When you’re injured in an accident due to the negligence of someone else – whether that is in a car accident or a slip and fall in a local grocery store – you can usually pursue compensation for your injuries from the at fault party’s insurance company.
In Florida, when you’re injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, the law states that you can seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages simply means the damages that are easily calculated such as medical bills, lost wages, etc. Non-economic damages however refer to what is more commonly known as “pain and suffering.”
Damages from pain and suffering include any resulting pain from bodily injury that you have suffered including disability, physical impairment, mental anguish, inconvenience or loss of capacity for enjoyment of life experienced in the past or to be experienced in the future. Fundamentally, it’s compensation for having to go through everything you’ve been through or will go through as a result of the accident or injury. For example, your medical bills may be covered, but it does not compensate you for the never being able to use your arm to swing a tennis racket again.
In the state of Florida, there is no exact standard for measuring such damage, other than it should be fair and just in regards to the evidence. That’s why it’s so important to have a skilled attorney on your side that understands how to present pain and suffering damages at trial in order for you to be compensated accordingly.
In most cases when there is clear fault, the injured party will receive some sort of compensation for pain and suffering. Most insurance companies recognize that if you have been in a car accident, that you deserve something for the pain and inconvenience it has caused. As is typically the case, most insurance companies initial offer is low. But, as stated before, with good legal representation, this number can be increased to more acceptable levels. The way an insurance company calculates the compensation number for pain and suffering includes such factors as:
- Severity of the injury
- Pain and discomfort associated with the injury
- How the injury has impacted your life and ability to work
- The amount of medical treatment required
- Future care and healing process
Most attorneys and insurance companies use what’s called the multiplier method, or some sort of formula to determine actual compensation. Under this method, pain and suffering are calculated based on a multiple of the “special” damages of medical bills and lost wages. The multiple may be two, three, or even ten times these damages – there is no set multiple.
Another method of calculation is called the per diem method. The idea here is to demand a certain dollar amount for every day you had to live with the pain caused by your accident. The proper way to make sure your daily rate is “reasonable” is to use your actual, daily earnings by making the argument the pain caused by your injuries every day is at least comparable to the effort of going to work each day.
Damages in a personal injury case, whether they’re economic or non-economic, are generally limited to the coverage limits of the insurance policy. Often, this means that a person cannot sue an insurance company for a million dollars if the insurance coverage the defendant held only had a limit of $50,000.
Whether you’re seeking economic, non-economic or both types of damages, it’s vitally important to remain in constant communication with your doctors and report any pain and discomfort you’re feeling. It’s important that your pain and suffering is well documented and becomes a permanent part of your medical record. That way, when it comes time to do so, your attorney can help make the best case possible given the evidence at hand.
If you or someone you care about has been injured or involved in an accident, contact the Miami personal injury attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen at 305-374-1011 or visit fairnessforall, for an absolutely free and confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.