Claiming a settlement for pain and suffering can be an arduous process, especially if you are in recovery after an accident. Knowing what qualifies as pain and suffering and what evidence you must provide is an important step in moving forward with the claim. Your insurance company may low-ball you, and you might decide to enlist the aid of a law firm to help fight your case in court.
Many people in Florida rely on their insurance company after their serious injury to pay for their medical treatment, compensate them for lost wages, and cover their property damage. This often leaves you out of pocket on the expenses your company won’t cover. It is essential to file your general damages claim with the correct evidence to calculate pain and suffering in a way that will get you the maximum return available to you. The best way to do this is with the help of a qualified attorney.
Contact us at The Law Place today to find out your options. Our lines are open 24 hours a day. Schedule a free consultation with our experienced team of lawyers and find out how you can find your maximum settlement now.
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Call The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.
What Is the Definition of Pain and Suffering in Florida?
The Legal Information Institute defines pain and suffering as the physical or emotional distress caused by someone’s injuries. This pertains to not only the injured individual but also their close relatives and loved ones, especially in the case of wrongful death.
Pain and suffering damages, otherwise known as general damages, can be claimed against negligent parties. Their behavior must have directly resulted in the accident or following injuries. Compensation for pain and suffering covers the non-economic costs of an injury, such as physical pain or emotional distress. General damages are claimed in addition to economic damages, such as medical bills or property damage.
General damages have two categories which lawyers use to claim compensation:
- Physical anguish – This refers to the physical distress you may experience after your accident, such as the pain of a broken arm or inability to walk properly.
- Mental and emotional anguish – This concerns non-physical pain you sustain, such as depression or anxiety.
Contact The Law Place to find out how much you may be entitled to as a result of the pain and suffering you or a loved one experienced after an accident.
What Does No-Fault Law in Florida Mean?
Victims of auto accidents that did not suffer serious injury are not able to sue for pain and suffering damages. Insurance will automatically cover these incidents to the maximum allowed by their policy coverage. This is known as Florida’s No-Fault law, listed under Florida Statute 627.730.
Florida Statute 627.7407 requires all motorists to be covered by auto-insurance that also includes PIP (personal injury protection) in its policy. This covers most medical expenses related to the crash. Any minor injury claim will have to go directly through your insurance provider, no matter whose fault the accident is.
Any mental or physical anguish you endure as a result of your crash cannot be used as a claim against your policy or the at-fault party’s insurance. No-Fault Law forbids this.
However, if you experience a serious injury, you can then pursue pain and suffering damages in civil court. You must meet the legal threshold for serious injury to file a lawsuit.
What Is the Legal Threshold for Serious Injury?
Florida Statute 627.737 outlines the legal threshold for serious injury. Your wounds must meet these requirements to pursue pain and suffering damages:
- Significant or permanent loss of a bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Death or a reasonable risk of death
You will need to provide doctor’s records, prescription receipts, and a medical professional’s testimony stating your injuries are serious.
Do Insurance Companies Pay for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering damages can usually be claimed against at-fault parties’ insurers. If you have suffered a serious injury as a result of an auto accident, you can negotiate for pain and suffering damages with insurance providers. However, insurance companies will do everything in their power to devalue and delegitimize your claim. It is important that you enlist the aid of a qualified personal injury attorney to help make your case.
Although all motorists are required to carry auto insurance, the world isn’t a perfect place. Some drivers refuse to pay for insurance, which can make an accident involving their vehicle even more messy and complicated than usual. Florida law makes it very hard to make pain and suffering claims against an individual’s income. If someone doesn’t have insurance, you might not be able to claim for pain and suffering.
What Should You Do to Ensure a Settlement for Pain and Suffering?
Collecting evidence of pain and suffering after your accident is essential to claim against an at-fault party’s insurer. Your personal injury lawyer will investigate the incident and organize evidence on your behalf, but you also need to be proactive in this collection.
Some types of evidence you should catalog include:
- Medical expenses
- Medical treatment records
- Doctor testimony
- Statements from family and friends
- Willing witness statements and personal information
- Pay stubs
- Income tax forms
- Photos of your injuries
- Photos of the accident
- Journal of your experiences
If you can present these documents to the court, your ability to claim pain and suffering damages increases dramatically. Insurance companies won’t want to pay you the full value of your claim. Contact The Law Place to ensure that doesn’t happen.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated After an Accident?
Calculating pain and suffering is an extremely complex process. Lawyers and insurance adjusters use various methods to legitimize potential payouts. There are even sophisticated computer algorithms used to help achieve this task. You should not, however, rely on pain and suffering calculators that you may find online.
Many attorneys may make use of the “multiplier method” or “per diem method” when coming up with arguments for your personal injury case. An insurance company may wish to avoid these for monetary reasons.
This method multiplies the economic cost of your accident by using a scale of 1.5 to 5. Your economic damages are multiplied by the amount of pain and suffering you have endured.
For example, your medical bills and property damage after your accident amounted to $15,000. Your lawyer argues that you have been depressed following the incident, have experienced intense pain and discomfort from your injuries, and you have lost enjoyment for your life. Your legal calculation would be 3.5, resulting in a claim of $67,500 ($15,000 x 3.5 + $15,000).
The multiplier method is popular among attorneys for calculating remuneration for non-physical anguish. Depression and anxiety are tough to put a dollar amount to, but a skilled attorney will be able to argue for set remuneration.
An insurance company will undoubtedly devalue the final the figure your lawyer arrives at to calculate pain and suffering damages for your personal injury case. However, the multiplier method still provides a valuable benchmark for your claim. Having a starting point for negotiations is a key first step in a fight with insurers.
Contact The Law Place to see how the multiplier method can better serve your personal injury case.
Per Diem Method
Per diem, otherwise known as “per day” methods, quantify damages for an injury case based on daily remuneration. This means a dollar amount is assigned to a single day of anguish. Lost wages, medical bills, or other economic losses are multiplied by the number of days that a victim has suffered as a result of their injuries.
For example, if you lost $200 per day due to not being able to work after your accident, your lawyer would multiply that amount by the number of days you missed. If you couldn’t work for 40 days, your pain and suffering claim would be $16,000 ($200 x 40 x 2). Your pain and suffering calculation is added to the initial financial losses you sustained.
Contact The Law Place today to see if the per diem method is the right fit for your injury claim.
Insurance companies may use other methods to calculate personal injury damages. Multiplier and per diem methods often end in a figure that is too high for most insurance company executives to stomach.
Providers may utilize an algorithm to determine victim payouts. These use precedents set by previous settlements to calculate damages owed. For example, if someone suffered a herniated disk similar to your injury, you may be offered a payment that is the same as theirs. If they received $15,000, you may as well. This way of calculating pain and suffering disregards the individual circumstances of an accident or the unique characteristics of the people involved.
There are other methods of calculating pain and suffering that insurance companies or lawyers may use to find your settlement. However, multiplier and per diem methods are the most commonly used.
Is There a Limit to How Much Your Personal Injury Settlement Can Be?
Depending on the strength of your case, there is typically no upward limit on the worth of a pain and suffering claim. One plaintiff may get $200,000, the next a million.
There is a limit to personal injury cases directed at the state or local government. The maximum pain and suffering claim allowed against government bodies in Florida is $200,000, according to Florida Statute 768.28.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Claim Pain and Suffering?
At The Law Place, we always recommend enlisting a lawyer to make your claim of pain and suffering. Although you can do it on your own, facing extremely large, billion-dollar insurance companies, who have teams of lawyers and adjusters working day and night against your claim is a daunting task. Having the legal aid of a qualified law firm means you will have the knowledge and experience at your disposal to get the compensation you deserve.
Consult Our Experienced Team of Personal Injury Attorneys Today
Have you sustained a serious injury as the result of an auto accident or premises liability? Have you experienced physical, mental, or emotional anguish as a result?
Insurance can’t always get you the justice you deserve, but The Law Place can.
Here at The Law Place, we pride ourselves on having a team of exceptional attorneys with over 75 years of combined experience ready to fight on your behalf. You will have a team of lawyers at your disposal to investigate your accident and pursue your court case. Our law firm offers a free consultation so you know your legal options and how to proceed with your claim.
The Law Place attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. We don’t get paid until you do. Contingency fee structuring is monitored by the Florida State Bar Association.
Schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys today.
Call The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.