When someone is injured as a result of another’s negligence – slip-and-fall, medical malpractice, car accident – often you can request a type of damages known as “pain and suffering.” This is a legal term, spelled out in the Florida Standard Jury Instruction, 501.2, that basically refers to what you had to endure.
As specifically stated in the jury instruction, these non-economic damages are “any that result from bodily injury sustained by you resulting in pain and suffering disability or physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience or loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life experienced in the past or to be experienced in the future.”
Unlike economic damages, which are things like medical bills, lost wages or expenses incurred as a result of your injuries, pain and suffering damages aren’t easily tallied with bills, records or receipts. These are damages you must demonstrate with your own personal testimony, testimony from your loved ones, photographs, vidoes and details about your life both before and after the injury. Jurors are more likely to award economic damages, but establishing non-economic damages can be trickier.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about how much is owed for pain and suffering, a dedicated West Palm Beach injury lawyer is where you turn to prove both liability as well as the extent of your economic and non-economic damages.
How Injury Lawyers Prove Pain and Suffering Damages
There are a number of ways injury lawyers can prove pain and suffering damages, though it depends on the setting. Our approach may be slightly different if the case goes to trial versus whether we are negotiating directly with an insurance company.
Most Florida injury claims are settled out-of-court before trial, sometimes before a lawsuit is ever filed. Insurance companies are less likely to be swayed by emotional testimony, so we can approach them during negotiations in one of a few ways:
Multiplying plaintiff’s economic damages by a certain number. Typically, the multiplier is a number between 1 and 5, depending on the severity of one’s injury. For example, if someone incurs $5,000 in economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.), then we might multiply that by 3 and assert that $15,000 is a reasonable amount of pain and suffering damages.
Per diem damages. Per diem is Latin for “per day.” If our injury lawyers use this method, we’ll be looking at a certain number of damages assigned per day until the individual reaches maximum recovery. For example, we might indicate that a plaintiff is owed $150 every day from the day of the injury until the individual reaches maximum recovery (as determined by a physician).
Insurers aren’t obligated to consider these methods, and some do use computer programs to ascertain how much to offer in a settlement. These programs will take into account the type of injury, the type of medical treatment sought and adjusters can consider whether all treatments were “reasonable.” This is why it’s important to have an attorney on your side. We understand how to calculate your damages and negotiate with insurers.
If you have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit, we can help.
Contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Halberg & Fogg PLLC by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.
More Blog Entries:
South Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit Damages for Loss of Consortium, Jan. 23, 2020, West Palm Beach Injury Lawyer Blog