Personal injury cases are not just about recovering from physical injuries; they also involve recovering economic damages that a victim may have suffered as a result of another party’s negligence. Economic damages are expenses or losses that a person incurs as a result of an accident or injury.
Economic damages are usually much easier to quantify than noneconomic damages and can be proven with documentation, such as medical bills to prove medical costs and pay stubs to prove lost wages. Economic damages can be significant, especially if the victim's injuries are severe and require extensive medical treatment or rehabilitation. In Florida personal injury cases, economic damages can play a critical role in determining the amount of compensation a victim ultimately receives.
Types of Economic Damages in Florida
In Florida, economic damages are the monetary losses that a victim experiences because of a personal injury. These damages compensate the victim for expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. In this article, we will discuss the different types of economic damages in Florida personal injury cases.
Medical expenses are one of the most common types of economic damages in Florida personal injury cases. These damages include the cost of medical treatment, such as hospitalization, surgery, medications, physical therapy, and other related expenses.
To prove medical expenses, the victim or their attorney will typically gather all of the medical bills and records associated with the accident. This can include bills from hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers, as well as records of any diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or MRIs.
In addition to past and current medical expenses, the victim may also be entitled to compensation for future medical expenses. This may include the cost of ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, and other medical care that the victim will require as a result of their injuries.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
In addition to medical expenses, victims of personal injury accidents may also suffer financial losses due to lost wages and earning capacity. Lost wages refer to the income that a victim loses as a result of their injuries. This can include wages lost during recovery time, as well as future wages that the victim would have earned if not for their injuries.
Earning capacity refers to the amount of money a victim could have earned in the future if not for their injuries. If a victim's injuries limit their ability to work or perform certain job functions, they may be entitled to compensation for the future income they will lose as a result.
To prove lost wages and earning capacity, victims must provide documentation, such as pay stubs, tax returns, and employment records. Additionally, victims may need to provide expert testimony from vocational rehabilitation specialists or economists to establish the amount of income they have lost and will continue to lose as a result of the injuries they suffered.
In some personal injury cases, the victim may also suffer property damage as a result of the incident at issue. Property damage damages can include the cost of repairing or replacing any property that was damaged in the accident, such as a car or other personal property.
To prove property damage, the victim or their attorney will typically gather estimates for the cost of repairs or replacement of the damaged property. This can include estimates from mechanics, body shops, or other experts who can assess the extent of the damage and the cost of repairs.
Other Economic Damages
In addition to medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and property damage, there are several other types of economic damages that may be awarded in personal injury cases. Other types of economic damages may include:
In wrongful death cases, the victim's family may be entitled to compensation for funeral and burial expenses.
Home Healthcare Costs
If the victim requires home healthcare as a result of their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for the cost of this care.
If the victim requires transportation to medical appointments, they may be entitled to compensation for the cost of this transportation.
If the victim requires rehabilitation as a result of their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for the cost of this rehabilitation.
If the victim is unable to perform household tasks as a result of their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for the cost of hiring someone to perform these tasks.
How to Calculate Economic Damages
Calculating economic damages in personal injury cases can be complex, as victims may incur multiple types of economic damages. To determine the total amount of economic damages a victim has suffered, the court will consider all relevant factors and documentation, such as medical bills, lost wages and pay stubs, property damage estimates and bills, as well as any other financial losses.
In Florida, economic damages are typically awarded based on the amount of money that the victim has lost or will lose as a result of their injuries. For example, if a victim has incurred $10,000 in medical expenses, $5,000 in lost wages, and $5,000 in property damage, the victim has $20,000 in economic damages.
When determining the amount of future economic damages, the court will consider the victim's age, health, and occupation, among other factors. If a victim's injuries are likely to result in long-term or permanent disability, the court may award them compensation for the income they would have earned if not for their injuries.
Keep in mind, Florida law also allows victims to recover noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, disability, scarring, disfigurement, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are not based on a specific dollar amount and can be more challenging to calculate. Noneconomic damages are typically awarded based on the severity of the victim's injuries and the impact they have had on the victim's life.
Factors that Affect Economic Damages
There are several factors that can affect the amount of economic damages a victim can recover in a personal injury case in Florida. These factors may include the following:
The Severity of the Injuries
The more severe a victim's injuries are, the higher their medical expenses and lost wages are likely to be. The severity of the injuries can also affect a victim's future earning capacity, which can impact the amount of economic damages they can recover.
Length of Recovery Time
The length of time a victim needs to recover from their injuries can impact the amount of lost wages they incur. For example, if a victim needs to take several months off work to recover, their lost wages may be higher than if they only needed to take a few days off.
Type of Medical Treatment
The type of medical treatment a victim needs can impact the amount of economic damages they can recover. If a victim requires surgery or other costly medical procedures, their medical expenses may be higher than if they only need medication or physical therapy.
Age and Occupation of the Victim
A victim's age and occupation can impact their future earning capacity, which can affect the amount of economic damages they can recover. For example, if a young person with a high-paying job suffers a permanent disability, their future lost wages may be higher than if an older person with a lower-paying job suffers the same disability.
The amount of insurance coverage that the at-fault party carries can impact the amount of economic damages that a victim can recover. For example, if the at-fault party has minimal insurance coverage and no assets, the victim's economic damages may be limited by the money available to pay for those damages.
If the victim contributed to the accident that caused their injuries, their economic damages may be reduced. Florida follows a pure comparative negligence standard, which means that a victim's damages can be reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident.
The Skill and Experience of the Attorney
The skill and experience of the victim's attorney can impact the amount of economic damages they can recover. An experienced personal injury attorney can help a victim gather the necessary evidence to prove their economic damages and negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party's insurance company.
Overall, there are many factors that can impact the amount of economic damages that a victim can recover in a personal injury case in Florida. Victims should work with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney who can help them navigate the legal system, gather the necessary evidence, and negotiate a fair settlement.
Proving Economic Damages
To get damages, you have to prove them, and to prove economic damages in a Florida personal injury case, you must provide evidence that supports the amount of your losses. The following are some steps that victims can take to prove their economic damages in Florida:
Keep Detailed Records
People should always keep detailed records of all their medical expenses, including bills, receipts, and invoices. They should also keep track of their lost wages by maintaining a record of the days they missed work, the hours they missed, and the amount of income they lost as a result.
Obtain Expert Opinions
Victims may need to obtain expert opinions to prove the reasonableness of their medical expenses or lost wages. For example, they may need a medical expert to testify about the necessity of their medical treatment or a vocational rehabilitation expert to testify about their future earning capacity.
Gather Other Relevant Evidence
Victims should gather other relevant evidence that supports their economic damages, such as repair estimates for property damage or receipts for alternative transportation expenses. They should also document any other financial losses they have suffered, such as the cost of hiring someone to perform household chores.
Provide Evidence of the At Fault Party's Liability
Victims must provide evidence that the at fault party was responsible for their injuries. This may involve gathering police reports, witness statements, camera footage, black box data, or other evidence that shows how the accident occurred.
Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
An experienced personal injury attorney can help victims gather the necessary evidence and present a strong case for economic damages. The attorney can also negotiate with the at fault party's insurance company to ensure that the victim receives fair compensation for their losses.
Do You Need a Team of Florida Personal Injury Attorneys to Guide You to Justice?
If you have been injured and suffered permanent scarring because of the negligence or carelessness of another party, you should speak with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible because you may be entitled to compensation. You can contact us online or you can call our Orlando, Florida law office at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your consultation.
If you need a South Carolina personal injury lawyer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (843) 638-6590. We have at least one lawyer licensed in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.