Calculating Pain and Suffering After an Auto Accident in Florida
Traffic accidents often lead to injuries. Injuries almost always lead to pain. Pain is pretty much the definition – or at least one definition – of suffering. Would it make sense that you could recover damages for the medical bills for your traffic-accident injury, but not for the pain and suffering that accompany that injury? It is difficult to put a monetary value on pain and suffering, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recover damages for it. In fact, Florida law explicitly endorses the recovery of damages for pain and suffering as a result of injuries incurred in an accident that is the fault of another person. Because of the difficulties of proof with respect to pain-and-suffering damages, you probably should consult a Miami traffic accident attorney if you are injured in a car crash.
Florida Law Explicitly Allows Damages for Pain and Suffering but is Silent on Quantifying Those Damages
Under Florida law, a person injured in a traffic accident may recover damages for “for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease” that is the result a traffic accident. However, those damages are available only if the injuries include:
- Loss of an important bodily function that is significant and permanent
- An injury that is deemed permanent injury to a reasonable degree of medical probability, but not including scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
While Florida statutory law provides reasonably specific definitions of the kinds of injury that qualify for pain-and-suffering damages, jury instructions issued by the Florida Supreme Court appear to be somewhat more expansive. Those guidelines, given to juries in traffic accident cases involving injuries, allow damages for pain and suffering when there is “[i]njury, pain, disability, disfigurement, [or] loss of capacity for enjoyment of life.” That seems to be a somewhat broader definition than that provided by the statute. Nonetheless, you still have to prove such damages, and even the state Supreme Court concedes there “is no exact standard for measuring such damage,” stating only that the damages awarded for pain and suffering “should be fair and just in the light of the evidence.”
So, how do you prove damages for pain and suffering? The most obvious route is to document the pain and suffering you experience after your accident. Under the statute, certain conditions are obvious – paralysis, permanent loss of some other significant bodily function, some other permanent injury that can be shown likely will be permanent, and death. Beyond those injuries, things get more flexible under the Florida Supreme Court’s jury instructions. And the amount you can recover is defined exactly nowhere, save for the “fair and just” standard.
If You Have Been Injured in a Traffic Accident, Contact a Miami Traffic Accident Attorney
When you are injured in a traffic accident in the Miami area, it is possible that you are eligible to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. Because such damages can be difficult to prove, and even more difficult to quantify, you should consult with a Miami personal attorney who can help you determine what your options are for recovering damages. Contact Flagler Personal Injury Group at (305) 424-8445 or through our online contact form. Our personal injury lawyers serve the greater Miami area.
We handle a variety of cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami Auto Accident Attorney.