Brain injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis, burns, amputations and other catastrophic injuries leave victims physically and emotionally devastated. These injuries also inflict serious financial burdens on victims and their families, who face exorbitant medical expenses, lost wages and the costs of ongoing care. And all of that is in addition to the victims’ long-term pain and suffering and loss of quality of life.
One of the main reasons catastrophic injury victims should seek help from an experienced Florida lawyer is that these cases require extensive and detailed proof of the lifelong impact of these injuries. The legal work is critical because insurance is often inadequate to cover the potential millions of dollars an injured person may need.
In Florida, a successful personal injury claim allows the victim to seek two types of damages: economic and noneconomic.
Economic damages compensate the injured person for measurable, specific losses. Examples include:
- Lost earnings
- Past and future medical expenses, including follow-up treatment
- Property damage
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Noneconomic damages are payments made to the victim for intangible, hard-to-measure losses. Examples of noneconomic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium/sexual function/companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Inconvenience of living with injuries and limitations
- Mental anguish
- Damage to reputation
Florida, for many years, placed limits on the amount of noneconomic damages an injured person could recover. However, in 2017, the state Supreme Court ruled that caps on noneconomic damages in personal injury and medical malpractice claims were unconstitutional. As a result, a catastrophically injured person can recover as much compensation as the jury will allow.
However, noneconomic damages are subjective and hard to calculate. To put a value on them, your lawyer will likely use testimony from various people in your life. Family members might be asked to testify regarding the care they provide to you as a result of your injuries, for example, and how your quality of life has been diminished. You and your lawyer will work to describe your mental and physical suffering, then try to put a monetary value on it. This value is typically a range, not a specific number. Once you have a range that you’re comfortable with, your lawyer can request that amount from the jury or use it as a starting point in settlement negotiations.
In catastrophic injury cases, the amount of compensation can easily be seven or eight figures and defendants will fight hard to avoid paying those large amounts. That’s why seriously injured people should retain an experienced attorney who knows how to handle tough opposition.
Largey Law Firm has decades of experience representing seriously injured people in Central Florida. Our attorneys are ready to hear your story and explain how we can help. Contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation.