Florida Law: What Constitutes The Need For Pain & Suffering Injury Costs?
A lot of pain and suffering claims arise because of car accidents; whether that be as occupants during a crash, or as victims of a hit-and-run. However, there are many more ways to receive injuries in and around the home and at the workplace.
What is Pain & Suffering Exactly?
Pain and suffering can be divided into two types: physical and mental. Physical pain covers the pain endured during recovery and rehabilitation, and extends into the future, as claimants may not be able to partake of activities they once enjoyed.
Mental suffering covers…
…and a few other emotions if they are experienced as a direct result of the accident.
Pain and suffering are subjective issues and so are very difficult to measure. Courts realize the difficulty faced by the jurors and will usually instruct them to use their best judgment. However, there are still factors they can use to help them assign a monetary value to a claim.
A few of the common factors used in calculating an amount for damages due to pain and suffering include:
• Economic losses suffered because of the pain
• Factoring in pre-existing conditions
• Age of the injured party
• The possibility of ongoing issues
• The severity of the injury or injuries
It’s not an easy thing to come up with a dollar amount, which is why many attorneys adopt a strategy known as the ‘multiplier method.’ If there is a claim for lost income amounting to $70,000, an attorney will present a figure of three times that amount ($210,000) as fair compensation for the pain and suffering.
Cost Breakdown if Pain & Suffering Damages
An attorney may also put a dollar amount on a weekly activity the claimant may have enjoyed with their spouse in the past but will be unable to do so in the future. For argument’s sake let’s say the claimant is 42 years old, and the figure for the activity could be anything in the range of $5 to $100.
As the claimant can be expected to live another 40 years, the price arrived at as compensation for the pain and suffering could be anywhere between $10,400 and $208,000 (40 years x 52 weeks x the dollar amount).
Upper limits on claims fluctuate wildly from county to county, but Florida does not impose a cap on claims for pain and suffering – although malpractice claims are limited to a maximum amount of $500,000.
Florida also has a “pure comparative negligence” rule, which can affect the final payout figure of a claim. Pure comparative negligence considers that the plaintiff may have been negligent at some level. With both parties shouldering part of the blame, it’s left to the courts to decide on how much damages should be reduced relative to the level of negligence assigned to the plaintiff.
If you have suffered injury due to an accident in Florida, know that you don’t have to pursue a claim on your own. There are experienced attorneys who have been helping thousands of Florida residents for years and who want to help you get the claim you rightly deserve.
Injuries Can Occur Anywhere
As we said, injuries can come from anywhere; for instance, the seemingly innocuous rise of flat screen televisions has been the cause of more than 17,000 children (18 years and younger) being treated in the emergency room because of injuries sustained from a falling TV. Since the introduction of flat-screen TVs, hospital visits from TV-related accidents has risen 125%. [*1]
A lot of these injuries are due to incorrectly mounting the sets on the walls, but some responsibility must be attributable to the manufacturer in more than a few instances.
In Florida, motor vehicle crashes occurring between 2011 and 2012 saw a jump in occurrences from 117,900 to over 130.900, an 11% jump. As expected, there was a corresponding 9% rise in injuries. With more accidents happening each year the more important it becomes for victims to seek advice and guidance from experienced attorneys who specialize in such claims. [*2]
Claims for Personal Injury from Auto Accidents
Florida is the only state which has “no-fault” car insurance and accident compensation laws. What this means for a claimant is that the claim must be lodged with the insurance company under “personal injury protection” coverage. If injuries are severe and cause permanent damage, then it is possible to file a claim against the other driver, and then onto a lawsuit if it is deemed necessary.
Whenever an injury occurs from an accident, seeking the services of an attorney will help you review the pertinent facts to determine if you have a case for a personal injury and pain and suffering lawsuit.
Damages for pain and suffering is financial compensation for the physical pain endured because of an accident and are separate from the claims process which seeks reimbursement for medical costs.
What this means is that a victim of an accident may be able to claim for more than the cost of the medical treatment, due to the pain and emotional distress caused by an injury.
In Florida, there are two classifications for the different types of compensation; economic (or special), and non-economic (or general). It’s not possible to add a cost for pain onto an invoice, so pain and suffering claims fall under the non-economic umbrella.
Without a clear-cut number on an invoice to work from, juries often struggle at coming up with a dollar amount that represents an appropriate level of compensation.
[*1] Child Injuries: Unsecured Televisions a Top Cause and Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer [Blog Article], retrieved from https://www.lawteam.com/2018/01/31/child-injuries-unsecured-televisions-top-cause-hire-personal-injury-lawyer/
[*2] 7 Surprising Stats About Florida Auto Accidents [Blog Article], retrieved from https://www.lowmanlawfirm.com/blog/bid/104458/7-Surprising-Stats-About-Florida-Auto-Accidents