Calculating potential compensation for injuries sustained during a car accident is challenging.
Attorneys must obtain a great amount of information and often must rely on inaccurate Florida car accident settlement calculators.
Auto accident settlement calculators don’t take into account key factors that determine realistic compensation figures.
Estimating non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, is the most difficult for attorneys because they are subjective and vary from case to case.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida and want to get an estimate of your potential compensation, you should contact a personal injury attorney today.
An attorney can discuss the specifics of your case with you and give you a sense of what your potential damages might be.
How Florida Attorneys Calculate Damages After an Injury
Florida personal injury attorneys calculate damages after an injury based on the type of damages available. There are generally three different types of damages available in car accident cases:
- Economic damages,
- Non-economic damages, and
- Punitive damages.
The type and amount of damages you might receive depend on the facts of your case.
Economic damages, also called special damages, are compensation for financial loss as the result of an accident. Examples of economic damages include:
- Lost wages,
- Medical expenses,
- Costs of future medical treatment,
- Property damage, and
- Lost earning capacity.
To estimate economic damages, attorneys usually add up receipts from your actual expenses. However, determining the costs of future medical treatment and lost earning capacity can be difficult to estimate.
Non-economic damages, also called general damages, are subjective and less concrete than economic damages. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of companionship, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
A lawyer can help you determine whether you can recover non-economic damages for your injury and estimate their value.
In most Florida car accident cases, you need to prove your injuries exceed the tort threshold to receive non-economic damages. Under FL law, the types of injuries that exceed the tort threshold include:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability;
- Scarring and disfigurement; and
If your injuries fall under one or more of these categories, you may be entitled to non-economic damages in Florida.
The multiplier method
In Florida, lawyers commonly use the multiplier method to estimate non-economic damages. Under this method, your economic damages estimate is multiplied by a number ranging from one to five.
The more severe your injuries, the higher the multiplier figure. The resulting number is the estimate of your non-economic damages.
The multiplier method is not exact, but it can give you an idea of your potential non-economic damages.
However, the multiplier method could overestimate your non-economic damages because it doesn’t take into account whether your injury meets the tort threshold.
Talking to a personal injury attorney is the best way to get an estimate of your potential non-economic damages.
Courts award punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages in some cases. They are designed to punish the defendant for conduct that goes above and beyond ordinary negligence.
Florida law limits the amount of punitive damages you can recover to the greater of:
- Three times the sum of your economic and non-economic damages, or
You should talk to a Florida personal injury attorney to get an idea of the types and amount of damages you might be able to recover.
Car Accident Settlement Calculators in Florida
Florida Car accident settlement calculators do not accurately estimate your amount of damages because they fail to take into account the defendant’s negligence, your degree of fault, and who caused your injuries.
The Defendant’s Negligence
The defendant’s negligence is a key element of proving a successful car accident claim. The defendant must have breached a duty they owed you to be found liable.
Although a calculator can add your actual expenses and multiply them to estimate your non-economic damages, it does not factor in whether the defendant was negligent or how his or her negligence affects the value of your damages.
Your Degree of Fault
Under the principle of comparative fault, your percentage of fault in causing the accident reduces your amount of damages.
For example, if you suffered $100,000 in damages but were 30% at fault, you can recover only $70,000 in damages.
Florida follows the pure comparative fault rule, meaning that you can still recover damages no matter how high your degree of fault.
Auto accident settlement calculators in Florida do not take into account comparative fault.
As a result, they could overestimate your amount of damages if you were partially at fault in causing the accident.
In order to recover compensation in a car accident case, you must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty actually and proximately caused your injuries.
Actual causation means that you wouldn’t have suffered your injuries but for the defendant’s actions.
Proximate causation means that your injuries were a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions.
Car accident calculators do not take into account whether a jury will believe that the defendant caused your injuries.
For example, you might have a pre-existing condition that could lead a jury to believe the defendant was not both the actual and proximate cause of your injuries.
As a result, car accident settlement calculators might overestimate your potential compensation.
Get an Accurate Settlement Valuation with Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon
If you have been injured as the result of a car accident in Florida, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
The car accident attorneys at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon will talk with you about the specifics of your case and accurately advise you regarding the types and value of damages that might be available to you.
As part of one of the Gulf Coast’s biggest law firms, they have the resources to handle even the most difficult car accident cases.
Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.