Non-economic damages are one of three different types of damages available in personal injury cases in Florida.
Injury victims can recover compensation in the form of:
Non-economic damages are extremely important for injured parties. Non-economic damages account for a victim’s personal, non-financial losses after an accident. They do not have a clear financial value and are therefore more difficult to quantify. However, they are every bit as important to an injury claim as economic damages.
Non-economic damages compensate injured parties for things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship/ consortium
This list is not exhaustive, and every case is different. These damages attempt to make up for a victim’s pain, emotional distress, and psychological harm after an accident.
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What are the Other Forms of Damages in Florida?
Economic damages provide compensation for the financial harm an injury victim experiences after an accident. They compensate for a person’s medical bills, property damage, and lost income, among other things. Unlike non-economic damages, these losses have a clear financial value. They will be supported by things like receipts, bills, invoices, and pay stubs.
Punitive damages are more difficult to obtain than non-economic and economic damages. They exist to punish a defendant for their conduct rather than compensate a plaintiff for their losses. Punitive damages require a higher burden of proof than the other damages and are only available in cases where a defendant has engaged in gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
What Are Some Common Types of Non-Economic Damages in Florida?
Some of the common types of non-economic damages in Florida include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Insomnia, depression, PTSD, and other conditions
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Inconvenience and embarrassment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
If you are suffering from any of these problems after an accident, you may be eligible for non-economic damages.
How Do Florida Courts Determine How Much Non-Economic Damages to Award?
In a lawsuit, the judge instructs the jury on how to calculate damages. Non-economic damages must be proven to the jury during the course of the trial. Your lawyer will need to gather and present strong evidence of all the harm you have suffered. Non-economic damages may require expert testimony.
Since non-economic damages do not have a clear financial value, insurance companies and courts often use various formulas to calculate their worth. The “multiplier method” is one such formula. The multiplier method uses your economic damages as a starting point for estimating your non-economic damages.
The court will assign (or the parties will agree to) a number between 1.5 and 5 based on the severity of your injuries. The more severe your injuries, the higher the multiplier. Then, the court will multiply that number by your economic damages to arrive at a value for your non-economic losses.
Is There A Deadline To Pursue Non-Economic Damages in Florida?
Florida imposes time limits on personal injury lawsuits known as “statutes of limitation.” Most personal injury cases have a two-year statute of limitations. Accordingly, you must bring your lawsuit within two years of the date of your accident.
Note that this deadline used to be four years in Florida. However, the law was revised on March 24, 2023, resulting in less time to take action if someone’s negligence injures you. If your accident occurred after 3/24/23, you’re subject to the two-year deadline. If it occurred before that date, you will likely have four years from the accident date to file a lawsuit.
If you miss the deadline, a court will not accept your case. You will lose your right to compensation.
What If I Am Being Blamed For My Accident?
You can still recover non-economic damages in Florida if you share 50% or less of the blame for an accident. Florida is a modified comparative fault state. Comparative fault reduces your damages to account for your share of blame.
For example, if you are found 30% responsible for your accident, you would recover only 70% of your damages. If you are found over 50% responsible, you are barred from recovering money for your damages.
A personal injury attorney can challenge an at-fault party’s accusations that you share blame for your accident — and preserve your right to all your damages.
Contact a Miami Personal Injury Attorney for Help
If you are still wondering about non-economic damages in Florida, contact a Miami personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you understand whether you’re eligible for non-economic damages after your injury. They can also consult leading experts to help strengthen your claim.