A Guide to Personal Injury Compensation
By Space Coast Daily // July 5, 2022
If you have been involved in an accident, you may be wondering who will pay for the expenses related to your accident. Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyers, Fasig | Brooks advises that you speak to an attorney about your case. Under Florida state personal injury laws, you have up to four years to file your claim to recover damages.
Types of Damages
Economic, non-economic, and punitive damages are the three types of damages you could recover in a personal injury case.
Economic damages compensate you for your financial losses. Most of your economic damages may stem from your medical expenses and your lost wages. Economic damages are intended to compensate for all your medical expenses, including your hospitalization, surgeries, diagnostic tests, medications, follow-up visits, assistive medical devices, and rehabilitation sessions with a physical therapist.
Your lost wages can also make up a significant portion of your economic damages. You can be compensated for the time you have missed from work, but you can also be compensated for your future lost earnings if you will not be able to return to your job in the near future. You should speak to an attorney if your injuries prevent you from returning to the same career field, and you will need to go back to school or find another way to start a new career.
Economic damages also compensate you for other out-of-pocket expenses. If you were in a car accident, then you can claim the cost to repair or replace your vehicle and public transportation costs. If your injuries prevent you from caring for your children or managing your household, then you can file a claim for the value of domestic services. If you need childcare since your accident, then those expenses can also be compensated.
Noneconomic damages include pain and suffering. The law recognizes that when a person is injured, they don’t just suffer financial losses. Intangible, non-monetary losses such as emotional distress, mental anguish, and anxiety burden victims of accidents. Non-economic damages also compensate a victim for traumatic, permanent injuries such as facial disfigurement, an amputated limb, the loss of a sense (e.g., sight or hearing), paralysis, and incontinence.
Although punitive damages are rarely awarded, they can be ordered by the court in cases where the defendant showed an egregious lack of consideration for human life and safety. Punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant and serve as a deterrent to the behavior that caused the accident. For example, punitive damages can be awarded in a drunk driving case.
Drivers owe each other a duty of care when behind the wheel, but a drunk driver displays wanton recklessness and disregard for other road users. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you recover punitive damages if they are applicable in your case.
How Your Settlement Is Calculated
Although the insurance company will not tell you exactly how they calculate your settlement, a general guideline is often used to determine settlement amounts. It is called the multiplier method, and it is based on the severity of your physical injuries and suffering. All of your economic damages are summed together to reach the total amount of your financial losses. Then, that number is multiplied by a number between 1.5 and five. The more severe the injuries and suffering, the higher the number.
Let’s say that a man was driving to work at the same time that a drowsy driver was leaving their overnight shift. The drowsy driver veers from their lane and causes a head-on collision.
The man suffers multiple deep cuts and bruises and traumatic brain injuries. He is hospitalized for several weeks and then begins physical rehabilitation since his brain injuries have affected his body. He used to work at a computer most of the day, but his TBI prevents him from staring at a screen for long before a migraine sets in.
The injury has been a major burden on his marriage. Anxiety over his injury claim keeps him from getting adequate sleep at night. Because the accident has negatively impacted his life and physical abilities, his multiplier could be as high as four or five. If the total amount of his economic damages was $125,000, then he can receive a settlement amount between $500,000 and $625,000, depending on his multiplier.