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What Is The Difference Between Economic and Non-Economic Damages?

on  Personal Injury

You’re driving down a busy road in Florida, minding your own business, when suddenly, out of nowhere, another vehicle collides with yours. The impact is jarring, and your life takes an unexpected turn within seconds. You suffer injuries that require medical attention, you’re unable to work, and the pain and suffering seem never-ending. Sound familiar?

In the aftermath of an accident in Florida, it’s essential to understand the legal concept of damages and how they can provide some measure of compensation for the harm you’ve endured. 

There are two primary types of damages in Florida: economic and non-economic. Understanding the difference between economic and non-economic damages is crucial for anyone hurt in an accident in Florida. It gives you a clearer picture of the compensation you may be entitled to and helps you build a strong case to seek appropriate recompense for your injuries.

Understanding Economic Damages After a Florida Accident

Economic damages encompass tangible financial losses resulting from the accident. These damages are relatively straightforward to quantify as they are based on actual expenses and the future financial impact the incident has on your life. They’re tangible losses that you can gather evidence to support.

In Florida, injured accident victims can seek compensation for all economic damages, including past, present, and future expenses. Your Florida personal injury attorney will calculate your economic damages based on actual expenses you’ve already incurred, as well as the future financial impact of your injuries and disabilities. 

Some of the examples of economic damages include:

  • Medical Expenses: Following an accident, you may require immediate medical attention, ongoing treatments, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, or rehabilitation services. Economic damages include all medical costs associated with diagnosing, treating, and recovering from injuries. It covers hospital bills, doctor consultations, prescription medications, surgeries, medical equipment, and other related expenses.
  • Property Damage: If your personal property, such as your vehicle, was damaged or destroyed in the accident, economic damages can help cover the costs of repairing or replacing the damaged property. This includes the expenses associated with repairing your vehicle, as well as any other personal belongings that were damaged in the incident.
  • Lost Wages and Earning Capacity: If your injuries prevent you from working or earning income, economic damages can compensate you for lost wages, benefits, and income. This includes both the immediate impact of missed work and potential future earnings that may be affected by long-term disabilities resulting from the accident.
  • Rehabilitation Costs: In some cases, injuries sustained in an accident may require extensive rehabilitation to regain functionality or improve your quality of life. Economic damages cover the costs of rehabilitation services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, or vocational training necessary for your recovery and return to normal activities.
  • Funeral Expenses (in wrongful death cases): In tragic cases where an accident leads to the loss of a loved one, economic damages can provide compensation for funeral and burial expenses. These costs may include funeral home services, cemetery fees, cremation or embalming expenses, and other related costs incurred as a result of the wrongful death.

Calculating Economic Damages

When calculating economic damages, your personal injury legal team will examine your expenses and the future medical costs you’ll endure. They’ll also need to gather the evidence to support your claims so that you can receive compensation for all of your economic damages. 

  • Present and Future Medical Costs: This includes all costs associated with medical treatment, such as hospital bills, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation services, and ongoing therapies. Your attorney will work with your medical team to fully understand how your injuries will impact your life and future. All expenses must be taken into account. 
  • Documentation and Evidence Required: When calculating your damages, your legal team must provide thorough documentation and evidence of your financial losses. This includes collecting and organizing all relevant documents, such as medical bills, pharmacy receipts, rehabilitation invoices, receipts for assistive devices or modifications, and any other expenses directly related to your injuries. Additionally, documentation of lost wages, including pay stubs, tax records, or statements from your employer, can help establish your lost wages and loss of future earnings. 
  • Expert Testimony and Analysis: Experts, such as medical professionals or vocational specialists, can provide professional opinions and assessments of your medical condition, treatment needs, future medical costs, and the impact of the injuries on your ability to work and earn income. Their expertise and testimony will strengthen your case and help the court or insurance company understand the economic damages you have suffered.

Non-Economic Damages After a Florida Accident

Non-economic damages are the intangible losses you’ve endured. Unlike economic damages, these losses don’t have a precise monetary value attached to them. Non-economic damages are subjective and often challenging to quantify, as they encompass pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the accident.

Your lawyer will need to put a value on the amount of pain and suffering you endured. This is difficult, and insurance companies often challenge the true value of non-economic damages after a Florida accident. 

  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Sleep loss and Nightmares
  • Irritability and Mood Swings
  • Panic Attacks
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Loss of Enjoyment in Life

Calculating Non-economic Damages

Assigning a monetary value to these losses is a complex task, and it often requires careful consideration of various factors, including the severity and permanence of the injuries, the impact on daily life, and expert testimony or personal narratives to convey the extent of the harm suffered.

Insurance companies will want to downplay the pain and suffering you endured. With a personal injury lawyer on your side, you can fight back and gather the evidence needed to show how the accident impacted your life and your well-being. 

To ensure that non-economic damages are appropriately calculated and awarded, working with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney is crucial. Hiring a personal injury attorney is the best way to maximize your compensation for the non-economic losses you have endured.

When gathering evidence and calculating non-economic damages, your attorney will investigate the severity of your injuries and the overall impact those injuries have had on your life and your future. 

The severity of your injuries and their impact on your daily life are significant factors in calculating non-economic damages. The more severe and debilitating your injuries, the greater the potential compensation. Factors such as the pain level experienced, the extent of physical limitations or disfigurement, and the disruption of your normal activities are considered when calculating non-economic damages. 

Your Florida personal injury attorney will also work with your medical team to evaluate whether your injuries are temporary or permanent. If your injuries result in long-lasting or permanent effects, such as chronic pain, disability, or emotional trauma, the potential compensation for non-economic damages may be higher. 

When calculating non-economic damages, your attorney must gather proof to show judges, juries, and insurers how your injuries have impacted your life. Expert witnesses, such as medical or mental health experts, can provide objective opinions on your injuries’ severity and long-term consequences. Their testimony can help the court or jury understand the non-economic impact of the accident on your physical and emotional well-being. Personal narratives, including your own testimony and statements from loved ones, can provide firsthand accounts of the pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life you have experienced.

How Can a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Help With Damages After an Accident?

Determining the true value of economic and non-economic damages requires a comprehensive evaluation of the facts, evidence, and applicable laws. A skilled Florida personal injury lawyer can assess the extent of your tangible and intangible losses and calculate a fair and reasonable compensation amount. They can help ensure no potential damages are overlooked, increasing your chances of receiving appropriate compensation.

Your attorney will also know what evidence is crucial and how to gather it effectively. They can work with investigators, gather medical records, obtain expert opinions, and interview witnesses to strengthen your case. Additionally, they can persuasively present the evidence to maximize the likelihood of winning maximum compensation.

Contact Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers

At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA, our experienced team of Florida personal injury attorneys is dedicated to protecting the rights of accident victims like you. We understand the Florida law, including the nuances of economic and non-economic damages, and we are committed to fighting for the compensation you deserve.

Your focus should be on healing and rebuilding your life. Let us handle the legal aspects, providing you with the peace of mind and support you need during this challenging time. Together, we will pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.

Call Prosper Shaked at (305) 694-2676 for a free case evaluation. Together we can seek justice and get you the compensation you need – and deserve.