If you sustained serious injuries in a car accident, you might be considering legal action to recover your damages.
Personal injury attorneys generally include pain and suffering in the list of damages that victims might be entitled to recover in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Florida law, although complex, does allow accident victims to recover compensation for pain, suffering, emotional distress and mental anguish. To recover this compensation, however, the victim’s injuries must meet the statutory standards for severity.
If you do qualify for pain and suffering damages in Florida, you may be curious what the average pain and suffering settlements are in cases like yours. According to the personal injury settlement examples listed on this page, the typical Florida pain and suffering settlement amount is anywhere from $650,000 to $1,000,000. Settlements depend greatly on the unique circumstances of each case which is why there is no accurate average for an emotional distress settlement amount in Florida.
Understanding Pain and Suffering in Florida
If you’ve ever been seriously injured in an accident, you know that the damage is not always just physical. Emotional pain and suffering are part of the process. You may be entitled to legal compensation for pain and suffering in Florida from injuries caused by a liable party.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
The legal term “pain and suffering” refers to the physical and emotional injuries following an accident. These damages can be difficult to quantify.
It is reasonable to assume that the party that caused the accident would be responsible for related damages such as medical bills and other costs that you would not have otherwise incurred. Pain and suffering damages are much more subjective, but arguably just as important.
Determining Pain and Suffering
In determining the amount of pain and suffering an individual has sustained, a jury or a court may look at factors such as:
- the extent and duration of the personal injuries sustained;
- type of medical treatment received;
- the effect these injuries have on the well-being and overall mental and physical health of the plaintiff;
- the limitations the injury has placed on your ability to participate in activities and whether these limitations are permanent or temporary;
- the limitations the injury has placed on your ability to interact with your loved ones;
- the mental anguish and physical pain suffered in the past, and that may be expected to be experienced in the future;
- length of recovery, prognosis or long term impact of the injury;
- any disfigurement and embarrassment associated with such disfigurement;
- the loss of the capacity to enjoy life;
- age of the victim.
These factors play an important role in getting you what you deserve. Ultimately, however, it is up to a jury to determine what is reasonable in light of all the evidence in the case.
Some examples of things that may be recoverable as pain and suffering damages include:
If you fractured your arm in a car accident, and it causes you pain for six months, you could recover pain and suffering damages for the period of time that you are in pain and unable to engage in activities.
If you were burned in a car accident, you could receive and award for pain and suffering based on the permanent physical and psychological effects of the scarring and disfigurement.
Limitations of Damages
Florida, like many states, imposes a cap on the amount of non-economic damages that can be recovered in some types of lawsuits. In medical malpractice claims and some claims against governmental entities, there may be caps on the amount of recovery you can receive for pain and suffering.
Can I Sue for Pain and Suffering Under Florida Law?
Under the Florida statutes for pain and suffering, accident victims can recover compensation “…for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease.”
However, the victim’s injuries must meet at least one of the following standards:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; or
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
The statutes also allow recovery for pain and suffering if the victim died as a result of their injuries. In these cases, the victim’s family members can call on a wrongful death lawyer to help them pursue a claim.
AVERAGE PAIN AND SUFFERING SETTLEMENTS FAQ
Economic Damages vs Non-Economic Damages
There are two main types of compensation in Florida personal injury cases: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Compensation to cover actual costs of the property damage or injuries caused are called “economic damages.” This type of compensation is crucial to making sure that you are not financially burdened by the negligent actions of someone else.
The downside of purely economic damages is that they do not make up for the emotional burden or life changes that may occur because of the injury. Their purpose is just to pay the bills and cover expenses that would not have existed without the accident.
Once actual expenses are covered, the injured party must still deal with the mental and emotional consequences of the accident. Pain and suffering is a claim to cover these “non-economic” damages. Non-economic damages may include:
- Mental anguish,
- Loss of quality of life,
- Emotional and psychological distress,
- Anger, and
- Post-traumatic stress.
These types of damages are difficult to put a price on, but they can be debilitating and life-changing. You deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering.
Is There an Average Pain and Suffering Settlement Amount in Florida?
A pain and suffering claim is worth anywhere from $650,000 to $1,000,000 based on the examples that are listed on this page. Various factors impact the settlement value and every single personal injury case is different, and this is true even for each pain and suffering claim. If you have been searching for information about average pain and suffering settlement amounts in Florida, you might be getting frustrated by the lack of answers.
Here’s how to quickly and accurately identify the potential value of your claim, take advantage of the free consultation and case evaluation offered by Abrahamson & Uiterwyk. Our attorneys review the facts of your case and provide you with relevant information that applies specifically to your claim and potential settlement value.
Recent Pain and Suffering Settlement Examples in Florida
$135,000/Auto Accident/Pasco County/2022
Our client was traveling north on a rural two-lane road in Pasco County. As our client approached a vehicle heading south, that vehicle unexpectedly drifted into our client’s lane. Unable to avoid the other vehicle, our client was forced into a head-on collision when both vehicles were traveling at an estimated speed of 45 miles per hour. The resulting head-on impact was devastating and both vehicles were totaled.
As a result of the crash, our client suffered extensive internal injuries. He was rushed to the nearest hospital where he received emergent care and was subsequently admitted to the hospital. After spending 3 days in the hospital for treatment and observation he was discharged.
After his discharge from the hospital, our client came under the care of an orthopedic. The orthopedic prescribed our client a regiment of physical therapy, which aided our client in making a good recovery from his injuries.
The defendant vehicle did not possess bodily injury coverage, so a claim was made to the insurance company that provided our client with uninsured motorist coverage. After our attorneys engaged in aggressive negotiations with the insurance company (and threatening litigation), we were able to obtain a $135,000 settlement for our client. This amount compensated our client for their medical bills, injuries, and pain and suffering.
$650,000 / Premises Liability / Hillsborough County, FL
This accident occurred when our client, a 36-year-old medical assistant and teacher, was shopping at a Wal Mart in Brandon, Florida. Unfortunately, Wal Mart had allowed water to accumulate on the floor in the jewelry department of the store. The store also failed to take steps to clean up this dangerous condition or to warn customers of its presence. As our client was walking by the jewelry department, she unknowingly stepped into the water and slipped and fell hitting her head on the floor.
Immediately after the accident, our client was taken to the emergency room where she complained of headaches as well as neck, shoulder, and knee pain. After being treated at the hospital, an MRI scan was performed on her neck which revealed a herniated disc in the lower cervical spine. Following considerable conservative care, including therapy and injections, our client ultimately required surgery to repair the damage to her neck.
Wal Mart disputed that it had any responsibility for the accident. Their first offer to settle the case was $60,000, an amount that did not even cover our client’s medical bills, much less compensate her for her pain and suffering and lost wages. We rejected Wal Mart’s offer and filed a lawsuit against the company. We aggressively pursued discovery from Wal Mart by taking the depositions of numerous employees and, importantly, obtaining surveillance video from the store on the day of the accident. The video showed that a couple of other customers slipped in the water prior to the time our client fell. The video further showed several employees of the store walking by the spill but failing to conduct proper visual inspections that they were required by Wal Mart to perform.
The employees in their depositions all admitted that the water on the floor was a dangerous condition that presented a slipping hazard to their customers. Through these depositions and the video evidence, we were able to make the required showing that Wal Mart should have known about the water on the floor before our client’s fall. Recognizing that we had established the legal elements necessary to hold them liable for the accident, Wal Mart ultimately agreed to pay $650,000.00 to compensate our client. This was a terrific result, and our client was very happy with it.
$1,000,000 / Motorcycle Accident / Fractures / Sarasota County, FL
This tragic accident occurred at the intersection of 10th Street and Cocoanut Ave. in Sarasota, Florida. Our client, a 56-year-old caretaker and carpenter, was proceeding north on Cocoanut Ave. on his motorcycle when the defendant, who was southbound on Cocoanut Ave., violated our client’s right of way by turning left directly into his path. In the violent collision that followed, our client was ejected from his motorcycle and landed on the pavement in the intersection.
It was immediately obvious that our client had suffered serious injuries, and he was rushed to the emergency room at Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he was admitted. It was determined that he had sustained a compound fracture to both bones in his forearm as well as fractures to the hip, knee, and foot. Multiple surgeries were performed to repair the fractures. In addition to the fractures, out client also suffered a nerve injury in his arm and shoulder injuries which also required surgery.
The insurance company for the defendant driver initially attempted to claim that our client was partially responsible for the accident. Their first offer was only $115,000.00, an amount that didn’t even pay our client’s medical bills, let alone compensate him for his lost wages and pain and suffering damages. Therefore, in order to get our client properly compensated, we filed a lawsuit on his behalf and aggressively prosecuted the case. We attended multiple traffic court hearings and after the court was made aware of the facts we had discovered in our case, the judge found that the defendant was guilty of failure to yield right of way. Thereafter, we took the defendant’s deposition and were able to firmly establish that the accident was entirely his fault.
After the defendant’s insurance company hired new lawyers, the case proceeded to mediation. At that settlement conference, we were able to convince the insurance company to pay the defendant’s $1,000,000.00 policy limit to our client. This was a terrific result for our client, and he was very pleased with the outcome. We have represented victims of motorcycle accidents for over 30 years, and we hold drivers responsible when their carelessness causes injury to riders.
PAIN AND SUFFERING SETTLEMENT CALCULATOR FAQ
Can I Calculate My Pain and Suffering Compensation Amount Accurately Without Speaking to a Lawyer?
A quick internet search will provide access to any number of personal injury settlement calculators. Some of these calculators specifically address car accident settlement pain and suffering values.
Before you rely on these calculators to provide an accurate estimate of your claim’s value, however, consider these facts.
Insurance Companies Do Not Use Settlement Calculators
The insurance company reviewing your injury claim and settlement demand will take whatever steps are necessary to minimize their payout to you. Actuaries and legal experts will evaluate your injuries and prognosis personally before deciding how much compensation is appropriate.
If you use a calculator to determine how much compensation you deserve, the results are unlikely to be accurate and could be potentially misleading for you.
Calculators Cannot Interpret How Florida Law Applies to Your Injuries
Florida law allows victims to be compensated for pain and suffering only under very specific circumstances. No automated approach to calculating personal injury damages can interpret how the law might apply to your case or what the statutes will allow you to recover in your claim.
The Value of Your Pain and Suffering Is Unique
No two accident victims (or their injuries) are alike. For this reason, you need a legal expert to analyze your case.
A Florida car accident attorney understands how to calculate pain and suffering based on your case details and what’s allowable under state law.
AVERAGE PAIN AND SUFFERING SETTLEMENT FAQ
Are There Limits on How Much Money I Can Get for Pain and Suffering?
Florida does not have a cap on damages for pain and suffering personal injury claims. Relief for pain and suffering does depend on the type of personal injury case, the extent of the damages, and circumstances surrounding the accident.
How Does Florida’s Injury Threshold Affect Your Pain and Suffering Claim?
As touched on above, section 627.737 of the Florida Statutes identifies the requirements necessary to recover pain and suffering in an injury accident claim. To summarize these requirements in the simplest way, your injuries must be considered permanent and significant in the eyes of the court.
Scarring and disfigurement typically meet the standard. Loss of bodily function also meets the standard. However, the way the statute is worded might suggest that you won’t qualify for pain and suffering if you didn’t lose a limb or suffer paralysis.
In fact, a large percentage of Florida injury accident victims do qualify to receive compensation for their pain, suffering, and mental anguish.
Before you become discouraged or abandon your hope for recovering fair compensation for your damages, talk to an attorney. No one is better suited to determine the viability and value of your case than an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer.
How Do You Prove That You Meet the Injury Threshold?
Your lawyer understands how to investigate and document your claim appropriately. Attorneys have resources, including medical and economic subject matter experts, that can be used to build a persuasive case.
To demonstrate the value of your claim, your attorney might use documentation and evidence such as:
- Medical bills,
- Wage statements,
- Vocational expert opinions,
- Medical expert opinions, and
- Economic expert opinions.
Your attorney will demonstrate not only the severity of your injuries but how your injuries affect your life—both now and in the future. Your lawyer understands how to calculate the true value of your injuries and other damages. Armed with this knowledge, your lawyer will be in the best position to negotiate for the greatest settlement value.
TYPICAL PAIN AND SUFFERING SETTLEMENT FAQ
Pain and Suffering Damages in No-Fault Auto Accident Cases
In 2019, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 401,867 auto accidents. However, some car accident victims may be limited in their ability to pursue pain and suffering damages.
Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to auto accidents. This means that a driver must turn first to their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
PIP coverage extends to economic damages like medical bills and lost wages, but it does not cover pain and suffering.
Nevertheless, a Florida car accident victim can file a personal injury lawsuit and request compensation for pain and suffering from the at-fault driver if their damages reach a certain threshold. To meet the threshold to bring a claim for pain and suffering in Florida, the injured party must have experienced one of the following:
- Significant, permanent loss of function;
- Permanent injury;
- Disfigurement; or
- Permanent scars.
It is important to contact an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to file a claim for pain and suffering after a car accident.
Florida Comparative Negligence Rule
Florida is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found to be no more than 50% at fault for the accident, your recovery is reduced by the same proportion as your percentage of fault. As an example, if you are found to be 20% at fault in an accident, you may still recover 80% of your damages in a lawsuit. If, however, your percentage of fault is found to be more than 50%, you are barred from any recovery under the law.
Evidence to Support a Claim for Pain and Suffering
Details are important when gathering evidence to support your claim for pain and suffering. The first step is to consider how the injury has and will interfere with your normal life.
Keep a record of the help you have required to maintain a semblance of normalcy. This can be a written record, testimony, or invoices from people who have assisted you in normal tasks, including things like:
- Cooking meals or purchasing groceries,
- General housework,
- Caring for dependent children,
- Doing yard work, and
- Caring for pets.
Tasks like these may seem simple. If you cannot accomplish them due to your injury, you may be compensated.
Expert opinions, medical records, and tangible documents will also be important in your claim for pain and suffering. Some examples of these may include:
- Medical Records—medical documentation can help establish the severity of the injury and the pain it might be expected to cause. It can also provide information about any future pain and limitations an individual might have. These may include:
- A list of restrictions provided by your doctor;
- A list of medications prescribed to you, like painkillers, sleeping pills, or anxiety pills;
- Testimony from physical therapists regarding progress and prognosis; and
- Evidence from a psychiatrist detailing the level of mental anguish, stress, and anxiety caused by the accident.
- Victim Testimony—the testimony of the injury victim can be used to establish the pain they have sustained and how their life has changed since the injury. A victim’s statement should be detailed.
- Witness Testimony—the testimony and statements of friends and family can be used to establish how the victim has changed since the injury and how relationships have been affected
- Expert Witnesses—sometimes the testimony and statements of expert witnesses such as medical experts or accident reconstructionists can be used to establish the degree of pain and suffering
- Photos and Video—some injuries drastically change the way an individual lives their life and photographic, and video evidence can be used to demonstrate this.
Your attorney can help you gather essential evidence to maximize your pain and suffering award.
Why Should You Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Pain and Suffering Claim?
As an accident victim, your priorities must be recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track. You should not have to wonder whether you have a valid claim or if you qualify for pain and suffering as a part of your settlement.
You also shouldn’t have to figure out all the legal details of a claim, like whether you can prove you were a victim of negligence.
When you trust a car accident lawyer to handle your case, you benefit from the experience and knowledge of the attorney and the law firm.
Your lawyer can evaluate the details of your accident and identify the at-fault party (or parties). Your lawyer can gather the evidence necessary to demonstrate negligence and prove liability.
Finally, a personal injury lawyer understands how to identify and support all your damages so you can pursue the maximum possible settlement—including pain and suffering.
Talk to a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Near You Today for Help
The nearby personal injury lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have seen to the needs of more than 20,000 accident victims, recovering more than $800,000,000.
For more than three decades, we have fought for our clients, protecting their legal rights and helping them recover the compensation they deserved for their injuries.
We offer a free initial consultation, and we never collect any legal fees unless and until we recover compensation for you. To discuss your case and learn what your pain and suffering settlement value might be, contact us now.
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