What Are Economic Damages?

The costs of an accident are more than most people can manage on their own. The main costs of a personal injury case are known as economic damages. Economic damages are the direct expenses that a victim incurs because of an accident. 

A person who causes an accident through negligence is responsible for an injury victim’s economic damages. Often, their insurer is the one who pays the victim’s claim.

Types of Damages Available in Personal Injury Cases

In law, damages are a form of compensation awarded to accident victims when someone else causes them injury. 

In personal injury cases, there are three types of damages:

  • Economic damages: these represent a victim’s direct costs and losses after an accident. They include things like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Economic damages are usually easy to calculate and are the basis of most injury claims.
  • Non-economic damages: these are the indirect, non-financial costs of an accident. Non-economic damages are often available for serious injuries. They compensate for pain and suffering, emotional distress, PTSD, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
  • Punitive damages: these damages punish a defendant for reckless or egregious conduct that injures another. Punitive damages are also awarded to deter others from acting in the same way. 

At a minimum, you will need to determine if your case qualifies for economic damages. It is important to have your case examined by an experienced attorney to determine its value.

Common Types of Economic Damages

Florida injury victims can qualify for several types of economic damages, including: 

  • Medical expenses, including future anticipated medical expenses
  • Physical therapy expenses
  • Cost of household services and modifications related to your injury
  • Travel expenses to and from medical treatment
  • Lost wages from missing work due to injury
  • Lost earning potential  if the injury prevents you from returning to work in the same capacity
  • Property repair or replacement expenses

Any reasonable expense that arises from your accident can be considered an economic damage. 

How Courts Determine the Proper Amount of Economic Damages

A court or insurance company will decide how much economic damages to award you. Determining the proper amount of economic damages is often a matter of simple math.

Economic damages usually have a paper trail: bills, receipts, invoices, pay stubs, etc. Accordingly, a court or insurance company can add up all expenses related to your injury to arrive at your economic damages. You can get an estimate of your economic damages by doing the same.

Insurance companies will often try to offer an initial settlement amount that is lower than the value of your economic damages. They want to avoid paying your full claim. Therefore, it is important to document all expenses related to your accident.

Can I Recover Compensation for Future Financial Losses?

You can recover compensation for future economic losses, including future medical expenses and diminished earning capacity. However, proving these damages may require expert testimony.

To recover future anticipated medical costs, you must first reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This is the point at which you have fully recovered from your injuries or cannot be expected to recover any further. Your medical provider will designate when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement.

This will give you an adequate understanding of your future medical needs and costs. Likewise, it will provide evidence of any disability that might limit your earning potential. Medical and/or economic experts can testify as to the costs of your future care and future income losses.

Is There a Cap on Economic Damages in Florida?

Non-economic damages and punitive damages have caps in certain situations in Florida. Florida law, however, does not cap economic damages. This means you can recover compensation for your damages after an accident no matter how high they are. 

Economic damages are not always immediately apparent and might take time to value. Insurance companies try to take advantage of this and might make an offer that doesn’t account for your long-term expenses. 

Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney for Help

A Clearwater personal injury attorney can help you document, calculate, and prove your damages to a court or insurance company. They can also work with experts to value your damages accurately. 

Working with an attorney is the best way to ensure you recover all your damages after an accident. Filing a lawsuit or claim yourself can result in you getting less than you deserve for your injuries. Contact our Cleawater law office today for a free case consultation at (727) 796-8282.