Car accidents frequently cause injuries to those involved. Unfortunately, car accident injuries can lead to major medical expenses for victims. In many cases, car accident victims may also experience immense pain and suffering due to the car accident and the correlating injuries. Compensation can be available for pain and suffering, but it is not as easy to calculate as other car accident damages.
Defining pain and suffering in a Florida car accident
Pain and suffering damages can be differentiated from other damages in a car accident. While these are compensable damages, they are separate from medical expenses and lost income. Pain and suffering damages are used to define the distress that a car accident victim sustains after an accident due to their injuries.
- Physical pain and suffering. This refers to the pain that a car accident victim experiences directly caused by their injuries (both right after the incident and throughout recovery).
- Mental pain and suffering. This is also related to a victim’s injuries but refers to a wide category of distress that a person could experience. This includes:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional and psychological distress
It is important to recognize that pain and suffering are real for many car accident victims. There is a reason these are considered compensable damages. Pain and suffering can negatively impact a person’s social, family, and work life. Compensation for these damages can help alleviate some of the stress that impacts car accident victims.
How are pain and suffering damages calculated?
Pain and suffering damages are different from other types of compensable damages in a car accident case. For medical bills and lost income, a victim will generally have concrete evidence of what the injury has cost them. They will have medical bills and pay stubs to use as proof. However, there are no receipts available for pain and suffering.
The court will consider several factors when working to calculate pain and suffering, including the following:
- The severity of the injuries
- Whether there will be ongoing consequences
- Age of the person injured
- The amount of economic loss suffered
In most cases, the value of pain and suffering will be arrived at using a “multiplier” method. Typically, thy attorney will use the economic damages and multiply them by a certain number (usually between one and five). For example, if economic damages come to $100,000 and a multiplier of three is used, the attorney could argue that the victim is entitled to approximately $300,000 in pain and suffering damages.
Recovering pain and suffering damages in Florida
Florida is a “no-fault” accident state. This can limit a victim’s ability to recover compensation for their pain and suffering damages. In general, a victim turns to their own insurance carrier for medical damages after a car accident. Pain and suffering damages can only be recovered if an injury reaches a certain threshold that allows a victim to file a personal injury lawsuit. These thresholds are as follows:
- Significant, permanent loss of function
- Permanent injury
- Disfigurement or permanent scars
A skilled Miami car accident attorney will be needed to review your case and determine how much you could be entitled to.