There are three types of compensation for a personal injury claim: punitive, economic, and non-economic damages. Punitive damages are a punishment for negligence and as a deterrent. Economic damages are calculable financial losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and future lost earnings. Of the three, non-economic damages are the hardest to calculate because they are the hardest to quantify.
Non-economic damages compensate a victim for their pain and suffering, but calculating someone’s emotional distress level is not easy. Although no insurance adjuster is going to share their exact method of calculation, there is a way to get a general idea of how much a victim may receive in compensation for their injuries.
The Process of Calculating Non-Economic Damages
The formula is not official, but it is a very good guide to approximate how much you could receive. To start the calculation, your attorney tallies up all of your financial losses covering:
- Medical expenses: current and expected future medical expenses are added together, from surgeries to months of physical therapy.
- Property damage: If you were injured in a car accident, then your property damages may include your vehicle and other expensive electronics. If these items need to be replaced or repaired, then you may be entitled to compensation for them.
- Lost wages: wages for the time you’ve already missed from work, plus loss of potential future earnings, are calculated.
Next, the total sum of your economic damages is multiplied by a number between 1.5 and typically five, though some multipliers can go as high as 10. The number of the multiplier depends on the severity of the accident. For example, a minor accident that resulted in body aches but no bruises, lacerations, or serious medical issues, may only be multiplied by 1.5. A car accident that resulted in paralysis, loss of the use of an organ, or amputation may warrant a multiplier as high as 7. The multiplier could go as high as 10 if there was a catastrophic loss of life caused by the accident.
What This Means
An example may help make sense of how pain and suffering are calculated. A personal injury victim was rear-ended in a residential area where the other driver was not speeding. Still, the whiplash caused by the collision made it difficult for the victim to go to their job. They took three days off work, totaling $750 in lost wages.
They visited their doctor to ensure that they were not suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and paid $75 out-of-pocket for the medical visit. Along with car repairs, their total expenses were $1,525. Because the accident was minor, their total losses are multiplied by 1.5, resulting in $2,287.50.
Hiring An Attorney Can Increase How Much You Receive
Negotiating is a skill but also very much an art form. When you are working with an attorney from Fasig | Brooks you can be assured they will fight for you at all times. Additionally, the majority of personal injury firms will not charge attorneys’ fees unless they win damages for you.
Contact a licensed attorney for your initial consultation when you are preparing to file a personal injury claim or want to learn more about your rights under Florida personal injury law. Speaking to a personal injury attorney during your risk-free initial consultation will give you an idea of the level of care that you can experience as a client of their firm and is also a good opportunity to get answers to your questions.