If you’ve been injured in an accident in Florida, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Monetary compensation in a Florida personal injury case is known as damages.
Damages can be separated into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are losses with a direct financial value, while non-economic damages relate to non-financial losses. In this article, we discuss economic damages.
What Are Economic Damages in Florida?
Economic damages are objectively verifiable monetary losses that a plaintiff suffers due to an accident. Economic damages are distinct from non-economic damages, which cover an injury victim’s personal losses, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of consortium/companionship.
Common Types of Economic Damages in Florida
As detailed below, there are several types of economic damages in Florida. However, this list is not exhaustive, as virtually any monetary loss directly resulting from an accident can qualify as an economic damage.
Medical expenses are a common type of economic damage in Florida. In fact, medical bills usually make up the largest portion of the financial compensation a plaintiff receives in a personal injury lawsuit.
Medical expenses can include diagnostic visits, follow-up appointments, medications, treatments, surgeries, mobility equipment, physical therapy, and more.
Lost Wages and Income
A serious injury can prevent an accident victim from working—sometimes permanently. When this is the case, the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit must compensate the victim for their lost wages. In addition, if an injury victim’s future earning capacity is impacted, the court will take this into account when arriving at a compensation amount.
Property Damage and Repair
An accident can affect more than a victim’s body; it can also damage their property. Car crashes, for example, almost always result in property damage. A defendant who is liable for a plaintiff’s accident will ordinarily be required to compensate the victim for any resulting property damage.
Out-of-Pocket Costs, Such As Transportation Expenses
A serious accident often results in significant transportation expenses. For example, in addition to frequent local hospital visits, accident victims sometimes must travel out of state to receive special medical treatments and surgeries.
Therefore, defendants in personal injury cases are routinely ordered to compensate victims for the cost of travel related to their injuries.
The defendant may also be ordered to pay other out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the plaintiff, including bills that weren’t covered by insurance.
Home and Vehicle Renovations
Some injuries leave victims with permanent cognitive and mobility limitations. Others, although not permanent, take a long time to recover from. In such cases, it’s not uncommon for victims to have to renovate their homes and vehicles to account for their newfound limitations.
From widened doorways to wheelchair ramps, courts often require negligent defendants to compensate plaintiffs for the costs of such renovations.
What Is the Deadline to Pursue Economic Damages in Florida?
Although a person injured in an accident may be entitled to damages, there are strict deadlines regarding when a person must file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida. These deadlines are commonly called statutes of limitation.
The time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida is generally four years from the date of the accident. However, the time limit for wrongful death cases is typically two years.
Obtaining Economic Damages in a Florida Personal Injury Case
The plaintiff must win their case to obtain damages in a personal injury lawsuit in Florida. Most personal injury lawsuits are brought under a theory of negligence.
To succeed in a personal injury case based on negligence, the plaintiff must prove the following elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of reasonable care
- The defendant breached their duty to the plaintiff
- This breach caused the plaintiff’s injury
- The plaintiff suffered damages
The plaintiff has the burden of proving these four elements by a preponderance of the evidence.
Calculating Economic Damages
Calculating damages is a complicated process. In a personal injury case, the jury receives instructions on how to calculate the damages owed to the plaintiff.
Typically, the jury calculates damages to compensate an injured party for any loss they have suffered or are reasonably certain to incur in the future. To arrive at a number, however, the injured party’s attorney must present detailed evidence of the harm suffered by the plaintiff. This may include evidence like bills, receipts, paystubs, and more.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer For Help Calculating Your Non-Economic and Economic Damages
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you need an aggressive Florida personal injury attorney in your corner. An experienced attorney from Winters and Yonker, P.A. will help you obtain the money you deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.