Can You Receive Compensation for Pain and Suffering?
Yes. The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit in Florida is to put the victim in the position he or she would be in had the accident never occurred. This means that a victim can receive money to cover medical expenses and lost wages, which an accident victim should not have to shoulder. If you need $10,000 in medical care, you should have to pay it; the person responsible for the accident should.
But what about the pain, inconvenience, and disfigurement caused by certain physical injuries? Shouldn’t a victim receive compensation for them as well?
Fortunately, a victim can. Under Florida law, victims can receive a sum of money (called damages) for pain and suffering. However, the amount a person receives will depend on the circumstances.
What is Pain and Suffering?
This is an umbrella term that covers a range of noneconomic losses that personal injury victims suffer. It can include not only physical pain but also inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, distress, and disfigurement. Emotional distress, like shock or depression, is its own category of noneconomic damages.
Noneconomic losses like pain and suffering are contrasted with economic losses, which are things like:
- The cost of medical treatment for your injuries
- The wages or income you lost if your injuries keep you out of work
- The value of any damage to property
These are “hard” economic losses that have a precise dollar amount. You can find your medical bills and pay stubs and add up the amounts lost because of the accident. By contrast, it is harder to translate pain and suffering (or emotional distress) into a definite monetary value. As the Florida Supreme Court has stated, “Pain and suffering have no market price.”
How Much Compensation Can You Receive for Pain and Suffering?
The amount varies. Typically, a person can receive more in pain and suffering the more serious their physical injuries. For example, someone with permanent nerve damage or a spinal cord injury can get more than someone whose sprain or strain completely heals in a few months.
When deciding the amount of pain and suffering compensation, jurors use their own experience, collective wisdom and common sense. How much money would really make up for never being able to walk again? For having permanent paralysis to the side of your face? True, you might like your old body back, but a court can’t give you that. What it can give is a sum of money to try and make up for your pain and suffering.
Because there is no specific barometer regarding pain and suffering damages it is important to hire an attorney who can communicate and document your injury in order to maximize your recovery.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Coral Gables
At Halpern Santos & Pinker, our Florida personal injury attorneys are concerned with our clients’ entire wellbeing, including the pain and distress they are experiencing. We will aggressively fight to maximize the amount of compensation you receive, so reach out to us today. We offer a free, confidential consultation to those who contact us.