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Tampa, Florida

How Do I Get Compensated for Pain and Suffering After a Florida Car Accident?

Our Tampa personal injury lawyers can fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve

Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and life-altering experience. In addition to the physical injuries sustained, you may also suffer from emotional distress, mental anguish, and a diminished quality of life. These non-economic damages are collectively known as "pain and suffering” and can profoundly impact your life.

When pursuing compensation after a car accident in Florida, it’s important to understand the concept of pain and suffering damages and how to seek fair and just compensation effectively. A car accident lawyer at Armando Personal Injury Law in Tampa, FL, can advise you on your rights and options for seeking full and fair compensation.

What are pain and suffering damages?

Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate victims for the physical and emotional toll car accidents take on their lives.

The damages typically covered include:

  • Physical pain and discomfort: This includes compensation for ongoing pain, discomfort, and physical limitations resulting from injuries sustained in a car accident.
  • Emotional distress: Car accidents can cause significant emotional trauma, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pain and suffering damages can provide compensation for these psychological effects.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Injuries from a car accident may prevent victims from participating in activities they once enjoyed. As a result, you can seek compensation for diminished quality of life.
  • Disfigurement or permanent disability: In severe cases, car accident victims may suffer disfigurement or permanent disabilities that impact their daily lives and self-esteem. Pain and suffering damages can help account for these lasting effects.

What factors influence the amount of money awarded in pain and suffering damages?

The more severe and life-altering the injuries, the higher the potential pain and suffering damages awarded. Longer recovery periods involving extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation can result in higher damages for prolonged suffering.

Car accidents that significantly disrupt your ability to work, socialize, or participate in daily activities may also warrant greater compensation for diminished quality of life.

Finally, it’s worth noting that younger victims or those with physically demanding jobs may be eligible for higher damages due to the long-term impact on their lives and earning potential.

How do I document pain and suffering after a car accident?

To effectively pursue pain and suffering damages after a car accident, you should document and gather evidence of the physical and emotional toll the crash has taken on you. This helps support your claim and demonstrate the extent of your suffering.

Here’s what to keep records of:

A detailed journal

Begin keeping a journal immediately after your car accident, documenting your daily experiences, pain levels, emotional state, and any limitations or disruptions to your normal activities.

Medical records and bills

Obtain copies of all medical records, diagnostic reports, treatment plans, and bills related to the injuries sustained in the accident. These documents will substantiate your physical injuries and the associated costs, which can be factored into pain and suffering calculations.

Witness statements

Statements from witnesses can support your claim regarding the impact your car accident has had on your life. These testimonials can help prove changes in your behavior, emotional state, and ability to perform daily tasks or participate in activities you once enjoyed.

Visual evidence

Visual evidence can be helpful when seeking pain and suffering damages. Take photographs of visible injuries, such as cuts, bruises, or scars, at various stages of healing. Additionally, document any property damage to your vehicle, which can further demonstrate the severity of the collision.

What can I expect from my pain and suffering settlement?

After documenting and calculating your pain and suffering damages, the next step is negotiating with the at-fault party's insurance company to seek a fair settlement. Insurance companies are motivated to minimize payouts and may use tactics to reduce your compensation.

If the at-fault driver’s insurance company contacts you for a recorded statement, it’s important to avoid giving it to them without first consulting an experienced attorney. Anything you tell insurance companies can be misinterpreted as admitting fault and can hurt your claim. For instance, if you say, "I didn't see the car coming," the insurance company might use this statement to argue that you were partially at fault for the accident, thereby reducing your settlement.

Your attorney will leverage the evidence they gather to counter any attempts by the insurance company to minimize your claim. Plus, they’ll advocate for a settlement that adequately compensates you for the pain, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life you have endured.

Most car accident claims are settled without the need for litigation or a trial. However, if the insurance companies won’t settle, the attorneys at Armando Personal Injury Law will be ready to take your case to trial and fight for a maximum court verdict.

How much compensation can I get for pain and suffering?

Some states have caps on pain and suffering damages. However, Florida doesn’t. Pain and suffering damages can vary widely depending on the impact your injuries have on your life. Compensation for these non-economic damages is calculated differently than economic damages such as medical bills or lost wages.

Multiplier Method

Some attorneys use the multiplier method, where your economic damages are multiplied by a number based on the severity of your pain and suffering. For example, if your medical bills and lost wages total $50,000 and your pain and suffering are assigned a multiplier of 3, you could potentially receive $150,000 for pain and suffering.

Per Diem Method

The per diem method assigns a daily rate to your pain and suffering from the date of your car accident until you reach maximum medical improvement. For instance, if the daily rate is set at $200 and it takes 180 days to reach maximum improvement, you could receive $36,000 for pain and suffering.

Again, the best way to understand the potential compensation you can receive for pain and suffering is to consult a car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can evaluate the specifics of your case, advise on the most suitable method for calculating damages, and help you navigate the claims process to ensure you receive fair compensation.

Florida's no-fault law and pain and suffering

Florida operates under a no-fault insurance system, which means that after a car accident, each driver's insurance covers their own medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault. This system is designed to reduce the number of lawsuits filed over minor accidents and to provide quicker compensation for minor injuries.

Under Florida's no-fault law, every driver is required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which covers up to $10,000 in medical expenses and lost wages. However, PIP coverage does not compensate for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages.

To pursue compensation for pain and suffering in Florida, you must meet the state's serious injury threshold. This means that your injuries must be considered severe enough to warrant a claim outside the no-fault system. Serious injuries are defined by the state as:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Death

If your injuries meet this threshold, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to seek compensation for pain and suffering, as well as other non-economic damages.

Our Florida attorneys can fight for the compensation you deserve

Dealing with the aftermath of a serious car accident can be overwhelming, especially when you're in pain and facing mounting medical bills. Insurance adjusters may try to shift blame onto you and leave you with less compensation than you deserve. But with Armando Personal Injury Law on your side, you can rest assured that your rights will be protected.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and believe you are entitled to pain and suffering damages, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is crucial. A lawyer can evaluate your case, guide you through the legal process, and help you secure the compensation you deserve.

With years of experience handling complex car accident cases in Tampa, FL, and throughout Hillsborough County, we have the knowledge and experience to pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Our track record speaks for itself. We've secured multi-million-dollar settlements for clients who suffered severe injuries in car accidents, including back and neck injuries, whiplash, and more. That includes a client who was severely injured in a 7-car rear-end hit-and-run crash.

Don't let insurance companies take advantage of you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation with a compassionate and experienced Tampa car accident lawyer. Let us fight for the justice and compensation you deserve so you can focus on healing and moving forward with your life.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, “How Do I Get Compensated for Pain and Suffering After a Florida Car Accident?”

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