Florida Non-Economic Damages

Florida non-economic damages are a category of compensation that personal injury accident victims may claim in their case. Non-economic damages compensate a victim for all of the intangible, or non-economic, ways that they suffer because of an injury accident. Non-economic damages typically accompany economic damages in relative proportion to the seriousness of the accident.

If you’re a victim of an injury accident, you need to understand what non-economic damages are and how to claim them. Our Florida personal injury attorneys explain non-economic damages.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages are payments made to a victim as compensation for intangible losses. Non-economic damages are non-financial ways that a victim suffers loss because of an injury accident. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. Non-economic damages place a financial value on intangible losses so that a personal injury victim can have full compensation for the many ways that they suffer due to the accident.

Non-Economic Damages Examples

Here are examples of non-economic damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium/sexual function/companionship
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Inconvenience of living with injuries and limitations
  • Mental anguish
  • Damage to reputation

How Much Money Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?

How much money you can sue for pain and suffering depends on your tangible losses and the severity of your case. If your pain and suffering is severe, you can claim several times your financial losses. In other cases, you may claim a fraction of your financial losses.

For most accident victims, pain and suffering ranges from half the cost of their medical bills to five times the cost of their medical bills depending on the severity of the accident, whether the injuries are permanent, and how much suffering is associated with the victim’s losses. How much money you can sue for pain and suffering is based on your physical injuries and the severity of the personal injury accident.

Florida Non-Economic Damages Cap

There is no Florida non-economic damages cap. A personal injury accident victim in Florida can claim the full extent of their non-economic damages. While the Florida legislature attempted to impose a non-economic damages cap in medical malpractice cases, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the cap in 2017 as unconstitutional.

A victim may deserve non-economic damages based on the facts of their case and the victim’s actual, personal suffering. Each case requires an individual calculation of non-economic damages. In making a determination of non-economic damages, there is no applicable Florida non-economic damages cap.

Can You Sue for Emotional Distress in Florida?

Yes, you can sue for emotional distress in Florida. In most cases, emotional distress is a type of compensation that is available when the victim also suffers from physical injuries. Emotional distress compensation in Florida comes in the form of monetary payment that is meant to represent the value of the emotional distress.

The amount of compensation you deserve depends on how much emotional distress you suffer because of the accident. You can sue for emotional distress in Florida when you have physical injuries as well as emotional distress because of an injury accident.

Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Florida?

Yes, you can sue for pain and suffering in Florida in most personal injury cases. Pain and suffering compensation may not be available in a car accident case with minor injuries. For all other types of cases, you can sue for pain and suffering that accompanies physical injuries. Pain and suffering is one type of non-economic damages in Florida that may deserve financial compensation.

Are Punitive Damages Non-Economic Damages?

No, punitive damages are not non-economic damages. Punitive damages are a special category of damages that are punishing, or punitive in nature when a defendant acts in an extremely reckless or intentionally harmful manner.[1] Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are damages based on the genuine, actual, mental, and emotional suffering of a personal injury accident victim.

Punitive damages are separate from, and in addition to, non-economic damages that a victim might deserve because of a personal injury accident. All personal injury accident victims may claim non-economic damages, but punitive damages are only available in a small percentage of cases that meet Florida legal requirements.

Non-Economic Damages Florida

To understand the value of non-economic damages in your case, you must examine the facts of the case and your losses. For example, some accidents cause severe pain for an extended period of time. Sometimes, a victim may not ever expect to recover from their injuries. In addition, physical injuries are accompanied by varying levels of restrictions from physical activity. Mental suffering and emotional pain that comes from an accident also varies from person to person and based on the severity of the accident.

As you work to know the value of your non-economic damages, you must conduct a personal inquiry into all of these factors. Of course, all accidents are significant, life-changing events. To value your non-economic damages, you must determine the actual emotional and mental suffering that occurs for the victim. All of the relevant factors play a role in determining the value of your non-economic damages.

When you determine your non-economic damages, you’re likely to figure a range of the potential value of your damages. Florida law doesn’t have a clear way to simply calculate an indisputable amount of non-economic damages for any given case. Instead, you examine the various factors and determine an approximate range of value of your non-economic damages. You can ask the jury to award you the amount at trial, or you can use your calculations as a starting point for settlement negotiations.

Contact Our Attorneys for Personal Injury Accidents

If you’ve been hurt in a personal injury accident, you may deserve non-economic damages. In fact, non-economic damages may represent a significant portion of your injury claim. Don’t miss out on valuable compensation that you deserve. Our Florida attorneys are a fully experienced and trained legal team who are prepared and determined to help you fight for fair compensation, including economic damages. Call us to begin today!

Sources

[1] FLA. STAT. § 768.73 (2019)

About the Author

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

Jack Bernstein is a hard working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you've been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.