Injuries caused by catastrophic accidents burden survivors and victims with long-term hardship. Medical costs turn into medical debt, injuries turn into chronic pain, and a one-time injury turns into a lifetime of lowered income and financial instability. The good news is that personal injury lawsuits can cover many of these hardships by claiming economic damages, i.e., the cost of past and future medical treatment and the cost of lost time at work.
However, what happens when such costs don’t adequately describe what you’ve actually lost?
How do medical costs make up for robbing you of the ability to play with your children?
To hold a conversation?
To move without pain?
In these cases, Florida law allows plaintiffs to claim noneconomic damages, sometimes referred to as “pain and suffering” damages.
What Are Noneconomic Damages?
Noneconomic damages are losses suffered by an accident victim that cannot be quantified. Unlike medical costs or lost earnings, there’s no way to measure the actual dollar value of permanent disfigurement or emotional distress. In most cases, a jury will be asked to use their best judgment to award an amount of money that will fairly and adequately compensate the victim for their losses, including pain and suffering. Therefore, the amount awarded can vary by a wide margin.
When awarding noneconomic damages, juries often consider:
- The severity of the accident or injury
- The injury’s potential to have a lasting effect on the plaintiff
- The impact the injury will cause on the victim’s relationships with family
While no one can predict the amount you win in court, noneconomic damages have no cap in Florida. Because of this, noneconomic damages usually far outstrip economic ones.
In Florida, noneconomic damages can only be applied to cases involving:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
Family members of the victim may also have claims for their losses as well.
If you or a loved one have been in a life-altering accident, speak with Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A. to learn if you’d be able to claim noneconomic damages. Discuss your options with us in a free consultation at (305) 770-6335.