What Are Economic Damages?

Economic damages are one of the two common types of damages awarded in personal injury cases.

Non-economic damages are the other type of damages in an injury case, including emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and physical pain and suffering. Economic damages are the monetary losses associated with the accident or injury.

Examples of Economic Damages in a Florida Personal Injury Case

When you are injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or by medical malpractice, you can incur numerous financial losses. 

Examples of economic damages include:

  • Property damages
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Cost of personal health care aids at home
  • Travel expenses to and from physician appointments 
  • Physical, occupational, and vocational therapies
  • Emotional counseling 
  • Cost of medical equipment and medical supplies

Documenting damages is extremely important. You must have evidence of your expenses to include them as an economic loss. Keeping copies of all receipts, invoices, and bills is crucial. 

Awarding Future Damages for Permanent Impairments

If you sustain permanent impairments or disabilities because of an injury, you could be entitled to future damages. For example, you might incur future medical bills because of a spinal cord injury or brain injury. Your economic damages may include future medical treatments and medical expenses. 

You could require 24/7 personal care or long-term assisted living care. The cost of that care could be staggering.

Additionally, you may have future lost earning potential or future loss of income. Over a lifetime, a person could lose millions of dollars of income because of a disability caused by an accident.

Obtaining maximum compensation for economic damages is essential to ensure you have the funds to pay for needed care and living expenses. 

Calculating Future Economic Damages 

It is more challenging to calculate future economic damages. There is not a bill for future care because the care could vary depending on numerous variables. Therefore, medical experts are consulted.

The medical experts provide a detailed report of the extent of your injuries and the projected care you will need because of the disability. That report can be used to estimate the cost of future care.

Financial experts are retained to estimate the loss of future income.

 Several factors may be considered when estimating future loss of income:

  • Your age 
  • Expected age of retirement
  • Education 
  • Special skills or training
  • Experience 
  • Career field 

Financial experts and economists use these factors to estimate how much money you would have earned had you not been injured.

Is There a Cap on Economic Damages in Florida?

Florida lawmakers attempted to place a cap on non-economic damages, but Florida courts found that the cap was unconstitutional. 

There has never been a cap placed on economic damages. 

You can receive 100 percent of your financial losses in a personal injury claim. However, you must prove that your expenses were reasonable and related directly to the accident or injury. Other factors, such as shared fault, could impact how much you receive.

For example, suppose you are partially to blame for the cause of your injury. In that case, your recovery could be reduced by the percentage of responsibility you have for the cause of the accident. The amount of money you recover could also be impacted by the amount of insurance available to cover your claim. If the at-fault party does not have sufficient insurance coverage, you could receive less than your claim is worth. 

Should I Accept a Settlement Agreement for My Accident Claim?

The insurance company for the other party may offer you a settlement agreement early in the case. It is not in your best interest to settle your claim before you complete your medical treatment. Your doctor cannot give you an accurate prognosis until you reach maximum medical improvement. 

Maximum medical improvement is the point at which no further treatment will improve your condition.

You could recover entirely from your injuries, or you could have a permanent impairment or disability. If you sustain a disability or impairment, the value of your injury claim should increase.

Accepting a settlement offer too early could result in a much lower recovery amount. If you are unsure whether the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair, you can seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer. 

Once you sign the settlement agreement, you give up your right to demand more money. Settlement agreements usually cover all known and unknown damages and claims. Therefore, even if you discover more damages, you gave up the right to demand money by accepting the settlement offer.

Contact Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation 

Do you have questions about damages and settlement agreements for a personal injury claim? Our Florida personal injury attorneys review your case free of charge. Get the facts about your case before you decide how to proceed with your injury case.