As you move closer to a complete recovery from an automobile accident, it’s natural to begin speculating about a future settlement. We’ve all heard stories of someone receiving a million-dollar judgment for whiplash or tens of thousands of dollars for a broken finger. Stories like this are news because they are unusual or unexpected, not because they represent the typical reasonable outcome in a case. Moreover, these stories, while entertaining, are often untrue, or tell us only part of the keys facts. None of this helps you to understanding how pain and suffering is actually calculated in order to determine your claim value.
The first thing to understand is that Pain and Suffering damages are actually not limited to just Pain and Suffering. People refer to this category of damages as Pain and Suffering, but the actual things that a jury can consider are more than just Pain and Suffering. It is worth looking at the Florida Jury Instruction on these damages:
Any bodily injury sustained by Claimant and any resulting pain and suffering, disability or physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience or loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life experienced in the past or to be experienced in the future. There is no exact standard for measuring such damage. The amount should be fair and just in the light of the evidence.
The next key thing is understanding that every injury claim is unique. While a broken finger is a broken finger, the impact that injury has you, your family and your career, is unique to you. A broken finger might be an inconvenience to one person, but for a surgeon, artist or sports star, it might end a career.
Often the negligent party’s insurance carrier will not acknowledge these unique facts. Insurance companies save costs by looking at every injured person and every injury from the same perspective. This results in them making low settlement offers for pain, suffering and other non-economic damages. That’s why hiring an experienced Miami or Naples personal injury attorney is so important.
So how much is pain and suffering worth?
Pain and suffering is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. It’s based on your specific injury and your post-accident recovery experience. It also takes into account how the injury affects or limits you. A personal injury settlement or court determined award is typically broken down into two components: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include medical expenses and lost wages in the past as well expected future medical expenses and future wage losses.
Non-economic damages, usually called Pain and Suffering damages, are far more difficult to prove. They are very fact intensive and some of the key factors that are considered include:
- Seriousness of injury.
- Recovery duration.
- Whether the injury effects are permanent.
- What effect the injury has on how you live.
Documenting Pain & Suffering
It’s important to obtain proof of how your pain and suffering affects your day-to-day life. Journal entries may be helpful to reinforce your memories when describing your pain and suffering during a court proceeding. It may help to write down when you missed an important family event because of a surgery or note how many days you spent in a wheelchair or on crutches as you recovered. Topics or themes you should consider documenting include:
- Your pain’s location and intensity.
- Discomfort from treatments, hospitalization, surgeries and procedures.
- Emotional turmoil due to your injuries.
- Household tasks you are unable to perform because of pain.
- Tasks you attempt to accomplish but can’t because of pain and discomfort.
- Disruptions in your family and personal life due to ongoing pain.
An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Our knowledgeable Miami and Naples accident attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen will put your priorities first. If you or a loved one has been injured or involved in an accident across South Florida or Southwest Florida, contact the accident lawyers and Miami and Naples personal injury attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen at 305-374-1011 or 239-793-3331. Or visit fairnessforall.com for an absolutely free legal consultation to learn more about your options.