For anyone who has suffered some personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, there is a point where they need to decide if it is worth their time and effort to file a claim.
Ask any personal injury lawyer, and they will likely tell you that the answer always depends on how much the accident or incident costs you financially and based on how much pain and suffering you may have experienced.
When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, a jury or a judge will decide if another party or parties are liable for whatever incident or accident resulted in your injury. If they decide that your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be awarded monetary compensation for damages.
There are generally four ways in which damages in a personal injury claim are classified. Read on as the experts from Cohen & Cohen Law discuss specific examples of these four damage categories.
Please note that every case is unique, and the examples outlined in each category are just a sample. To understand what kind of damages you can sue for in a personal injury case based on your own circumstances, you should contact an experienced Personal Injury Law Firm in Hollywood, FL.
Special or Economic Damages
Special or economic damages refer to the actual cost of medical treatments, estimated costs related to future medical treatments, lost wages, future wage loss, property damages, or other related out-of-pocket costs.
Typically, the medical expense portion of economic damages will include every expense the accident victim has had to pay throughout their treatment. It also considers any future medical expenses associated with the injuries sustained in the incident or accident. Current and future healthcare costs will add up quite quickly, particularly in cases where the victim is rendered permanently disabled, requiring special adaptive devices and lifelong care.
Calculations of lost wages generally factor in any work the accident victim was forced to miss because of medical treatment and future work that the victim might miss because of the injuries sustained in the accident. In situations where the accident victim is permanently disabled and cannot work, or if their earning capacity has become reduced, their lost wages spanning an entire lifetime might be considered in the award calculation.
General or Non-Economic Damages
General or non-economic damages are typically awarded after evaluating pain or suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, consortium loss (the loss of the ability to be a companion to a partner), or a general loss of life’s enjoyment.
It is not uncommon for accident victims to be awarded generously for pain and suffering. The insurance companies representing the responsible party or parties in a personal injury case will often offer settlements for pain and suffering to avoid a jury trial.
During most settlement processes, an insurance company will employ what is known as the “pain multiplier” calculation to deliver a reasonable award involving the actual total of the victim’s financial loss multiplied by some number that the insurer has deemed appropriate. Typically, that number can be anywhere from 1.5 to 5.
Awards for emotional distress are often a component of pain and suffering but can be more challenging to prove. A personal injury law firm in Hollywood, FL, can provide evidence of emotional distress through a medical diagnosis or psychiatric records indicating the victim has suffered from some form of post-traumatic stress.
Loss of consortium is also closely related to a pain and suffering award and is sought when the injury significantly alters the victim’s relationship with a family member or in the case of wrongful death.
While the economic and non-economic damage awards are compensatory, there are two other types of damage awards related to personal injury cases that are utilized to punish a defendant and deter similar incidents from occurring.
Punitive damages awarded in Florida personal injury cases are explicitly designed as a punishment to defendants whose actions were particularly egregious or grossly negligent. Accordingly, punitive damages are only awarded at the court’s discretion.
Punitive damages associated with a personal injury lawsuit are awarded when a judge wants to make an example out of the responsible party, believing that any compensatory damages awarded will not deter the party or parties from future negligence or reckless behavior. Also, when a judge believes that other damage awards do not represent reasonable punishment, they may award punitive damages in the case.
Like an insurance company may make a settlement offer using a multiplier, a court may award treble damages, meaning it multiplies compensation up to three times in particular circumstances.
For example, the court may apply treble damages if the negligent party knowingly or deliberately committed certain acts leading to the victim’s injury. Another example may include an instance where a defendant had repeated charges of drunk driving, which finally resulted in a fatal accident.
Sometimes, a motor vehicle accident lawyer in Hollywood, FL, will explicitly request treble damages at the start of the lawsuit when appropriate. A judge or jury will then deliberate on that request. In many cases where punitive damages do not apply, these damages will be awarded.
A Personal Injury Law Firm in Hollywood, FL, Can Help
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Cohen and Cohen Law specialize in all personal injury accidents, from medical malpractice and workplace accidents to slips and falls. Our knowledgeable team of legal experts can fight for your rights and will seek the financial compensation you deserve.
If you need a motor vehicle accident lawyer in Hollywood, FL, look no further than Cohen and Cohen.
For over 50 years, Cohen and Cohen Law has helped thousands of personal injury victims across South Florida. If you or someone you love has sustained injuries due to another party’s negligent or reckless actions, you need to speak to an expert.
Call Cohen and Cohen toll-free at (800) 33-COHEN. We’re here for you.