In Florida personal injury lawsuits, plaintiffs have the option of seeking “pain and suffering” damages. This is a broad category that encompasses non-economic damages caused by your injuries and can even exceed the sum of your economic damages. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by the negligence of someone else, you can file a personal injury claim seeking compensation for your losses. This compensation reimburses you for the hardship and financial burden inflicted by the accident. If you think you are entitled to file a personal injury suit in Florida, contact the offices of Wendy Doyle-Palumbo, Esq. as soon as possible.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
In the legal sense, pain and suffering describes physical or mental pain or suffering that rises above the level of general discomfort, but need not be life-threatening in nature. Physical pain and suffering can result from injuries suffered in the accident, such as:
- Broken bones;
- Nerve damage;
- Dislocated joints;
- Injuries to the face, teeth, or mouth; and
- Serious cuts or abrasions.
Mental pain and suffering, on the other hand, involves the mental anguish felt after experiencing a traumatic event, like an accident. Mental pain and suffering refers to distress the victim could experience, such as:
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Mental anguish;
- PTSD; and
- Loss and grief.
The severity of mental and physical pain and suffering can differ in severity from person to person. For both categories, the amount of suffering includes not only what you felt immediately after the accident, but also pain and suffering you will likely experience in the future stemming from the accident. In light of this information, you may wonder, Can I sue for pain and suffering? If you have a valid personal injury claim, the answer is typically yes. How much compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering depends on the facts of your case.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Damages are separated into two categories for personal injury cases: economic and non-economic. Economic damages stem from monetary expenses incurred as a result of the accident. This includes things like:
- Medical bills,
- Funeral expenses,
- Cost of repairing your vehicle, and
- Loss of wages.
Economic damages have monetary value and are typically fairly easy to calculate based on receipts and invoices.
Pain and suffering falls into the noneconomic damages category and are more difficult to calculate. There are no invoices or receipts that you can look at to determine the amount for noneconomic damages. Unlike medical bills or a car repair invoice, proving the monetary value of pain and suffering requires a more creative approach.
Courts typically consider a variety of factors when calculating pain and suffering damages, including:
- The severity of the injuries;
- The long-term consequences of the injuries;
- Age of the victim; and
- Amount of economic loss suffered by the victim.
In many cases, the attorneys calculate the value of pain and suffering by multiplying the economic damages by a number between one and five. For example, if your economic damages equal $50,000 and a multiplier of two is used, the attorney would value your pain and suffering at $100,000 and argue that you are entitled to recover that amount.
How Much Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering in Florida?
Florida law allows personal injury victims to recover damages for pain and suffering only in the event his or her injury consists in whole or in part of:
- Significant or permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability;
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or
As you can see, the threshold for allowing personal injury victims to seek compensation for pain and suffering is high. A skilled personal injury attorney can help determine whether you are entitled to seek this compensation and how much you may be entitled to recover.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Recover for My Pain and Suffering in Florida?
Personal injury claims in Florida contain lots of elements, from the negligence of the driver that caused the accident to the amount and form of damages you are entitled to. This can be overwhelming and confusing to individuals without specialized legal education, and especially those suffering from serious injuries.
By hiring a personal injury lawyer with Wendy Doyle-Palumbo, Esq., we can explain these difficult concepts and determine whether you can claim damages for pain and suffering under Florida law.
With over a decade of experience in personal injury law, we are confident in our ability to vigorously advocate on your behalf to obtain the compensation you deserve. Reach out to us today to start your free consultation.