Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?
If you were injured in an accident and suffered severe injuries, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve for pain and suffering damages, in addition to other losses. Pain and suffering damages encompass physical and emotional distress experienced due to the injury, and they go beyond economic losses like medical bills and lost wages. Unfortunately, these damages can be very difficult to prove.
How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?
Unlike monetary damages, which can easily be proven with billing statements, estimates, and other types of receipts, pain and suffering damages are much more difficult to quantify. Additionally, accident victims may find it challenging to prove the severity of their pain and suffering.
After an accident, if you sustained injuries and experienced pain and suffering, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you prove your request for damages in many ways, including:
Consult Medical Experts
Medical professionals can provide expert testimony about your injuries, prognosis, and the pain and suffering associated with them. Their opinions can carry significant weight in court.
Therapy and Counseling Records
If you are under the care of a psychiatrist or psychologist to help you cope with the emotional trauma resulting from the accident, these records can be vital. They demonstrate that you’ve taken steps to address your suffering.
Records of any prescribed medications for pain management or emotional distress can also be used as evidence of the severity of your suffering.
Testimony from Friends and Family
Loved ones who have witnessed the impact of your injuries on your life can testify about your pain and suffering. Their testimonies can provide a more comprehensive view of your situation.
Evidence of Lifestyle Changes
Show how your life has changed since the accident. This could include the inability to participate in activities you once enjoyed, altered relationships, or any other life disruptions caused by your injuries.
Keep a Journal
Keep a journal during your recovery and write in it often. Describe your level of pain, rating it on a scale of 1-10. Note how the pain has affected you, your ability to work, take care of yourself and your family, and be as descriptive as possible. This journal can be used as valuable evidence.
How is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Calculating pain and suffering damages can be complex because they are subjective and do not have a set dollar value like medical bills or lost wages.
The following methods are typically used to calculate pain and suffering damages:
This is one of the most common methods. It involves multiplying the total economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) by a specific factor, typically between 1.5 and 5, depending on the severity of the injuries. The more severe the injuries, the higher the multiplier.
Per Diem Method
A daily rate is assigned to your pain and suffering, and damages are calculated based on the number of days you experienced pain and suffering due to your injuries. For example, if the daily rate is $200, and you suffered for 300 days, your pain and suffering damages would be $60,000.
What Are the Pain and Suffering Caps?
Florida imposes certain restrictions on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases.
The caps are as follows:
Practitioners (individual healthcare providers). The cap is $500,000 per claimant for non-fatal injuries. However, if the malpractice results in a catastrophic injury or death, the cap is raised to $1 million.
For non-practitioner defendants (hospitals, clinics, etc.). The cap is $750,000 per claimant for non-fatal injuries and $1.5 million for catastrophic injuries or death.
Contact Us Today
While there are limitations on pain and suffering damages for certain types of claims, a personal injury lawyer at Friedland & Associates can help you navigate these restrictions and pursue the maximum compensation available for your specific case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more.