Getting damages after an accident is an important part of the recovery process. Even seemingly minor injuries can cause permanent damage that affect your day-to-day life. When the worst happens and the injuries are particularly severe, damages help families deal with the expenses involved in recovery.
Beyond the easily calculable damages for physical injuries, pain and suffering is an important category of damages that covers the injuries you can’t see. However, because pain and suffering affects different people in different ways, it’s one of the most complicated categories of damages to evaluate.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
In general, damages fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages cover the economic losses someone suffers because of their injury—things like lost wages or damage to their personal property during the accident.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, cover the injuries to a person that deserve compensation but which are not easily quantifiable. Damages for pain and suffering belong in this category and are designed to make someone whole for the “pain and suffering” caused by their injuries.
Physical vs. Emotional Pain and Suffering
As you might expect, pain and suffering can be both physical and emotional. Physical pain and suffering covers damage to your body. Scarring, disfigurement, and broken bones are common examples of injuries that cause physical pain and suffering.
Mental or emotional pain and suffering is based on non-physical injuries, such as
- Depression or anxiety;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- Sleep disturbances, like nightmares and insomnia;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Loss of consortium.
Emotional pain and suffering is particularly tricky because although it may be medically provable, it’s very difficult to evaluate in terms of monetary compensation.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Every accident is different, and injuries may have different lasting effects on different people. Typically, however, calculating pain and suffer starts by considering a few basic factors:
- How severe are your injuries?
- What kind of physical therapy will you need and for how long?
- Were there any preexisting conditions?
- How old were you when the injury occurred?
- Will the injuries affect your day-to-day life, including work obligations?
- How long will your recovery take?
None of these questions is particularly easy to answer. Nevertheless, an experienced personal injury attorney can use the answers to value your pain and suffering settlement.
There are two main methods used to calculate that settlement. With the multiplier method, your attorney will pick a “multiplier” from one to five, based on the severity of your injury. Then your attorney multiplies your economic damages by that number to reach a pain and suffering settlement.
For example, if the total cost of your physical therapy, hospital bills, and car repair bills after an accident was $50,000 and you suffered serious injuries, the attorney might argue that you should get $200,000 for pain and suffering.
In the per diem method, damages are calculated based on the “per day” impact of your injuries and the length of your recovery.
It may be difficult to estimate the daily value of your suffering, but one common method is to equate it to your daily wage. So your per diem pain and suffering might be your daily income multiplied by the length of time it takes you to recover.
Is There a Cap on Pain and Suffering Settlements in Florida?
No, Florida law does not have a cap on damages for pain and suffering. Florida law does place a cap on punitive damages (those intended to punish the wrongdoer), but both economic and noneconomic damages have no limit in personal injury cases.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering
Florida pain and suffering is one of the more complex aspects of personal injury litigation. In general, witness testimony, medical records, and other evidence can help establish pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution that works in every case. Although they may appear similar, every personal injury case is different. As a result, having an attorney familiar with pain and suffering cases is the only way to make sure you get the pain and suffering settlement you deserve.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation, including damages for pain and suffering.
Grossman Attorneys at Law believes in providing personal service alongside excellent legal representation. To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today online or by phone at 800-940-8048 for a free consultation.