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Recovering Compensation for Pain and Suffering

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Posted on May 30, 2023

Filing a personal injury claim in Florida gives you the opportunity to seek financial compensation, or damages, for all of the losses that you suffered due to the accident. Under state law, these compensable losses include pain and suffering. This refers to a broad range of intangible types of harm caused by an accident. Recovering fair compensation for these invisible losses may require help from an experienced Tampa personal injury lawyer.

What Falls Under the Definition of Pain and Suffering?

Pain and suffering, also known as noneconomic or general damages, is an umbrella phrase that covers many different types of nonmonetary losses suffered by a victim involved in a preventable accident. It can refer to:

  • Physical pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Discomfort
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Psychological trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Eating disorder
  • New phobia (fear)
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

Any change in how your life used to be compared to how it is now, after your accident and injury, may constitute pain and suffering.

How to Prove Pain and Suffering

Establishing pain and suffering as a real, specific damage as part of a personal injury lawsuit can be difficult. Unlike a physical injury such as a broken bone, pain and suffering does not appear on an x-ray. Yet it can impact your life just as significantly as a physical injury. Take the following steps to build a pain and suffering claim:

  1. Keep an injury journal. Start an injury journal or diary immediately after your accident. Update it daily with how you’re feeling and how the injury is impacting your life.
  2. Take photos of your injuries. While you heal from any physical injuries, take photographs of the recovery process. Tangible proof of pain and suffering can help support your claim.
  3. Get a mental health evaluation from a qualified professional. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or PTSD, go to a psychiatrist or psychologist for an official diagnosis.
  4. Keep your medical records and receipts. If you are diagnosed with a condition or prescribed medications, collect copies of your records and any related medical bills.

It can be even more difficult – though not impossible – to prove a claim that is being brought for emotional distress alone, without an accompanying physical injury. However, Florida law recognizes an individual’s emotional distress and mental suffering due to someone else’s negligence. Work with an accident attorney to help you prove this type of claim.

How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?

The monetary value of a victim’s pain and suffering cannot be calculated using bills and receipts like economic damages. Instead, it is typically left up to the discretion of an insurance company or jury. While not required, using one of the following methods is a common way for parties involved in a claim to determine a value for pain and suffering:

Multiplier Method

This takes the total value of the victim’s economic damages and multiplies it by a number, typically between 1.5 and 5. The multiplier is chosen based on factors such as injury severity. Cases involving permanent injuries, disability or severe harm typically qualify for higher multipliers. This method is most suitable for long-term injuries.

Per Diem Method

This determines how many days the victim is likely to be in recovery, then multiplies this number by a per diem (daily) amount of suitable compensation for pain and suffering. In many cases, the number used equates to the victim’s daily working wage before the accident. This method is most suitable for short-term injuries with a clear recovery or end date.

It can be difficult to obtain a fair and full financial recovery for pain and suffering from an insurance provider in Florida. Even if you have been through a traumatic experience that another party’s negligence caused, an insurer can deny liability or refute that your pain and suffering exists. If you have been involved in an accident that caused pain and suffering, contact Vanguard Attorneys for a free consultation to find out how our lawyers can help.