You may sustain considerable damages when injured in a car accident, fall, or other personal injury incidents. Your damages may include monetary losses and physical injuries. You may also suffer overwhelming emotional and mental distress.
If another party caused your injuries through negligence, intentional acts, or other wrongdoing, you might be entitled to compensation for your damages. However, you may need to work with an experienced Fort Walton Beach personal injury lawyer to prove fault and liability before you can recover any money for your claim.
Generally, personal injury damages fall into one of three categories. Let’s look at each category in more detail to understand what types of damages you could claim if another party injures you.
Economic Damages (“Special Damages”)
Economic damages are the first of two types of compensatory damages awarded in a personal injury case. Compensatory damages “compensate” you for actual losses or harm you experience because of another person’s negligence or wrongdoing. These damages represent the financial losses related to the accident and your personal injuries.
Examples of economic losses can be broken down into several categories, including:
Cost of Diagnosis and Treatment of Injuries
The cost of treating accident injuries can be substantial. Depending on the type of injury you sustain, you may have damages that include:
- Medical expenses for emergency care
- Medical bills for diagnostic tests and examinations
- Bills for surgeons, physicians, therapists, and specialists
- Prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, medical supplies, and medical equipment
- Diagnostic and lab tests
- Hospitalizations and surgeries
Even though it may be costly, seeking immediate medical care after an accident is essential. What might appear as a minor injury could quickly develop into a life-threatening condition.
Furthermore, delays in medical care can hurt your injury claim. For example, the insurance company may allege that the accident did not cause your injury because you waited for weeks after the accident to see a doctor.
Loss of Income
If you cannot work because of your accident injuries, you could be entitled to compensation for loss of income. A loss of income claim may include items such as, but not be limited to:
- Hourly wages
- Overtime compensation
- Paid vacation time
- Loss of earnings from self-employment
- Earned sick time or PTO
In addition to past and present loss of income, you could be entitled to future lost wages and decreases in earning potential if you sustained a permanent impairment that impacts your ability to work.
In most cases, your doctor must provide a statement explaining the extent of your injuries and how your injuries prevent you from performing work tasks.
Out-Of-Pocket or Miscellaneous Expenses
Lost wages and medical bills generally are the most considerable portion of a claim for economic damages. However, you may have other expenses related to your injury included in your claim as economic damages.
Examples of out-of-pocket expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Mileage and travel cost to medical appointments
- Assistance in performing activities of daily living and personal care tasks
- Paying someone to help you with childcare or household chores
- Installing a wheelchair ramp and other modifications because of a permanent disability
Make sure to keep detailed records of all expenses, including bills, invoices, and receipts. You must have proof of the expenses before recovering money for these damages.
Non-Economic Damages (“General Damages”)
Non-economic damages, also called “pain and suffering” damages, are another type of compensatory damage. These damages represent the suffering and pain you experience because of an accident or injury.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Emotional distress
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Anxiety and embarrassment
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Reductions in your quality of life or enjoyment of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
These damages can be just as debilitating and harmful for accident victims as financial damages.
Some victims may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic anxiety, and clinical depression after an accident or injury. Severe cases could result in the inability to work or function in normal daily activities. A victim may require intensive therapy to overcome the emotional damages caused by an accident and injury.
Punitive Damages (“Exemplary Damages”)
Punitive damages are a special type of damage awarded in select cases. Instead of compensating the victim for losses, punitive damages “punish” a defendant for egregious conduct.
Florida laws explain that punitive damages may only be ordered in cases where the defendant is grossly negligent or intentionally malicious. Furthermore, the jury must find that the plaintiff proved the elements required for an award of punitive damages by clear and convincing evidence, which is a higher standard of proof than general damages.
Under Florida law, there is a cap on punitive damages. An award cannot exceed three times the compensatory damages or $500,000. However, some exceptions apply to cases involving intentional harm to the victim, child abuse, DUI cases, and elder abuse.
How Do You Calculate the Value of Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
Many factors affect how much your personal injury claim is worth. Common factors that impact the value of damages include:
- The parties involved in the claim
- The type and severity of injuries
- Whether the victim sustained permanent impairments
- Total monetary losses
- Availability of insurance coverage
- Allegations of comparative fault
Economic damages are generally the total of all expenses and costs related to the claim. Non-economic damages may equal 1.5 to five times the total of economic damages.
Insurance adjusters play down damages to lower the value of the claim. Their goal is to pay as little as possible to settle the claim. However, we do not rely on an adjuster’s opinion.
Our legal team at Brannon & Brannon carefully analyzes each type of damage to determine its value. When necessary, we may retain medical experts, economists, financial professionals, and other expert witnesses to calculate the value of current and future damages to ensure we demand complete and total compensation of all damages.
Call Now for a Free Consultation with One of Our Experienced Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyers
We want to help you recover the best possible settlement for your personal injury case. Our legal team at Brannon & Brannon does not stop until we pursue every legal course of action to recover compensation for damages. Contact our law office to schedule your free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys in Fort Walton Beach, FL.