To determine how much your case is worth, you will need to work with an attorney to go through every detail of your case in order to determine what your injuries are truly worth. This is done at the same time that the claims adjuster from the insurance company is doing their own research into the accident. One of the most important reasons to hire an attorney early into your case is so that they will be able to use this time to gather information and be able to respond to the insurance company with a well-informed counter-offer.
Some of the details that your attorney will go through in order to reach an understanding of your case’s worth are explained below. They are separated into “economic” and “non-economic” damages, which each apply to a very specific type of damage that require different accounting methods to find a total for.
Calculating Economic Damages
Economic damages are the easiest to calculate since they are intended to repay a victim for measurable losses and expenses associated with the accident. They include all medical-related expenses, such as hospital bills, surgery costs, prescriptions, copayments, and any necessary assistive devices such as crutches, wheelchairs, access ramps, and anything else directly related to the injury.
In addition to medical costs, economic damages are also used to compensate the victim for any income-related losses, such as time missed from work, decreased earning capacity, short-term or long-term disability, and any paid time off or vacation days used to cover missed work. If your injuries are such that you are unable to return to work in your former capacity, or your earning ability has been impacted whatsoever, your attorney will also include this interruption to your income in your damages.
Finally, economic damages will include any services that you may have needed to hire during your recovery that you would have otherwise performed yourself. This could include things like grocery delivery, laundry or cleaning service, or any other task that is normally your responsibility.
Calculating Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are more complicated to calculate, and as such, are more hotly contested during settlement negotiations. Simply put, this is because of the abstract nature of the impacts that they cover, and the methods by which an experienced attorney will apply a dollar value to them. For example, how do you put a dollar amount on pain?
Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, depression, sadness, and the loss of your ability to pursue your interests. Since there are no set dollar amounts applied to these impacts, your attorney will employ a variety of methods in order to reach an understandable, fair, and reasonable amount for your compensatory damages.
One such method of determining the value of non-economic damages in Florida is by using a “multiplier,” which is a number along a scale that is intended to indicate the severity of the injuries. Once you and your attorney have considered all of the possible non-economic damages that you have dealt with and select a number along the scale, that number will then be applied to the total economic damages in order to determine the dollar amount. For example, a multiplier of 3x and economic damages of $50,000 will result in $150,000 in non-economic damages. This method is one of many that an experienced attorney will use to get you the money that you deserve.