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Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages in Florida

economic vs non economic damages

When you suffer a personal injury through someone else’s misconduct, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate, but non-economic damages typically require professional guidance.

Contact us online or call (850) 444-4878 today for a free consultation. Our Pensacola, Florida personal injury lawyers are here to answer any questions you may have about economic and non-economic compensation.

Examples of Economic Damages

Economic damages are easier to calculate because they are direct monetary losses that can be assessed by simply adding up invoices and receipts.

The following are some examples of economic damages:

  • Medical bills;
  • Lost earnings while you were off work;
  • Lost earning capacity, if your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous occupation;
  • Out-of-pocket expenses such as childcare; and
  • Damage to your property.

You can also include other readily countable expenses arising from your accident. Be sure to keep all of your records and receipts because you will need proof of the amount of damages you are claiming.

Examples of Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are difficult to quantify because they are intangible losses that are largely subjective. Unlike economic damages, there won’t be any invoices or receipts for non-economic damages.

Some examples include:

  • Physical pain and suffering;
  • Mental anguish;
  • The psychological aspects of physical disfigurement;
  • Loss of the use of a limb;
  • Loss of consortium (loss of the ability to enjoy sexual relations with your spouse, for example); and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Of course, no amount of money can compensate for these types of losses. No one can give you back your enjoyment of life or magically take away your mental pain.

But financial compensation is all the judicial system has available to compensate a victim for such suffering. The non-economic damages a court awards can sometimes greatly exceed the value of economic damages.

Limitations on the Amount of Economic Vs. Non-Economic Damages

There is generally no formal cap on economic damages. Normally, there is also no limit on the amount of non-economic damages you can receive. One exception is non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims.

In medical malpractice claims, non-economic damages are generally limited to $500,000, although the limit is increased to $1,000,000 under certain conditions (2021 Florida Statutes 766.118 (2)).

Vehicle Accident Claims and PIP Insurance

Florida is a “no-fault” auto insurance state. Generally, this means that if you suffer an injury in an auto accident, you can look to your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance for coverage, regardless of whose fault the accident was.

When it comes to economic damages vs. non-economic damages, the problem with PIP insurance is that it covers only a portion of your economic damages and none of your non-economic damages.

But even under Florida’s “no-fault” system, you can claim against the at-fault driver’s policy for economic and non-economic damages.

How to Calculate Non-Economic Damages

How do you place a monetary value on pain and suffering?

Well, there are certain factors a court looks to when attempting to put a price tag on your pain and suffering.

Factors That Determine the Value of Non-Economic Damages

The amount of non-economic damages you receive takes into account the following factors:

  • The severity of your loss. Someone who suffers constant nightmares after a dog attack might qualify for a large recovery, for example.
  • The length of time the condition endures. Some conditions last for years or even decades.
  • The total effect of the loss on your lifestyle. How does your loss affect your work, school, daily activities, relationship with your spouse, etc.?

Once the severity is determined, there are two main methods of placing a specific dollar value on your loss:

  • The multiplier method: Calculate your non-economic damages as a multiple of your aggregate economic damages. This multiplier typically ranges from 1.5 to 3.
  • The per-diem method: Multiply a daily dollar amount by the number of days the condition persists.

Although it is up to the court to decide which method to use, a persuasive lawyer can help greatly.

Contact Us Today for Help

Many people may have a pretty good idea of the value of their economic damages unless they are suffering from long-term injuries with high anticipated future medical expenses. Fewer people have any idea of the amount of their non-economic damages.

We can help you calculate your economic and non-economic damages and obtain the appropriate compensation from the defendant or their insurance company.

To schedule a free consultation, call Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon any time at (850) 444-4878, or simply visit our online contact page. And remember, you won’t owe us a dime unless we win.