Claiming Punitive Damages for Bicycle Accidents in Florida
Unlike special and general damages, the court assigns punitive damages with the intent to punish the defendant for their behavior and deter future behavior instead, which is different than compensating the injured individual for specific losses.
To be liable for punitive damages, the defendant typically must be found guilty of gross negligence or deliberate conduct by the judge or jury. The behavior must be so reckless that it demonstrated a conscious indifference to the victim. The defendant also generally must have had knowledge of the wrongfulness of their behavior and that it came with a high risk of endangering another person.
Evidence in a Florida Bicycle Accident Case
For a civil plaintiff to receive fair compensation through either a court verdict or a settlement, their bicycle accident lawyers in Florida must demonstrate, through a preponderance of the evidence, that they incurred an injury and that the defendant’s negligent behavior directly caused their damages. Evidence that may support such claims often includes:
- Pictures and videos of the accident, any injuries, and property damage
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Sworn testimony from witnesses and expert witnesses
- Proof of lost wage
- Insurance policy documents
Taking a Case to Trial vs. Seeking a Settlement
Many personal injury claims, bike wrecks included, end with a settlement. This means that the defendant and their insurance company do not necessarily admit fault but are willing to provide compensation to an injured party in exchange for their dropping of the case. To receive a fair settlement, a lawyer must present persuasive evidence and demonstrate how a claimant’s losses have impacted their life. Some parties prefer to settle a case rather than pursue trial because these cases tend to end more quickly and may be less costly.
However, taking a case to trial in Florida also may be an option if an attorney believes that a claimant may be able to receive more compensation for their bicycle wreck claim in court. Much like in settlement talks, a plaintiff must prove a defendant’s negligence and show how their losses impact them in the present and future. It is important to note that litigation is costly and can take many months, if not years, to complete.
Additionally, a trial can be risky as it is impossible to predict how a jury will judge the facts of the case. It is not unusual for some people to spend years in court only to find that a jury’s verdict came out to less money than a previous settlement offer. Our team at Kogan & DiSalvo can explain the differences between settlements and trials and recommend a course of action that best fits your specific case.
How Long Does a Person Have to Pursue a Claim?
The statute of limitations is a state-wide law that determines how long a plaintiff has to demand payments after an injury. According to Florida Statute §95.11, this time limit is generally four years. If a person fails to file a complaint in court within this statutory deadline, the court may dismiss this case. Insurance companies are aware of this law and will not participate in any settlement talks if the statute of limitations expires before an injured cyclist submits their claim. A Florida lawyer can help someone meet these legal deadlines when pursuing a claim after a bicycle crash.
Speak to a Florida Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Someone injured in a bicycle collision should consult with Florida bicycle accident lawyers before speaking to the insurance company for the party who caused the accident. Insurance companies often try to lessen the liability of the insured by getting the injured person to say something detrimental to their case, or they want to settle the case for as little as possible quickly. Neither tactic is fair to the injured individual.
You could take steps to help avoid either of these circumstances by reaching out to our firm and scheduling a free case evaluation. Call us to get started on your case.