People talk about damages for “pain and suffering” all the time in the context of a lawsuit. But what does pain and suffering mean? Pain and suffering is the legal term for damages that are not quite tangible but nevertheless very real for those who experience them. How these damages are calculated and how to calculate a reasonable amount of pain and suffering damages in your case are important things to know when filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida.
It is too complicated to simply speculate about what would be reasonable compensation without the facts of the specific case. However, we can provide you with the common methods used by insurance adjusters and courts to arrive at pain and suffering calculations so that you can try to get as close as possible to what a fair value would be in your case. Still, the best way to get a fair estimate of a reasonable pain and suffering amount for your case in Florida is to speak to an attorney.
At South Florida Law, PLLC, we can analyze the facts of your specific claim so that you have an idea of what you are rightly owed as a result of your experience. Our experienced Ft. Lauderdale personal injury attorneys will take your initial call for free to help you determine your best course of action. To set up your initial appointment, call our offices at (954) 932-7877.
How is Pain and Suffering Calculated for an Insurance Settlement in Florida?
Typically, most potential plaintiffs in Florida will receive a settlement offer from the opposing party’s insurance provider before they even get the chance to file their lawsuit. A settlement is an agreement between a potential plaintiff and the opposing party where the plaintiff agrees to give up their right to bring a lawsuit in exchange for a negotiated sum of money.
Insurance companies hope to be able to avoid going to court while also offering you less than you stand to make in court. But the larger insurance companies don’t have time to analyze each case, so they choose to use formulas to calculate what they should offer to a plaintiff in order to settle the claim.
The most common formula that insurance companies use is known as the multiplier method. Insurance companies using the multiplier method will take the total amount of economic damages that are claimed and multiply that figure by a different number, depending on the nature of the accident. The multiplier is typically between one and five, with five representing the most severe instances of injury.
For instance, if a potential plaintiff is involved in a negligent car accident and suffers a severed arm as a result, the insurance multiplier would likely be between four and five to represent the trauma and lasting impact of the loss of a limb on the victim. If the total economic damages claimed are $10,000, and the multiplier is four, the total settlement offer will likely be around $50,000 ($10,000 in economic damages plus four times that – $40,000 – in pain and suffering). Conversely, where the plaintiff fractures a bone in their arm but is expected to regain full use of the arm, the multiplier used would likely be lower.
The identity of the plaintiff will also play a role in determining the multiplier. For example, the multiplier for a successful athlete in their twenties with a broken arm who is forced to miss time on the field will likely be substantially higher than the multiplier for a retiree in their sixties with the same injury.
Are There Limits on Pain and Suffering Amounts in Florida?
Some Florida courts may impose limits on non-economic damages like pain and suffering for injuries sustained because of medical malpractice. However, this issue is debated at the highest levels of court in Florida. If you suffered injuries from medical malpractice and are interested in how much you could recover for your pain and suffering, we recommend speaking to a seasoned Miami personal injury attorney.
As for other instances, Florida imposes no caps on pain and suffering amounts awarded in court. Still, you will have to make arguments in court that justify the amount of pain and suffering compensation that you are seeking for the court to agree to award you that amount.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering in a Florida Court
In order to demonstrate that you have experienced pain and suffering as a result of your injuries in Florida, you will need to provide evidence to support your claims. This evidence could come in a number of different forms.
Most commonly, your Hollywood personal injury attorney will introduce testimony about how your injuries have impacted you personally. This testimony could come from family members, friends, co-workers, or even yourself. Photo evidence of the accident site and medical testimony about the chronic pain that your injuries caused will also be useful. Your attorney can work with you to compile the evidence that will give you the best chance of recovery.
When Should I Accept a Settlement Offer for Pain and Suffering in Florida?
As a rule of thumb, never sign anything that an insurance representative offers you without first speaking to a Davie personal injury attorney. Insurance companies want you to accept their first offer to limit their liability and ultimately pay you less than you deserve. You may have an attorney negotiate on your behalf so that you avoid backing yourself into a corner or making statements that the insurance company could use against you in court.
We Can Help You Get the Right Pain and Suffering Amount in Florida
If you are dealing with the consequences of an injury, you deserve the help of the dedicated Hallandale personal injury attorneys at South Florida Law. To schedule your free consultation, call (954) 932-7877.