The Different Types of Damages You May Be Entitled to in a Product Liability Case in Florida
Defective products can lead to serious injuries. As in any other catastrophic injury case, the damages which the victim suffers from such an event can be substantial. The types of damages to which you may be entitled can be broken down into three categories. These categories include economic damages, medical costs, and possibly punitive damages. Understanding how each of these types of damages are calculated is important to understanding what to expect as your case moves forward.
Injury Victims Are Entitled to Past and Future Economic Damages
The victim in any personal injury case is entitled to past and future economic losses. These damages include income that has been lost to date due to the injury, as well as income that is expected to be lost in the future. It also includes money which a victim has paid out, or can expect to pay, as a result of the injury. The determination of these damages will depend on the circumstances of a particular case.
The calculation of past lost income is not always straightforward. For someone who receives an hourly wage or set salary then it can be a matter of simply adding up the missed time from work. If you are self-employed, or if you are an employee whose earnings greatly vary, then determining the losses you have already incurred can involve projections which can be open to dispute. This is due to the fact that such jobs and careers involve compensation that is not directly related to the number of hours worked.
The calculation of future lost income will often require the use of expert witnesses. Vocational and economic experts will be required to state what you could have expected to earn for the remainder of your life had the accident not occurred. They will then state what you can expect to earn, given your medical issues, and the difference between these two numbers will be your future economic losses.
Recovering Past and Future Medical Expenses
You will also be entitled to past and future medical expenses. As with economic losses, computing past medical expenses is simply an issue of adding up bills already incurred for care. This includes components such as ambulance rides, medications, and more. Determining future medical expenses will require the testimony of a medical expert. Such professionals will conduct their own medical examination and will issue a report stating the extent to which you can be expected to make a full recovery (which will be relied upon by the vocational experts), and the extent to which you will need future care. This will include a projection of future surgeries, future rehabilitative therapy, the cost of future medications, etc.
Damages For Pain And Suffering
There is more to a personal injury case then the amount of money you have lost from work or paid out for medical expenses. You are also entitled to compensation for physical pain you have incurred, as well as anguish and frustration, as a result of the accident. This is also true in product liability cases. Determining your pain and suffering will involve consideration of several factors. The first is the actual physical pain and discomfort you have suffered. This includes pain and discomfort that occurred during the accident, during any emergency treatment, as well as ongoing pain. It also includes the feelings of fear, distress, and more that occur as well as the aggravation of knowing that you are going through this situation. If you have suffered a serious injury, which has long-term ramifications on your health, then compensation for your diminished quality of life can be substantial.
There are multiple forms of evidence which will be offered in order to prove your pain and suffering. First, your testimony will be relevant as you are the only one that can discuss how the situation has made you feel. It will be necessary to provide specifics, such as time spent driving to and from medical appointments, time spent in waiting rooms, etc. Keeping a detailed daily journal of how the accident has impacted your life can help you with ensuring that you offer all relevant facts to the jury. Second, a medical expert can offer testimony as to how much pain people in your situation typically endure. The testimony of such experts can be important as it establishes that you are not exaggerating or embellishing the situation.
Recovering Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are the rarest form of compensation awarded in a personal injury case. While the types of damages discussed above are meant to compensate a victim for what they have been through, punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer for what they have done. These types of damages are typically only awarded if the wrongdoer acted intentionally or with reckless disregard for the safety of others. While punitive damages are rare, they can be gained in product liability cases when a large corporation had reason to know that their product was dangerous or if they cut back on safety precautions in order to boost profits.
As with the other types of damages discussed above, any punitive award will be determined by the jury. The jurors will hear the evidence in the matter and decide a) if the defendant should be punished for what they have done and b) the amount of money necessary to dissuade them from future conduct. The award of punitive damages is one of the most disputed issues in any personal injury case – especially those involving product liability.
Contact Our Florida Product Liability Attorney Lawyer
If you have been harmed by a defective product then it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible. The next step is to retain a lawyer with the experience and resources necessary to handle your matter. Our firm believes in protecting the rights of individuals over those of companies. We are proud of the level of service we offer and we look forward to speaking with you. Contact us online or at 800-780-8607 to speak with a Florida product liability attorney.