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Pain & Suffering in Car Accidents

Back of man's head with a hand rubbing his shoulder.

No one wants to be involved in a lawsuit. Unfortunately, when someone causes you injuries or other damages, filing a lawsuit in order to obtain justice may be necessary. If you are not well versed in the law, then consider brushing up on it as there are several terms and concepts used within the context of lawsuits that are not fully understood by non-lawyers. The idea of “pain and suffering” is promoted in advertisements and in popular culture. It is not unusual for victims of car accidents to experience pain and discomfort because of an incident. But what does that mean for your lawsuit? Let’s take a look at what pain and suffering means under Florida law and what you can expect to recover if you have been involved in a car accident.

What Is Pain & Suffering?

We have all heard the phrase “pain and suffering” uttered in connection with lawsuits. While it may seem self-explanatory, there are a few things that you should know with respect to how it is defined under Florida law. Pain and suffering in personal injury lawsuits falls into two separate categories: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering.

Physical pain and suffering results from discomfort and agony that is caused by actual physical injuries. In a car accident, physical injuries can range from nerve damage to broken limbs. While it may be impossible to fully gauge an individual’s level of pain and suffering, it is accepted that certain physical injuries are known to cause more pain than others. Mental pain and suffering includes anguish, frustration, or distress that results from the physical injuries that someone suffers.

An example of mental pain and suffering is the anguish connected to the loss of mobility resulting from the physical injuries suffered in an accident. When a physical injury prevents you from doing things that you love to do, that may result in a mental pain and suffering claim. Unlike physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering can extend to the loved ones of the person who is involved in the accident. An example is a man who loses his wife in a deadly car crash. The emotional distress caused by the loss may entitle the husband to compensation for mental pain and suffering even though he was not physically injured in the crash.

How Florida Treats Pain & Suffering

In dealing specifically with car accidents, Florida is considered a no-fault state. What this means is that those involved in car accidents must look to their own insurance carriers to recover out of pocket costs associated with those incidents. An example of this is medical bills and lost wages. A claim for pain and suffering can only be brought if a lawsuit is filed in connection with the car accident.

Further, a claim for pain and suffering in Florida can only be pursued if the injuries result in the following:

  • Death
  • Disfigurement or permanent scars
  • Permanent Injury
  • Significant, permanent loss of function

Even if you meet the injury threshold, it should be noted that a claim for pain and suffering is typically pursued when a settlement between the parties cannot be reached. While many of the cases often settle out of court, it may be necessary to file suit in order to compel the other party to fully compensate you for your loss.

How Much Is My Pain & Suffering Worth?

Predicting how much your pain and suffering claim is worth is difficult to do without analyzing your specific case. While Florida has no cap on how much you can recover for pain and suffering, typically the more severe an injury, the higher the pain and suffering award will be. Additionally, there are several factors that the court may look at in calculating the value of your pain and suffering claim. It is important to remember that pain and suffering not only encompasses current discomfort, but also the length of recovery and the chance of future complications and aggravation.

Here are a few potential factors that the court may consider:

  • The severity of the injuries
  • The likelihood of recovery
  • Amount or length of rehabilitation
  • Medical treatment already undergone
  • Effect on the enjoyment of life

The Watson Law Firm Can Help You Receive the Compensation You Deserve

Here at The Watson Law Firm, we understand how your pain and suffering can drastically affect your quality of life. We will analyze your medical records, go over how your injuries have affected your lifestyle, and fight hard to make sure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to because of your injuries. Do not hesitate to contact our office for a free no-obligation consultation.

Get in touch with our car accident attorney at The Watson Firm by calling 850-607-2929 or by contacting us online today.