Types of Damages Available in Personal Injury Cases
Sustaining an injury because of another person’s actions can be a traumatic experience. After the accident, you must deal with your physical injuries and financial losses. You must also deal with insurance adjusters as you try to recover compensation for your losses and injuries.
The claims process can be frustrating, especially when you are not familiar with the process or the types of damages available in personal injury cases.
Trying to calculate how much a personal injury claim is worth can be complicated. If you have questions, you might want to seek legal advice before settling your claim. Once you settle a personal injury claim, you cannot demand more money for your injuries.
Even if you discover you were underpaid or have injuries and damages you were not aware of when you settled the case, you released the parties from further liability when you signed the settlement agreement.
Before you settle your personal injury claim, make sure that you receive compensation for all types of damages available in a personal injury case.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in Personal Injury Cases?
A personal injury claim can arise from a variety of situations. Personal injury cases can involve car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, defective products, dog bites, and countless other situations. The following damages are generally available in most personal injury cases.
Economic Damages in Florida Personal Injury Cases
You may incur a variety of financial losses because of an injury caused by another party. Your financial losses are considered economic damages. Examples of economic damages in a personal injury case include:
Loss of Income
Many accident victims miss time from work because of the accident and their injuries. When you file a personal injury claim, you can include any loss of income you incurred. Loss of income can include salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, benefits, and other forms of income.
You must have proof of your loss of income and proof of your income before the accident. Your employer can provide copies of your pay history and a statement for your missed time from work.
Cost of Medical Treatment
Depending on the type of your injuries, the cost of medical treatment could be expensive. The cost of all reasonable and necessary medical care can be included in your personal injury claim. Examples of medical expenses included in a personal injury claim are:
- Physicians’ bills
- Hospital and emergency room costs
- Transport in an ambulance
- Physical therapy and other types of therapy, such as occupational and vocational therapy
- Counseling and therapy for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other psychological conditions
- In-home health care or personal care
- Medications, medical equipment, and medical supplies
Your medical records will contain some of the documentation needed to prove medical expenses. However, you should also keep all receipts for over-the-counter medications or supplies to ensure you receive reimbursement for all medical expenses.
Future Economic Damages
If you sustain a permanent impairment, such as paralysis, an amputation, or brain damage, you could be entitled to future economic damages. If you cannot work because of a permanent impairment, you could receive compensation for future loss of income. If your impairment prevents you from earning the same pay level, you could receive compensation for a decrease in earning potential.
You may also receive compensation for ongoing medical care and personal care.
Other Financial Damages
Some individuals incur other financial damages because of an injury. Travel expenses to and from doctor’s visits and help with childcare or household chores might be included in a claim. If you must modify your home or car because of an impairment, you might be able to include that expense.
You must have proof of the expenses. Keep copies of all bills and invoices, as well as receipts and proof of payment.
Non- Economic Damages in Florida Personal Injury Cases
In addition to the financial losses caused by your injury, you also experience mental anguish, physical pain, and other non-economic damages. These “pain and suffering” damages can be included in a personal injury claim.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Disabilities and permanent impairments
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and trauma
- Emotional distress
- Anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other psychological conditions
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Inconvenience and stress
The amount of money you might receive for non-economic damages depends on several factors. The type and severity of your injury impact the value of your pain and suffering damages. Injuries that are more severe or cause permanent impairments generally increase the value of non-economic damages.
Calculating how much your pain and suffering damages are worth can be difficult. There is not a specific formula you can use. However, many insurance companies, personal injury attorneys, and juries use the multiplier method to value non-economic damages.
A number, usually between 1.5 and five, is assigned to the claim based on your injuries and other factors. That number is multiplied by the total of your economic damages to calculate the value of your non-economic damages.
Punitive Damages in Florida Personal Injury Cases
Punitive damages are awarded in a very small number of personal injury cases. These damages are only applicable when the at-fault party was guilty of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. When awarded, there is a cap on the amount of punitive damages a defendant may be ordered to pay.
An Important Note About Car Accident Claims
Florida is a no-fault insurance state for car accidents. Motorists are not required to carry liability insurance, but they must purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Motorcyclists are not subject to no-fault insurance laws.
Under Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, motorists injured in car accidents file insurance claims with their PIP insurance providers. It does not matter who caused the accident – PIP insurance pays benefits to the injured driver.
However, PIP coverage only pays a portion of your medical bills and lost wages. It does not reimburse you for all of these expenses. You must also seek medical care within 14 days of the accident and meet other requirements to receive benefits.
PIP insurance does not compensate you for other damages, including pain, suffering, and permanent disabilities.
However, if you meet the serious injury threshold, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. You can then seek compensation for the damages discussed above that are not covered by PIP insurance.
Call Our Florida Personal Injury Attorneys
You deserve to be compensated for your damages when another party causes you harm and injury. You deserve to have your medical bills paid, your lost wages reimbursed, and your pain and suffering compensated. However, insurance companies are not interested in paying full compensation.
A Florida personal injury attorney can review your claim during a free consultation. You can ask questions and get the information you need to decide how to proceed. Having as much information as possible about a personal injury claim allows you to make the best decision for you and your family after a tragic injury turned your life upside down.