Establishing Pain & Suffering Damages In Florida Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases, where a person is harmed due to the negligence or recklessness of another person, do not end with anyone going to jail. Rather, they yield monetary damages if the plaintiff is successful in their suit. One of the most common types of damages awarded in a personal injury case is damages for pain and suffering, also referred to as mental anguish. However, it can be confusing to determine whether your case merits pain and suffering damages; an experienced attorney can help.
Two Types of Damages
When someone brings a personal injury lawsuit, they are seeking money damages for their injuries, but also for the changes to their life and the lives of their loved ones. Examples of damages sought in personal injury suits run the gamut, but generally fall into one of two categories. Economic damages are tangible, and can be quantified fairly easily. Some of the most common include medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and home renovation costs (if an injury proves to be life-long and requires ramps and other modifications to your home).
‘Pain and suffering,’ both emotional and physical, are examples of the second category, which is referred to as non-economic or general damages. Non-economic damages, as one might imagine, are not quantified so easily, and usually require the testimony of an expert to pinpoint. In addition to pain and suffering, other non-economic damages include loss of companionship or consortium (marital relations), lost enjoyment of life, or lost future earning potential. Florida used to have a damages cap on these types of losses, but it was repealed in 2014.
Severity Of Injury Matters
If you decide to file suit after a personal injury, seeking pain and suffering damages is possible, especially if your injuries are significant. Florida generally establishes five factors that should be considered in calculating these types of damages – 1) severity of the plaintiff’s injuries; 2) the nature of the medical treatment the plaintiff received; 3) the prognosis for the injury; 4) the plaintiff’s length of recovery; and 5) the degree to which the injury has impacted the plaintiff’s life.
It is important to keep in mind that while an award of economic damages does not mean that non-economic damages must automatically be granted. However, it simply stands to reason that if you suffer a serious injury, and can show evidence of long-term pain and suffering, damages on that front must be awarded “as a matter of law.” It is possible to show tangible evidence of intangible damages; as long as you can do so, you should receive compensation for what you have suffered.
Call A Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Today
Being able to seek compensation for pain and suffering, in addition to any more tangible injuries you may have suffered, can help to shore up your family’s financial picture moving forward. The Tampa personal injury attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group can offer dedicated representation, answering your questions with compassion and the benefit of the knowledge acquired from years in practice. We are happy to try and help you. Contact our offices today for a free consultation.