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What Damages Can I Claim

Anyone injured in a car accident in Jacksonville wishes it never happened. However, since we cannot turn back time, the only way to compensate someone who has been injured is to provide them with monetary damages. There are several categories of damages available to a car accident victim. That is why it is important to speak with the Jacksonville Car Accident Attorney to learn more about your potential claims.
Florida law sets forth two broad categories of damages for car accident victims; compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are further divided into economic damages and non-economic damages.

What are Economic Damages?

Economic damages are our tangible damages; things like bills, the loss of the ability to earn a paycheck, or the reasonable cost of repair work to your vehicle. Economic damages include expenses you have incurred in the past as well as expenses you are reasonably certain to have in the future.  The most common types of economic damages are as follows:

Medical Expenses:

These are self-explanatory but they include expenses associated with an ambulance ride, your emergency room visit, treatment with any doctors or specialists, physical therapy, MRIs, x-rays, medication, and durable medical equipment.

Lost Wages, and Lost Earning Capacity:

You are entitled to be reimbursed for wages you lost due to your inability to work because of your injuries. This includes any loss of earnings after returning to work in a light-duty position that does not pay as much as your original job.  Lost earning capacity is for situations where you cannot return to the same job and as a result, you do not earn as much money as you did before. The difference between what you made before the accident and what you made after the accident is your lost earning capacity. For example, If it takes you five years to return to your pre-accident wage level, you are entitled to the lost wage differential over that time period.

Loss of Services:

These damages are to compensate the injured party for paying people to do things the injured party used to do on their own. An example of this is lawn care or child care. If the injured party is no longer able to take care of their yard or look after their children due to their injury, they are entitled to compensation for the cost of these services. 

Property Damage:

If your vehicle was damaged as a result of the car accident in Jacksonville, you are entitled to the reasonable cost of repairs. While the vehicle is being repaired, you are entitled to the loss of use of your vehicle, even if you do not rent a car or if you have another car to use as an alternate car while your vehicle is being repaired. In addition, you are entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle. This is the difference between the value of the car immediately before the accident and its value immediately afterward.  Sometimes this is called “stigma damage“ for the fact your vehicle was involved in a collision.  Diminish value is only available through the defendant’s insurance company.

What are Non-Economic Damages?

Non-economic damages are not as easily calculated. They deal with things that do not necessarily have a medical bill associated with them, yet they are no less real.  Florida Standard Jury Instruction 501.2. states there is no exact standard when arriving at the value of these damages. They must be fair and just in light of the evidence. Like economic damages, non-economic damages are recoverable both in the past and in the future. Some of the common areas of non-economic damage include

Pain and Suffering:

For those accident victims who have sustained a permanent injury, this category of damages is very real.  While most of this category may be valued in the past when the injury was most painful and acute, depending on the nature of the injury and the life expectancy of the injured party, these damages can be significant. 

Physical Impairment: 

This is a type of damage to compensate an injury victim for the loss of their ability to function the way they did before the accident. Doctors may assign an impairment rating which is a standardized way of designating how your injury has affected one or more bodily functions.  The more severe impairment to your body function, the greater damages you may be entitled to.


This category takes the injured person’s impairment and applies societal issues such as the person’s occupation.  For example, if a concert pianist and a business person both lose the tip of their pinky finger, they would have the same impairment.  However, the concert pianist’s disability would be much greater than the business person’s. The loss of a finger means more to the pianist because how she needs it for her job relative to the businessman.  Therefore, the pianist’s disability damages would be greater.


These damages encompass post-surgical scarring, scars from dog bites, changes in skin tone/color/texture, as a result of burns, and deformities due to underlying hardware.

Loss of Capacity for the Enjoyment of Life:

People injured in Florida sometimes have to change their complete lifestyle as a result of their injuries. Some can no longer engage in hobbies that brought them joy and relaxation. They may not be able to pick up a small child or coach a youth athletic team as they did before they were injured.  Many of our injured clients have to modify what activities they can perform so as not to aggravate their accident-related symptoms. 

Loss of Consortium:

This is a claim available to the non-injured spouse for living through what their injured partner has endured and will continue to endure into the future.  The Florida Standard Jury Instruction 501.2(d), describes this loss as the loss of services, comfort, society, and attention of the injured spouse.

What are Punitive Damages?

While compensatory damages are designed to compensate the injured victim, punitive damages are designed to punish the wrong-doer.  Punitive damages are not common in Florida personal injury claims.  An injured party must prove the defendant behaved in a particularly egregious manner to be allowed to claim punitive damages.  Punitive damages have been awarded in cases where the at-fault driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, where the at-fault driver left the scene after running over a motorcyclist, and against a company for creating a compensation scheme that incentivized and encouraged its drivers to work long hours thereby causing them to become fatigued resulting in an injury to another driver.

We are familiar with all aspects of the damages available to car accident victims in Jacksonville.  At Rosenberg & Calvin, P.A., we feel it is important to speak with an attorney to identify and protect your rights and to ensure you are compensated to the full extent of the law. Contact us today for a free consultation.  

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