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Florida Law: Economic Vs. Non-Economic Damages
Sustaining a personal injury caused by someone else’s wrongdoing can be a traumatic and life-altering experience. Not only do you have to deal with physical pain and emotional distress, but you may also face financial burdens such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Fortunately, if you are in this kind of situation, you may be entitled to compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers at Mickey Keenan P.A. will explain what you need to know about seeking both economic and non-economic damages after an accident or incident that causes harm.
What Are Economic Damages?
Economic damages refer to the monetary losses incurred by an individual as a result of a personal injury caused by someone else’s negligence.
These losses can include:
- Medical bills such as hospitalization costs, doctor visits, medication expenses, and rehabilitation fees.
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Childcare costs
- Other expenses directly related to the injury.
Personal injury lawyers play an instrumental role in helping their clients recover economic damages.
Your lawyer can help calculate these costs and present them during legal proceedings or when negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of their clients.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
In essence, non-economic damages refer to any harm suffered by an individual that is not tied directly to a financial loss.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Loss of consortium (the impact that an injury has on one’s relationship with their spouse or partner)
These types of harm can be difficult to quantify in terms of monetary value but are still significant losses that should be compensated for in a personal injury case.
Is There a Limit on Damages I Can Claim?
In Florida, personal injury lawsuits can often result in significant settlements or verdicts. However, the amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover is limited by law.
- There is no cap on the amount of economic damages that a plaintiff can recover in the state of Florida.
- In Florida, non-economic damages are limited by statute. The current limit on non-economic damages in personal injury cases is $500,000 per claimant. However, this limit can be raised to $1 million if the case involves catastrophic injuries such as paralysis or permanent disability. Additionally, there is a cap of $1 million in wrongful death cases where there are no surviving children or spouses.
How Does PIP Insurance Come into Play?
In Florida, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is mandatory for all drivers since it is a “no-fault” state. However, one problem with PIP insurance is that it only covers a portion of your economic damages following an accident.
PIP insurance provides coverage up to $10,000 for medical bills and lost wages related to a car accident.
This amount may not be sufficient to fully cover all expenses related to serious injuries sustained in an accident or long-term effects on an individual’s earning capacity.
However, even in Florida’s “no-fault” system, you can file a claim for economic and non-economic damages against the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage with the help of an attorney.
Calculating Non-Economic Damages
Calculating non-economic damages can be a daunting task for both plaintiffs and lawyers alike. There is no set formula for determining a fair amount of compensation for these losses.
Generally, a jury will consider the following factors:
- How serious the loss was. For instance, a person who experiences frequent nightmares or PTSD following a car accident may be eligible for a sizable recovery.
- The condition’s duration in time. Some health issues persist for many years or even decades.
- The overall impact of the loss on a person’s way of life. How does the loss impact their regular activities, such as work and school, their connection with their spouse, and so on?
There are two basic ways to assign a specific monetary value to your loss once the severity has been determined:
- The multiplier method involves multiplying your total economic damages by your non-economic damages. Typically, this multiplier falls between 1.5 and 3.
- The per-diem method involves dividing the number of days the ailment lasts by a daily dollar sum.
While it is ultimately up to a judge or jury to decide which method to use, having a skilled personal injury attorney on your side can greatly increase your chances of receiving fair compensation.
Your Fight is Our Fight
Our personal injury lawyers are aware of the negative effects an accident can have on your physical health, mental health, and financial situation. That’s why we are dedicated to fighting for your rights and securing the compensation you deserve. We have a deep understanding of personal injury law and will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive both economic and non-economic damages.
With our experienced team on your side, you can focus on healing while we handle the legal process. Don’t wait to get the justice you’re entitled to—contact us today to schedule a consultation.