The pain and suffering you may experience after an accident can be claimed as damages in a car crash or personal injury case. However, finding out how much you might be owed can be difficult. Following your accident, you should be compensated for both economic and non-economic damages. Qualifying and quantifying your pain and suffering, considered non-economic damage, is harder to do than economic damages, such as medical bills or lost wages. There is no objective method to calculate pain caused by things like physical anguish, depression, anxiety, or loss of enjoyment. As such, you need a good lawyer to fight on your behalf and get you the maximum return on your personal injury.
You may be getting annoyed by the lack of information online about the average settlement amount for pain and suffering damages in Florida. This is because there is no average. Each case is unique and requires special attention to find out what you may be owed.
If you want answers quickly on how much you can claim, use this opportunity to contact us at The Law Place today. We offer a free consultation with no obligation to ensure that you know your options and can proceed confidently with your personal injury case. If it is determined that you have a legitimate claim in civil court or that settlement is in your best interest, we can provide a team of professional and qualified attorneys to aid you in your legal battle or settlement.
All of our attorneys work together on every case. We guarantee a thorough and experienced approach to all personal injury claims and can help lighten the load during your trying time. The Law Place works on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you do. Our pay structure will be outlined in your consultation, so there are no surprise fees or costs.
Call our law firm today to schedule your free consultation on (941) 444-4444.
What Is the Definition of Pain and Suffering in Florida?
Pain and suffering, as defined by Florida Statute 627.737, is the mental, emotional, or physical anguish caused by negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior. In major car accidents, it is common to seek pain and suffering damages with a lawyer in civil court. This is qualified as non-economic damages, unlike economic damages that pertain to the property damage and medical bills associated with a crash. The technical term lawyers use for pain and suffering is general damages, separate from special damages which your attorney may wish to pursue as well.
Pain and suffering can be broken down into multiple categories, which your lawyer can claim damages on your behalf.
- Physical – This refers to the literal physical pain you might experience following the events of a car crash. This includes anguish caused directly by the injuries you sustained, both during the event and afterward in the process of recovery.
- Mental and emotional – This is also related to your injuries but pertains to a wider variety of anguish. This includes, but is not limited to, depression, anxiety, PTSD, anger, insomnia, loss of enjoyment of life, shame or humiliation, and fear.
While some people might think that these symptoms are something that no one is directly responsible for, Florida courts say otherwise. It is important to recognize that these types of anguish experienced by car crash victims are real. They deserve compensation for their anguish.
If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms due to the result of a crash or accident, you may be entitled to damages.
For a free legal consultation, call 941-444-4444
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated After an Accident?
In Florida, calculating pain and suffering can be a complex task almost exclusively suited to the professional skills of a lawyer. General damages are tough to quantify, let alone qualify, in the eyes of the court. Your attorney must argue that something like depression or anxiety deserves a measured amount of compensation.
In order to do so, many attorneys will rely on the “multiplier method” or the “per diem” approach.
In the process of arguing your personal injury case, your attorney may argue that the compensation you are entitled to should be quantified in relation to the severity of your injury. This is typically done on a scale of one to five. For example, if you or your insurance pays $10,000 for a severe neck injury and you lost $2,000 from being unable to work, your total cost would be $12,000. Add in the fact that you suffered great physical pain and couldn’t perform your household duties, your multiplier would be four.
Factoring in medical bills, loss of income, physical pain, and loss of quality of life, your lawyer would argue for $48,000 ($12,000 x four) in pain and suffering damages. The court or opposing legal team may argue for less, but this provides a valuable benchmark for evaluating the pain and suffering damages of your personal injury claim.
Per Diem Method
The per diem, or “per day,” method is a way of calculating your damages based on your quantifiable losses per day. For example, if your lawyer argues that your daily lost wages equal $200 and you have been unable to work for a period of 90 working days, your damages claim would come to $18,000. You must provide legally valid reasoning for coming to this figure.
Although this method is easier when arguing for lost income due to your pain and suffering, it may not be in your best interest if you have experienced a long-term traumatic injury. If you haven’t been able to work for a longer period of time because of your accident, you may not be able to claim damages that accurately fit the anguish you have experienced.
Your insurance company is under no obligation to use the above two methods when determining damages owed to you. Although they are the most commonly used, there are other ways of calculating pain and suffering.
Insurance companies may especially wish to avoid using these methods because they can result in higher payouts. One way they might decide is by using a precedent-based methodology. For example, if you have suffered a spinal cord injury, an insurer might determine to give you the same benefit owed to a client in a previous case. If they got paid $10,000, you might be paid the same amount, even if your medical bills don’t equate.
It is important to have a lawyer on your side when determining the methodology of your injury claim. Legalese is hard to decipher, and an experienced personal injury attorney can help you figure out your best course of action.
Using the multiplier, per diem, or another method of calculating pain and suffering should be decided upon by you and your attorney. Whatever agreement you come to should best fit your needs after the accident and the strengths of your personal injury case.
What Does No-Fault Law in Florida Mean?
Florida is one of around twelve states that abide by the No-Fault law in relation to car accidents. This means that car accident claims cannot be brought to civil court and that insurance companies must cover the accident, no matter whose fault it is. How much is covered depends on the individual policy of the insured. Florida Statute 627.7407 states all operators of a motor vehicle must be covered by auto insurance. Without insurance, involved parties must pay the determined damages out of pocket and may be subject to fines for being uninsured.
The pain and suffering you may experience after a minor accident cannot be used as a claim against your insurance coverage. Minor injuries are covered under No-Fault laws and do not qualify for pain and suffering damages.
Only for major accidents in which the Florida serious injury threshold is passed can you claim pain and suffering damages or file a lawsuit in civil court.
What Is the Legal Threshold for Serious Injury?
According to Florida Statutes Chapter 627, car accident victims can only pursue damages for pain and suffering if their injuries resulted in:
- Permanent injury.
- Loss of mobility or function.
- Significant disfigurement or permanent scarring.
Unless your injuries meet these criteria, you will not be able to claim general damages for serious injury and will be directed to your insurance coverage under Florida No-Fault laws.
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Do Insurance Companies Pay for Pain and Suffering?
Essentially, yes, insurance companies do pay for pain and suffering. Although Florida No-Fault laws mean pain and suffering cannot be claimed in the case of a minor accident, if the serious injury threshold is passed, you may make a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance. You can do this through a lawsuit in civil court or settlement
If the individual deemed liable for the accident does not have insurance, making a claim against them is very difficult. Florida law makes it very hard to make claims against the incomes of individuals, and insurance providers are almost always the ones who pay for damages.
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, this tends to be the story of David and Goliath, without the happy ending. Facing down extremely large, billion-dollar insurance companies with 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, experience, and relationships at your disposal to get the compensation you deserve.
What Is the Average Pain and Suffering Settlement?
As stated above, there is no average pain and suffering settlement. Each case is unique. How much money you make, your relative physical and mental anguish, your personal loss of livelihood, or mobility all factor into your settlement.
In your research online, you may find pain and suffering calculators that might inform your opinion on the damages owed to you. However, there are many problems with these sorts of tools. Insurance companies do not use these calculators. They have teams of adjusters who will determine what they think you are entitled to. Do not be fooled by web tools stating in absolute terms how much you might be owed.
Is There a Limit to How Much Your 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.
The only limit is in 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.
Consult Our Experienced Team of Pain and Suffering Attorneys Today
Have you experienced pain and suffering because of negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior? Have you sustained an injury as a result? Your insurance company can’t always help you, but having a great law firm on your side can.
Here at The Law Place, we pride ourselves on having a team of experienced and exceptional attorneys ready to fight on your behalf. All of our attorneys work together on every case, and no stone will be left unturned as we investigate and ready your claim for settlement or court. All our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we won’t get paid until you do. Contingency fee structuring is monitored by the Florida State Bar Associations.
If you have been in an accident that resulted in personal injury, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule your free consultation.