The consequences of an injury-causing accident can be extensive, going beyond the costs of medical treatment and lost wages when you cannot work. There are effects for your quality of life, routine, and personal relationships, which could be long-term. You could also suffer emotionally because of your injuries, as depression, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and other medical conditions are common.
Florida law allows you to recover compensation for these issues, which are commonly referred to as pain and suffering. However, there must be some basis for proving them to receive these amounts as monetary damages. Talk to your Miami personal injury lawyer about the details, and read on for some general information.
Understanding Pain and Suffering
You may know what each individual term means in common usage, but pain and suffering is actually a specific legal concept in a personal injury case. In short, it refers to the physical and emotional implications that result from bodily harm. Any medical condition, discomfort, or impact on your quality of life could fall under the category of pain and suffering.
Because your experience is subjective and personal to you, there is really no document you can present to show a dollar value of your pain and suffering. For this reason, compensation for these losses is “non-economic” in nature, as opposed to economic damages like medical bills and lost wages.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering
The underlying legal issues are challenging, but there are ways of calculating the amount you might be entitled to receive for pain and suffering. Different approaches include:
General Factors: For purposes of settlement discussions and in court, some of the pain and suffering considerations that you and your attorney will review are:
- The nature and severity of your injuries, and the parts of the body they affect;
- Whether you will need additional or ongoing medical care;
- The implications for your occupation or professional opportunities;
- Whether you sustained scarring or disfigurement;
- Impact on your daily routine and activities;
- How your injuries affect your quality of life;
- Whether your injuries are permanent; and,
- Many more.
Multiplier Used by Insurance Companies: In addition to the above factors, many insurers use a documented formula for putting a value on pain and suffering. This method involves adding up the amount of your economic damages, including medical bills, lost income, and out-of-pocket costs. Then, a claims adjuster will assign a “severity” multiplier ranging from 1-5 based on the nature of your injuries. Your economic damages are multiplied by this number to arrive at the amount for pain and suffering.
A Miami Personal Injury Attorney can Explain Valuation in Accident Claims
This explanation of how to calculate pain and suffering may seem straightforward, but the issues are actually far more complex. You could be fighting with an insurance company regarding the amount, and the formulas are even more convoluted if you need to go to court. To learn more about non-economic damages in a Florida personal injury case, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can meet with you for free at any of our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach.
(image courtesy of Gregory Pappas)