auto accident lawyer ft lauderdale
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The Law Office of
Joseph J. LoRusso, PA
490 Sawgrass Corporate
Pkwy - Suite 202
Sunrise, FL 33325

Phone: 954-560-2774
Fax: (954) 846-1944

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Actual injury is required - In any action based on negligence, there must be an actual injury suffered.  Normally, a plaintiff must show that they suffered some kind of physical harm.  Recovery will not be allowed where only mental harm, and no physical harm was suffered.  Once physical harm has been proven, Plaintiff may recover a variety of damages.  These include:

Direct loss: The value of any direct loss of bodily functions (actual monetary compensation for the loss of a limb).

Economic loss: Out-of-pocket losses stemming from the injury (medical expenses, lost earning capacity)

Pain and suffering: Damages for pain and suffering caused as a result of the injury.

Hedonistic damages: Damages for loss of the ability to enjoy one’s prior life (compensation for loss of the ability to walk, even if loss of that ability has no economic consequences).

Future damages: Plaintiff brings only one action for a particular accident, and recovers in that action not only for past damages, but also for likely future damages.

PUNITIVE DAMAGES  - Punitive damages can be awarded to penalize a defendant whose conduct is particularly outrageous.  In cases of negligence (as opposed to intentional torts), punitive damages are usually awarded only where the Defendant’s conduct was "reckless" or "willful and wanton."  Punitive damages are also frequently awarded in product liability suits, if Plaintiff shows that Defendant knew its product was defective, or recklessly disregarded the risk of a defect.

In a product liability context, a defendant who has made many copies of a defective product (such as faulty truck tires) may face multiple suits, each awarding punitive damages.  The possibility of multiple awards by itself generally does not mean that such awards should not be made.  Many courts take into account the possibility of multiple awards in fixing the amount of punitive damages in each case.


The common law recognizes two immunities in the family relationship:

  1. Husband and wife: At common law, inter-spousal immunity prevented suits by one spouse against the other for personal injury.

    Ex.: If Wife is injured while a passenger in a truck driven negligently by Husband, Wife cannot sue Husband.

    Abolition: Over half the states have completely abolished the inter-spousal immunity, even for personal injury suits.  Other states have partially abolished it.

  2. Parent and child: At common law, there is an immunity that bars suit by a child against his parents or vice versa.  Many states have abolished this immunity, and others have limited it.

  3. Governmental immunity:
    At common law, there is "sovereign immunity," preventing anyone from suing the government.  Suits against the federal government are generally allowed today, under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).  However, no liability may be based upon the government’s exercise of a discretionary or policy-making function, even if the discretion is abused.

    State governments have traditionally had similar sovereign immunity, but many have abolished that immunity.  Similarly, local government units (cities, school districts, public hospitals, etc.) have traditionally had sovereign immunity as well.  Even at common law, where a local government unit performs a "proprietary" function, there is no immunity.  Proprietary functions are ones that have not been historically performed by government, and which are often engaged in by private corporations.

    Ex.s: The running of hospitals, utilities, airports, etc., is generally proprietary, since these are revenue-producing activities; they can therefore be the subject of suit for personal injuries.  Police departments, fire departments and school systems are not proprietary, and cannot be sued at common law.



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