Economic and Non-Economic Damages in Florida

Client sitting with attorney

If you’ve suffered an injury due to another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Damages are a monetary amount awarded to a plaintiff as compensation for losses stemming from his or her injury. A party who succeeds in a personal injury lawsuit may receive both economic and non-economic damages. In this article, we discuss economic and non-economic damages in Florida. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages are compensation for objectively verifiable monetary losses. These types of damages are relatively easy to calculate since they involve tangible losses. Examples of economic damages include: 

  • Medical bills
  • Lost earnings 
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Out-of-pocket expenses 
  • Property damage
  • Other readily countable expenses arising from an accident

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are intangible losses that are largely subjective. This makes non-economic damages much more difficult to calculate than economic damages. Examples of non-economic damages include: 

  • Mental anguish
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Calculating Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages can sometimes greatly exceed economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit. However, as noted above, calculating non-economic damages can be difficult. When attempting to put a value on the non-economic damages suffered by an injury victim, the court takes the following factors into account: 

  • The severity of the loss: Generally speaking, the more severe the loss, the greater the amount of non-economic damages a court will be willing to award a victim. For example, the emotional distress associated with losing a limb may entitle a victim to significant non-economic damages. 
  • The duration of the condition: If a condition, such as mental anguish, only lasts a short time, then non-economic damages may be minimal. However, conditions that last longer can result in significant financial compensation. 
  • The effect of the loss on the victim’s lifestyle: Finally, when calculating non-economic damages, the court will consider the overall effect that an incident has on a victim’s lifestyle. 

Methods of Calculation

There are two primary methods of calculating non-economic damages:

  • The multiplier method: This method calculates non-economic damages as a multiple of the victim’s aggregate economic damages. This multiplier usually ranges from 1.5 to 3.
  • The per-diem method: This method multiplies a daily dollar amount by the number of days the victim’s condition persists.

Limitations on Economic and Non-Economic Damages

There is typically no formal cap on economic damages. In addition, there is no limit on the amount of non-economic damages a victim can receive—with one exception. In Florida, non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims are generally limited to $500,000. 

Contact a Pensacola Lawyer 

If you’ve been hurt in an accident, Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A., are here for you. Our experienced attorneys provide aggressive legal representation to accident victims in Pensacola and throughout Northwest Florida. When you come to us for assistance following an accident, we will do everything in our power to ensure that you obtain full compensation for your injuries. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Posted in: Personal Injury