When you are injured on another person’s property because they failed to properly maintain the area, you may have a premises liability claim. The injuries that occur from accidents due to unkempt premises can be severe. If the property owner is at fault, you deserve compensation, known as “damages,” for your losses.

Determining the appropriate amount of damages in a Sarasota premises liability case can be challenging. The diligent premises liability attorneys at Dannheisser Injury Law have extensive experience handling similar matters and can help ensure that the amount you receive is fair. There are some general principles regarding damages, and it can be helpful to be aware of all the factors that could impact compensation.

What Are Compensatory Damages?

The first item to know about the damages available in a premises liability incident in Sarasota is that, generally, they must be tied to an actual loss. That is, damages reimburse the injured person and are not meant to punish the property owner or provide a handout.

Therefore, the person with injuries must prove liability to receive damages. This may include items, called economic damages, that are easy to measure with the right documentation, including medical expenses, costs for rehabilitative treatments, and reimbursements for lost wages from time away from work.

State law recognizes that not all losses are quantifiable. Therefore, an injured person may also provide evidence of harm that is not as easy to measure, called non-economic damages. These could include psychological or mental injuries, such as emotional distress, mental anguish, or pain.

Understanding the Comparative Negligence Model

The state follows the comparative negligence model, meaning if a jury finds an injured person is more than 50% at fault for an accident, they are not allowed to recover any monetary damages. If a jury finds the injured person is less than 50% at fault, the court will reduce the injured person’s total financial recovery by their percentage of fault, as long as it is below 50%. It is important that an attorney, like the experienced lawyers at Dannheisser Injury Law, be prepared and able to prove an injured person is not more than 50% at fault. Our legal professionals have experience handling cases at trial and can help an injured person fight for compensation.

Defining Punitive Damages

In certain limited circumstances, damages in a Sarasota premises liability claim may exceed the general principles outlined above. When the actions leading to the injury are particularly egregious, state law allows for additional compensation—known as punitive damages—to the injured person solely as a punishment to the property owner.

Again, the opportunities for this sort of award are limited. Florida Statutes § 768.72(2) provides that a property owner may owe punitive damages only where there is clear and convincing evidence that either of the following situations occurred:

  • The property owner knew that their actions had a great likelihood of causing harm but intentionally pursued that course of action anyway
  • The property owner acted with such recklessness that they clearly did not care whether they hurt someone

Both situations are difficult to prove, but the attorneys at Dannheisser Injury Law can help analyze whether the standard is met in each situation.

Limited Damages Against Governmental Entities

When an injured person has a successful premises liability claim against a governmental entity in Sarasota, then damages will be available. However, by law, the total amount of damages the government is liable for, unlike a private property owner, is limited.

Florida Statutes § 768.28(5)(a) limits the aggregate amount of damages that the government can pay for a given incident to $300,000. Additionally, of that amount, the total that may be paid to any person cannot exceed $200,000.

Ask a Sarasota Attorney About Available Premises Liability Damages Today

When you have received a serious injury, you do not deserve to bear the financial consequences on your own. However, determining the amount of compensation that will adequately and fairly reimburse you for the full extent of your losses is a complicated endeavor.

A well-versed lawyer who has experience calculating and proving damages in a Sarasota premises liability case, like the attorneys at Dannheisser Law, can help you understand, assert, and protect your legal rights. Schedule an initial consultation at our firm today to learn more.

    Get In Touch With Us