If you have been injured in an accident, you may be wondering what types of damages you can recover in a personal injury claim. In Florida, there are several different types of damages that you may be able to receive compensation for. These include economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, contact a personal injury lawyer at The Fran Haasch Law Group today. We will help you determine what damages you are entitled to and help you calculate how much you should recover.
Types of Personal Injury Damages
Damages in personal injury cases can be broken into compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages compensate a person for the losses associated with their injuries. Punitive damages are available in rare cases and are intended to punish the responsible party.
There are two types of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic Damages are damages that reimburse a person for their specific financial losses. They include:
If you are injured in an accident, you will likely need medical treatment. Medical costs can add up quickly. In a personal injury case, you are entitled to reimbursement for the medical expenses you incur due to your injury.
Additionally, you are also entitled to future medical expenses. These are expenses you are expected to incur after the case is settled.
Some examples of medical expenses include:
- Hospital stays
- Emergency room visits
- Alternative therapies such as physical and massage therapy and chiropractors
If your health insurance pays any of your medical bills related to the insurer, they will expect to be reimbursed from the settlement you receive. They will usually place a medical lien on your future award.
If you cannot work because of your injuries, you can recover the wages you lost while you were out of work. This includes wages from the time of the accident until the settlement date. If you can return to work but make less money than before the accident, you can also recover the difference in wage loss.
Future Lost Wages
If your injuries prevent you from returning to work or working the same hours as before the accident, you can also recover for future lost wages. An economist or other expert may be used to calculate the amount of future lost wages.
Other Economic Damages
Other economic damages include:
If your property was damaged in the accident, you are entitled to reimbursement for the cost of repairs or replacement.
Loss of Use of Property
If your injuries prevent you from using your property, such as a car, you may be able to recover for the loss of use. This is usually calculated by determining the rental value of the property.
Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify than economic damages. They include:
Pain and Suffering
This is the physical pain and emotional suffering you experience due to your injuries. It is hard to quantify, so insurance companies, judges, and juries will rely on several factors when determining the value of your pain and suffering. These include:
- The type of injury you sustained
- How long it takes you to recover
- The medication you are prescribed
- Whether the injury is permanent or not
Sometimes called mental anguish, emotional distress is similar to pain and suffering and can be difficult to quantify.
Punitive damages are awarded in rare cases. They are intended to punish the defendant for their actions and deter them from committing the same acts.
Calculating Damages for Personal Injury Claims
The first step is to calculate your economic damages. This includes any medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages you have incurred.
The next step is to determine the value of your non-economic damages. This can be more difficult as there is no set formula for calculating pain and suffering or emotional distress. However, many insurance companies and attorneys use a multiplier to calculate these damages.
The multiplier is usually between one and five and is based on the severity of your injuries. For example, if you have suffered minor injuries that will heal within a few months, a lower multiplier may be used. A higher multiplier may be used if you have suffered more serious injuries that will take longer to heal or have permanent effects.
Once you have calculated your economic and non-economic damages, you can add them together to get the total value of your personal injury claim.
Keep in mind that many factors can affect the value of your personal injury claim. It is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure you get the full compensation you deserve.
Factors That May Impact Your Settlement
The defendant’s insurance company will investigate your claim and try to minimize the amount they have to pay. They may do this by:
- Arguing that you are partially at fault for the accident
- Minimizing the severity of your injuries
- Disputing the amount of damages you are claiming
It is important to have an experienced attorney on your side who can negotiate with the insurance company and fight for the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
The timing of your personal injury claim can also affect the settlement amount. In Florida, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years. If you wait too long to file a claim, you may not be able to recover any damages.
It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after being injured in an accident.
Type of Case
The personal injury case you have will also impact the settlement amount. For example, cases involving multiple vehicles or commercial trucks can be more complex and may take longer to resolve.
If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and learn more about the damages you may be entitled to recover.
Insurance Coverage Limits
Another factor that may impact the settlement amount is insurance coverage limits. In Florida, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection and property damage liability.
If you are involved in an accident with a driver who only has the minimum coverage, you will not be able to recover more than their policy limit.
This is why it is important to have adequate insurance coverage. You may want to consider purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect yourself in case you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover your damages.
Another factor that may impact the settlement amount is the defendant’s assets. If the person who caused your accident does not have enough insurance to cover your damages, you may be able to recover compensation from their personal assets.
For example, suppose the at-fault driver only has $15,000 in liability coverage, and your damages total $50,000. In that case, you may be able to collect more money through litigation and a money judgment to recover the additional $35,000.
There are specific limitations to collecting compensation from a defendant’s assets. Speak with an attorney who can help you determine the best way to recover the full amount of damages you are entitled to.
Comparative Negligence in Florida
Under the new “greater percentage of fault” system in Florida, a party’s ability to recover damages is significantly impacted by their level of fault. If a party is found to be 50% or less responsible for their harm, they can still recover damages, but the amount they can recover is reduced by their percentage of fault. However, if a party is found to be more than 50% responsible for their own harm, they are completely barred from recovering any damages.
For example, suppose you were in a car accident in Florida and you sustained injuries that resulted in medical bills and lost wages. The accident was caused by a combination of factors, including your own negligence and the other driver’s speeding. If it is found that you were 30% responsible for the accident and the other driver was 70% responsible, you would only be able to recover 70% of the total damages that you suffered. However, if it is determined that you were over 50% responsible for the accident, you would be barred from recovering any damages, even if the other driver was also at fault.
The new “greater percentage of fault” system places a greater burden on injury victims to prove that the other party was primarily responsible for their harm. This is why it is crucial to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help gather evidence and build a strong case on your behalf.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Today for a Free Case Review
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we are committed to fighting for your fair recovery. We strive to help injured individuals and the loved ones of those wrongfully killed, secure the full, fair recovery they are owed. We offer dedicated legal representation for personal injury victims in various cases.
If you feel you have been the victim of an accident through no fault of your own. Our attorneys are prepared to help you navigate the legal process and work toward securing the maximum compensation you are owed. Call (727) 784-8191 or contact us online to get started on receiving maximum compensation for your personal injury case.