If you sustained devastating injuries in a car wreck due to another person’s intentional, reckless, or negligent actions, you may recover compensation. However, determining what damages you can pursue and how much you will recover following your accident involves a complex process, especially when valuing your pain and suffering damages.
To help you understand this process and provide you with the clarity you need, we prepared this blog. In it, we will go over everything you need to know about pain and suffering damages, how to calculate these damages, and how an experienced car accident attorney can help you get the financial recovery you deserve.
What Do Pain and Suffering Damages Mean?
Pain and suffering, in legal terms, is the emotional and physical stress that results from an injury. It typically refers to the pain, anguish, discomfort, inconvenience, and emotional trauma accompanying an injury following an accident. For these reasons, pain and suffering damages are considered “non-economic” damages.
These damages are more subjective than the other damages and often harder to quantify, primarily because while these injuries are genuine, they will be personal to the individual experiencing them since everyone’s reaction to harm is different.
For example, some people following a car accident may develop depression, while others may experience the loss of quality of life due to their injuries. In addition, pain and suffering may also include a lack of energy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction, sleep issues, and substantial mood swings.
How Can You Recover Pain and Suffering Damages Following a Car Accident?
To recover damages related to pain and suffering in Florida, a car accident victim must first meet the state’s injury threshold.
Or in other words, if a car crash harmed you, you cannot pursue pain and suffering damages unless the accident has resulted in:
- A significant and permanent loss of important bodily functions
- An injury that will likely be permanent, other than disfigurement or scarring
- Disfigurement or permanent scarring
To determine if you meet this injury threshold, you should discuss your accident with a skilled car accident attorney. These lawyers can go over the facts of your accident and determine if you meet the elements of pursuing these specific damages.
Different Methods of Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages
Pain and suffering damages cannot be calculated simply by looking at your out-of-pocket costs or other bills related to the accident.
Rather specific techniques calculate pain and suffering damages, including:
- The multiplier method multiplies your economic damages by a number to calculate pain and suffering
- The per diem method assigns a value to each day a victim is injured until they heal or die from their injuries
The Multiplier Method
The multiplier method takes a number and multiplies it by an accident’s economic costs, such as medical expenses, property damages, and other quantifiable losses. This multiplier will typically depend on the factors of your accident, including the severity of your injuries and whether you will need life-long medical treatment.
Permanent injuries, such as severe spinal court damage or brain trauma, will generally use the highest multiplier. However, to best understand this method and what multiplier may apply to your case, you should reach out to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible following your accident. These legal professionals can help you understand what this method involves and what factors may influence your multiplier.
The Per Diem Method
The per diem method assigns a specific monetary figure to each day a victim suffers from their injuries following an accident and will only stop when they reach maximum medical improvement. This date can be when the victim completely heals or a medical care expert determines they will never achieve complete improvement.
However, this method may not work well if you sustain long-term or permanent injuries.
Choosing the Best Method For Your Pain and Suffering Damages
Determining which method you should use following your car accident to assess your pain and suffering damages is not always straightforward. After your accident, you should reach out to a knowledgeable car accident attorney as soon as you can. These legal professionals can review your situation, determine which of these approaches is the best for you, and help you fight for maximum compensation.
Factors That May Affect Your Pain and Suffering Damages
Although different methods can calculate your pain and suffering damages, no lawyer can guarantee compensation. Too many factors can affect the value of your claim and, as a result, the amount of money you can receive.
Take, for instance:
- The severity and extent of your injuries
- The type of medical treatments you will need now and in the future
- The amount of evidence there is to support your claim
- The ability to work following the accident
- Your lost income
- The eventual prognosis of the injury
- The credibility of this evidence presented
- The defendant’s culpability
- The consistency of the statements presented regarding what happened and your level of pain
Due to the complexity of these factors, it is recommended you work with an experienced car accident attorney following your accident. These lawyers can review each of these factors, determine which ones have the most significant impact on your claim, and prepare the strongest arguments in response to them as they fight for the financial damages you deserve.
Evidence That Can Help You Prove Your Pain and Suffering Damages
If you want to secure pain and suffering damages following your car accident, you must show that you deserve them. To do this, your attorney can collect evidence to help prove these damages, the extent of these damages, and why you are entitled to them:
#1. Specific Reports and Documentation
Your attorney can obtain documents that support your claim by establishing what happened and the severity of your injuries, including:
- The police report
- The medical reports
- Inspection records
#2. Photos and Videos
Your attorney can look for photos and videos of the accident scene from dashcams, traffic cams, and cell phones. Specifically, they will try to find pictures or other evidence of your visible injuries following the accident, the vehicles involved in the collision, the damage to your car, road defects on the street, traffic signs and signals near the area, the weather conditions at the time of the collision, and any other evidence that can show what happened, who was at fault, and your injuries endured.
#3. Witness Statements
If there were people present at the scene at the time of the accident and saw what transpired, your attorney may try to get their details and statements. These individuals can often provide them with further information regarding the incident and offer testimony that can help validate your legal claim.
#4. Expert Statements
Your attorney may bring in experts to discuss your injuries and other aspects of the accident, including medical doctors, accident reconstructionists, and even a vocational therapist.
Limits on Pain and Suffering Damages
Unfortunately, you face some limitations when seeking pain and suffering damages. According to Florida’s statute of limitations, you only have four years after a car accident to file a lawsuit to pursue pain and suffering damages.
If you fail to file your suit within this time, you can not go after the compensation you need following the accident.
Do not wait too long to pursue a legal claim to obtain the compensation you need. Rather, reach out to an experienced attorney for a car accident as soon as possible after your car collision. A car accident lawyer can determine not only how much time you have to file your case, but they can also prepare and file your legal documents with the appropriate court before time runs out.
Other Types of Damages You May Recover Following a Motor Vehicle Accident
In addition to non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, car crash victims may also recover economic damages. These damages refer to the actual and verifiable losses resulting from an accident.
They include losses such as:
- Past and present medical bills related to doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medical devices, prescription medications, and other treatment costs following the accident
- Future ongoing medical care
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Domestic replacement services
- Other expenses related to the accident
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help You Get the Pain and Suffering Damages You Deserve?
A complicated analysis will determine the monetary damages you can pursue after a car accident. Worse yet, following this devastating accident, this is probably the last thing you want to worry about.
Fortunately, when you work with an experienced car accident attorney, you will not have to go after these damages on your own.
Instead, once you hire a lawyer, they can:
- Determine if you have a valid legal claim, and figure out what legal options you can pursue.
- Go over all your questions regarding your legal options and remedies and provide you with the legal support you need.
- Investigate the accident and secure the evidence needed to show what happened and who was at fault for your injuries and losses.
- Bring in the experts to validate your case and substantiate your pain and suffering claim.
- Handle all the settlement negotiations with the other side and go after the monetary damages you deserve.
- Take your case to trial if the other side won’t pay you the money you need, and fight for maximum pain and suffering damages.
If you or your family member suffered significant trauma in a car accident due to the wrongful actions of another, and you want to get the financial compensation you need, do not wait any longer to call a lawyer for your car accident.