How to Quantify Emotional Distress Damages
Florida law entitles accident victims to financial compensation for their emotional distress in many cases. If you suffered significant or permanent injuries in a vehicle collision or other accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your emotional distress, and it will be important for you to speak with a lawyer about your legal rights.
When it comes to seeking emotional distress damages, there are two key ways a lawyer can help you. The first is proving your right to compensation. The insurance companies won’t pay for emotional distress automatically, so it is up to you to prove that you are entitled to coverage.
The second is proving how much you are entitled to receive for your emotional distress. As discussed in greater detail below, quantifying emotional distress damages requires a thorough understanding of both the traumatic effects of your accident and Florida law.
After a serious accident, the Orlando personal injury lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright are committed to helping you recover the compensation you deserve for your physical, emotional, and financial losses. If you experienced emotional distress as a result of a serious injury caused by someone else, we want to hear your story.
The More Evidence You Have, The Stronger Your Claim Will Be
Proving the amount you are entitled to recover for emotional distress requires evidence; and, generally speaking, the more evidence you have, the better. If you are able to help your lawyer fully document the effects of your accident, this will help ensure that your personal injury lawyer is able to accurately quantify your emotional distress and seek the full compensation you deserve.
So, what evidence can you use to prove the emotional effects of your accident? The factors that will determine the value of your claim include:
- How severe are your physical injuries?
- How severe and widespread is your pain?
- Will you be able to fully recover? Will you need multiple surgeries or long-term medical care?
- How old were you at the time of the accident?
- How has the accident impacted your physical abilities?
- How has the accident impacted you psychologically?
- How has the accident impacted your relationship with your spouse and children?
- How has the accident impacted your social life?
- How has the accident impacted your financial stability?
With these factors in mind, the types of evidence lawyers in Florida can use to quantify and prove their clients’ emotional distress include:
- Medical, therapy, and prescription records
- Medical expert reports and testimony
- Employment records
- Written statements or testimony from your spouse, children, parents, and other family members
- Written statements or testimony from your coworkers and friends
- Bills and receipts related to the accident
- Financial expert reports and testimony
- Notes you take detailing your daily pain levels and the day-to-day effects of the accident
- Videos, photos, and other documentary evidence that demonstrates your emotional distress
Two Methods of Quantifying Emotional Distress Damages in Florida
Using these forms of evidence (among others), your Orlando personal injury lawyer will calculate an appropriate compensation amount for your emotional distress. Lawyers, insurance companies, and courts in Florida use two primary methods of calculation:
Method #1: The Per Diem Method
The per diem method involves calculating a daily rate of compensation for an accident victim’s emotional distress. This daily rate is then multiplied by the number of days the victim is reasonably expected to experience emotional distress. Calculating the daily rate requires consideration of all of the factors discussed above, and individual accident victims’ per diem rates can vary greatly.
Calculating the number of days for which an accident victim should receive compensation requires an intimate understanding of the victim’s emotional condition. When you hire a lawyer to seek emotional distress damages, your lawyer will work with a qualified medical expert who can assess the long-term effects of your accident.
Method #2: The Multiplier Method
The second method is the multiplier method. Using this method begins with calculating the financial costs of your accident. This includes all present and future out-of-pocket costs (i.e. medical bills and prescription costs) as well as your present and future lost wages.
Then, a multiplier is applied to this total. Multipliers in personal injury cases are typically between 1.5 and 5. The more severe your emotional distress—and the more evidence you have to prove it—the greater the multiplier your lawyer may be able to apply. Here, too, expert testimony can be extremely important, as an expert can provide an unbiased assessment of the severity of your accident’s impact on your life.
If you would like to know more about seeking emotional distress damages as part of a personal injury claim in Florida, we encourage you to contact us promptly.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a lawyer at Colling Gilbert Wright, please call (800) 766-1000 or send us a message online today.