financial size and scope of the wrongdoing individual or entity. Unlike compensatory damages, which are purely related to the amount of specific harm caused to a person and the settlement or jury award is calculated purely to compensate the losses of a person, punitive damages differ because their purpose is specifically to deter somebody from engaging in that wrongful conduct in the future.
Florida law says that in order to deter a person, the award must be sizable enough in relation to the amount of money or wealth the wrongdoer has in order to discourage future conduct. To see if your case is eligible for this type of compensation and to start fighting to make sure that others are not injured the way you were by a negligent medical professional, call an experienced personal injury lawyer to pursue St. Petersburg medical malpractice punitive damages.