Payton & Associates, LLC
Commercial Litigation Attorneys
Miami, Florida

What damages can businesses recover in a lawsuit?

When Miami residents suffer wrongdoing at the hands of another person, most would agree that the other person should be held accountable for that wrongdoing. This is a central principle of the legal system, as individuals who have been harmed by others have a legal right to hold them responsible.

Last week, for instance, this blog discussed how businesses can hold others accountable for a breach of contract, even when there may not have been a written agreement signed by both parties. After another person or business is held legally liable for breaching a contract, Florida law specifies what damages are available to compensate the non-breaching party.

Generally, Florida law allows compensatory damages for a breach of contract, which is the amount of money that would put the plaintiff in as good of a position as it would have been in had the defendant not breached the contract. Special damages, or those that would not otherwise normally be available, may also be recovered if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant knew or reasonably should have known of the special circumstances leading to those damages.

Another type of damages that may be recovered in certain business litigation cases is lost profits, which can be particularly important to a company that has suffered loss due to another's actions. To recover lost profits, a business must prove the defendant's actions caused the business to lose profits, and the plaintiff can establish the amount of lost profits with reasonable certainty.

Finally, in some cases, the business can be awarded damages for the fair market value of the business, if the defendant destroyed the business. These damages are only awarded when the business has been completely destroyed. Accordingly, like other types of damages discussed above, the availability of these damages will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.

Source: Florida Supreme Court, "Florida Standard Jury Instructions -- Contract and Business Cases," accessed on Nov. 28, 2015

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