Calculating the value of your personal injury case can be challenging. Understanding the types of damages you can recover is the first step in knowing how much your case is worth.
Let’s look at the types of damages you can recover for a personal injury claim and how we value those damages.
The Types of Damages You Can Recover After an Accident or Injury
Florida personal injury laws allow individuals injured by another party to seek compensation for damages, including:
- Special damages (economic damages)
- General damages (non-economic damages)
- Punitive damages
- Property damages
Individuals injured in car accidents, slips and falls, and other types of personal injury cases deserve to be compensated fairly for their injuries, financial losses, and other damages.
Insurance companies seek to pay as little as possible to resolve injury claims. A personal injury attorney fights to recover the maximum value of each of the following damages.
Economic Damages After an Accident or Injury
Your economic damages are the out-of-pocket expenses and costs related to the accident and your injury. These types of damages include:
The medical bills after an accident can quickly add up. A catastrophic injury could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatment.
Medical expenses may include:
- Diagnostic tests
- Physicians’ bills
- Emergency room visits and ambulance services
- Medical equipment and medications
- Personal care costs and in-home health care
- Therapies, including vocational, occupational, and physical therapy
You should document all medical expenses and costs to incorporate them into your claim.
Loss of Income and Benefits
You are entitled to reimbursement for your past and future lost wages, benefits, and other forms of income. In addition, you can claim compensation after a reduction in earning capacity due to a permanent impairment.
Other Financial or Economic Losses
You may also seek reimbursement for other financial losses such as:
- Travel expenses to and from doctor’s appointments
- Household services, such as lawn mowing, cleaning, running errands, etc.
- Medical devices to assist you with daily living
- Modifications to your home or vehicle because of a permanent disability
You need to prove that you paid for the costs to include them in your accident claim. Bills, invoices, and receipts need to include detailed information, such as the date of service, fee, and description of the service.
Non-Economic Damages After an Accident or Injury
An accident victim may suffer physically and mentally after an accident. Non-economic damages represent non-tangible, non-financial damages caused by an accident or injury.
Examples of the damages included in this category include:
Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish
An accident victim may experience anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, nightmares, fear, and other emotional and mental disorders after an accident. In addition, the stress of dealing with injuries, medical bills, lost income, insurance adjusters, and other matters can be overwhelming.
Physical Pain and Suffering
Injuries can cause chronic pain and discomfort. Even a mild injury could cause debilitating pain.
The pain can last a few weeks or months. However, in some cases, an accident victim could experience physical pain for years following an accident.
Loss of Consortium
An accident victim’s spouse may be eligible to file a loss of consortium claim. The claim seeks compensation for various damages the non-injured spouse sustains because of their partner’s injuries.
Loss of consortium includes the loss of:
- Love and affection
- Ability to conceive a child
- Guidance and support
Loss of consortium damages are paid to the accident victim’s spouse.
Disfigurement and Impairments
You may also recover compensation for impairments, disabilities, and disfigurements caused by the accident. Victims often experience a loss of enjoyment of life or decreased quality of life because of their accident injuries. They deserve to be compensated for these losses.
Punitive Damages in a Florida Personal Injury Claim
Punitive damages are rare in personal injury cases. A jury must find that the defendant’s misconduct was grossly negligent or intentional. Gross negligence is conduct that is so reckless that it represents a conscious disregard for the safety of other people.
Property Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Property damages are separate from personal injury claims. A property damage claim compensates a victim for damage to property after an accident, such as a car or motorcycle accident.
The value of the property damage claim is based on the total cost of repairs or the fair market value of the item if the item is beyond repair.
Calculating the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim
Determining how much your personal injury claim is worth begins with totaling your economic damages. The value of your economic damages is the sum of each damage. You need proof of the expense or financial loss to include the item in your total economic losses.
Valuing non-economic damages is more complicated. There is no specific formula or method for valuing the pain and suffering a person experiences after an accident. However, the multiplier method is a commonly accepted way to value economic damages.
A figure between 1.5 and five is chosen based on the facts of the case. Generally, the more significant the person’s injuries, the higher the number. That number is multiplied by the total amount of economic damages to calculate the value of pain and suffering damages.
Florida laws restrict (or “cap”) the amount of money a person may receive for punitive damages in a personal injury case. Except in specific circumstances, you can only recover $500,000 or three times the amount of your compensatory damages, whichever amount is higher.
Factors That Impact the Value of a Personal Injury Claim
Each personal injury case is unique. The facts and circumstances of the case impact how much a personal injury case is worth.
Some factors that impact the value of your injury claim include:
- The extent of your injuries
- Whether you sustained a permanent disability
- The duration of your recovery
- The value of your economic losses
- The availability of insurance coverage
- The parties involved in the case
- Allegations of comparative negligence
Comparative negligence can have a significant impact on the value of your claim. Under Florida’s comparative fault laws, the value of your damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault you have for the accident or your injury.
In other words, if you are partially responsible for causing a car crash, you cannot recover the total amount of your damages. For example, if a jury finds that you are 40 percent at fault for the cause of a truck accident, you can only receive 60 percent of the value of your damages.
Contact Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Our experienced personal injury lawyers in Tampa offer a free consultation for accident victims and their families. At Catania & Catania personal injury you can learn more about how much your case is worth and filing a personal injury lawsuit to protect your right to fair compensation for damages.