Non-Economic Damages In Florida Personal Injury Cases
When someone is injured in an accident in Florida, and they believe that the negligence or recklessness of another person was the cause, they can usually file a personal injury lawsuit against that person, to try and seek monetary damages for the expenses they have incurred, as well as for the pain and suffering they may have experienced. In this kind of case, two types of damages are available, referred to as economic and non-economic damages, and while economic damages are easily understood, it can sometimes be difficult to determine exactly what your non-economic damages might be. Enlisting an experienced attorney can help.
Economic vs Non-Economic Damages
Economic damages are the direct expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident, such as medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity, as well as “any other economic loss that would not have occurred but for the injury.” In this context, ‘economic’ means tangible and direct – these damages can be quantified, at least to a reasonable degree, and because of that, it is often easier for a court to rationalize awarding these amounts to an injured plaintiff (if, of course, they establish that the defendant should be held liable for the injuries they caused).
Non-economic damages, by comparison, are essentially the harms suffered that are harder to put a price on. Common examples of non-economic damages sought in many personal injury cases include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and loss of consortium (essentially loss of marital relations), among others. While these may be more difficult to quantify, they are very real injuries to a plaintiff who has been seriously injured, and you have the right to seek this kind of damages in court.
Inexact Numbers Happen
If you believe that you have a negligence claim against the person who allegedly caused your injuries, filing suit against them is the only way to recover in most situations. Assessing economic damages you have suffered will be more straightforward than assessing non-economic damage amounts, but it is often quite possible to arrive at an approximation, especially if you use expert witnesses who are well versed in this type of assessment. Do not let the lack of hard numbers intimidate you out of your rights.
Keep in mind that the one situation where injured plaintiffs in Florida may not simply file suit against an allegedly negligent defendant is if their injuries occurred in an automobile accident, and their medical bills total less than $10,000. Florida has a no-fault system for auto insurance, which means that instead of filing lawsuits in most auto accident cases, Floridians will seek reimbursement for their medical bills through the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance they are required to carry. If a plaintiff’s medical bills top $10,000, the tort immunity is lifted and they are allowed to file suit, but only for injuries that meet that threshold.
Contact A Tampa Personal Injury Attorney
Being injured due to someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior can feel like adding insult to injury, and it can sometimes be difficult to even know where to begin seeking compensation for the harm you have suffered. Having a knowledgeable Tampa personal injury attorney on your side can make all the difference, and the Rinaldo Law Group has handled many of these cases over the years. We are happy to try and assist you with yours. Contact us today for a free consultation.