There is no specific formula for calculating damages, since they are generally determined based on the victim's actual expenses and compensation for their pain and distress. Compensation must make the injured person “healthy” again. On the contrary, non-economic damages are often much more difficult to quantify because they are subjective and can vary between different people. Florida law defines non-economic damages as “non-financial losses that would not have occurred were it not for the injury that gave rise to the cause of action, including pain and suffering, discomfort, physical disability, mental distress, disfigurement, loss of ability to enjoy life, and other non-financial losses.” Damages caused by pain and suffering can be more difficult to quantify because each juror may assign a different monetary value to the injury.
For example, a person who has broken a leg in the past may value the pain and suffering of that injury more than someone who has never broken a bone. Therefore, the plaintiff must present to the jury evidence of the pain and suffering suffered as a result of the injury that was the subject of the lawsuit and the court will order the jury to use its best judgment in determining the damages to be awarded to the plaintiff. In calculating the plaintiff's pain and suffering, the jury may consider a variety of factors, such as the severity of the injury, the plaintiff's future prognosis, the length of recovery or rehabilitation, the plaintiff's age, and how the injury affects the plaintiff's activities of daily living. In most personal injury actions, the plaintiff must have been injured in some way to be entitled to compensation.
Instead, personal injury damages are based on a combination of actual expenses and compensation for pain and suffering. For most types of cases, there is no law that dictates the amount of general damages you can receive in a general personal injury case. In general, the person responsible for the injury (or that person's insurance company) is responsible for reimbursing the injured party for all expenses related to their injury, as well as for compensating the injured party for any pain, suffering, or emotional damage that they suffered as a result of the injury. The library has several resources that you may find useful in evaluating your situation and calculating damages, including “How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim” from Nolo Press, which includes a very detailed chapter on how to determine the value of your injury claim, as well as tips for negotiating a settlement with the defendant.
The most important issue for most people involved in a personal injury lawsuit is the issue of damages. General damages, commonly called “pain and suffering,” are intended to compensate you for the non-monetary injuries you experience, such as pain, anxiety, and other suffering you may have to endure because of your injury. When a judge or jury finds the defendant responsible for wrongful conduct in a personal injury case, the question then becomes what types of damages are due to the plaintiff and in what amount.