What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Damages compensate injury victims for the losses sustained because of an accident or personal injury. Personal injury claims may be filed for a car accident case, medical malpractice case, and many other situations arising from negligence or wrongdoing. Family members can seek compensation for wrongful death.
Generally, there are two types of damages individuals can recover in personal injury cases. Economic damages include the injury victim’s monetary losses, such as lost wages and medical bills. Non-economic damages represent the pain and suffering a person experiences because of an accident or injury.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages are more commonly referred to as “pain and suffering” damages. The suffering a person experiences because of an accident or injury is just as real as the medical expenses and other financial losses incurred because of the injury.
When a person is injured, they experience physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish. They deserve to be compensated for their pain and suffering. However, convincing an insurance company to pay for subjective damages can be a complicated process.
Examples of Non-Economic Damages
There are several types of non-economic damages.
Common damages included in this category include:
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Psychological damages, depression, anxiety, and PTSD
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduced capacity to enjoy life
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
- Decreases in quality of life
Family members may also experience a loss of consortium. A loss of consortium compensates family members for being deprived of the benefits of a family relationship, including intimate relations with a spouse. The family members may file a separate claim for compensation for loss of consortium.
Why Are Non-Economic Damages Important in a Personal Injury Case?
Slip and fall accidents, nursing home abuse, defective products, and other accidents can cause traumatic injuries. The injuries may result in debilitating impairments and disabilities. The cost of health care and personal care for a permanent disability could total millions of dollars over a person’s lifetime.
Additionally, the person’s quality of life may significantly change because of the impairment. A person may be unable to work, care for themselves, or care for their family. They may be unable to participate in the same activities and hobbies they did before the accident.
Therefore, documenting pain and suffering damages is extremely important. The damages awarded for non-economic damages are intended to bring the person as close to “whole” as possible. “Whole” would be the state the person was in before the accident.
While it might be impossible to undo the damage caused by an accident, a monetary award for non-economic damages can provide the care and treatment you need after an injury. An award for damages can also help provide for your financial needs if you are unable to work.
Is There a Cap on Non-Economic Damages in Florida?
Tort reform in Florida lifted the cap on non-economic damages. By statute, the amount of money you could receive for pain and suffering damages was limited. The courts in Florida have ruled that the cap on non-economic damages was unconstitutional.
Therefore, there is no cap on the amount of money you can receive for non-economic damages. However, recovering maximum compensation for pain and suffering damages can be challenging. There is no standard formula for calculating pain and suffering damages.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages?
Several factors impact the amount of money you receive for pain and suffering damages. Factors that could impact the value of your claim include:
- The type of your injury
- Whether you sustained permanent impairments or disabilities
- The total of your economic damages
- How long you spend recovering from your injuries
- Whether you were partially at fault for the cause of your injury
- The strength of the evidence of negligence against the other party
- The availability of insurance coverage for the claim
In most cases, if you sustain a catastrophic injury or permanent impairment, the value of your claim increases. However, if you are partially to blame for the cause of your accident or the evidence is not strong, the value of your claim could decrease.
One of the most common ways of calculating non-economic damages is the multiplier method. A number between 1.5 and five is chosen based on factors like the ones above. The insurance company argues for the lowest figure, while personal injury lawyers advocate for the highest amount.
The number agreed upon between the parties is multiplied by the total of your economic losses. The result is the value of your pain and suffering damages. Your lawyer can help you document damages and aggressively argue for maximum compensation.
Contact Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Our personal injury lawyers review your case free of charge and provide an assessment of your legal options. You do not need to deal with the stress and frustration of a personal injury case alone. Our legal team can handle every aspect of your case as we fight for maximum compensation for all damages.