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When Can You File a Pain and Suffering Lawsuit?

When you experience injuries due to an accident that interferes with your mental health, daily activities, and lifestyle, you may find that the compensation you receive for things like car repairs, lost wages, and medical bills don’t cover all your damages related to your accident. You may want to file a pain and suffering lawsuit when this happens. This type of lawsuit attempts to recover non-economic damages related to your accident. However, pain and suffering isn’t awarded in every accident case. Below, we discuss claiming damages for pain and suffering after an accident in Florida.

Eligibility for Pain and Suffering Lawsuits

To seek damages after a car accident or personal injury claim, you must have suffered serious injuries, as defined in Florida Statute 627.737(2). The statute defines a serious injury as an injury that results in the permanent loss of body function, a chronic condition, an irreversible injury, significant scarring, or disfigurement. Your family can also seek damages for pain and suffering if you pass away as a result of an accident.

 To determine whether you’re eligible to file a claim for pain and suffering, you’ll want to ask the following questions:

  • What’s the severity of your injury?
  • Will you need long-term medical treatment or physical therapy? 
  • How long will it take you to recover from the accident?
  • Did you have any preexisting medical conditions?
  • How much has this accident affected your financial stability?
  • Have you had to make lifestyle changes due to the accident?

Types of Pain and Suffering

Typical types of disorders that occur after an accident and may warrant you to file a pain and suffering lawsuit include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. You may also grieve the loss of your previous lifestyle because of the injury, such as the inability to clean, do housework, and care for your children.

Proving Pain and Suffering

Proving that pain and suffering claims are justified is challenging. Your accident attorney will gather information about the case and seek evidence that the claim is legitimate. This could include medical bills to mental health professionals, payments made to service providers for home-related services that you didn’t utilize before the accident, and accounts from medical professionals about the severity of your injuries. Insurance companies will try to downplay your injuries to avoid paying fair compensation. It’s important to follow all treatment plans and physical therapy you’re assigned to show that your injury claims are warranted and that you’re actively working to get better. 

Calculating Pain and Suffering

As there is no physical way to calculate how much pain and suffering is worth, Florida courts utilize a few methods to make a fair assessment of what pain and suffering damages may be worth.

Multiplier Method

The multiplier method takes the amount of economic damages you totaled due to the accident (such as car repairs, lost wages, and medical expenses) and multiples it by a number, usually between one and three. The number is based on the severity of the injuries and the circumstances of the case. The result is what you may expect to receive after your pain and suffering lawsuit reaches a final judgment.

Per Diem

The per diem method of calculating pain and suffering damages assigns a monetary value for each day you dealt with the effects of the accident. This is common in cases where someone suffers from a temporary injury, such as a concussion or broken bone. The per diem rate is calculated based on your total damages and how many days your daily activities were impacted.

How to File a Pain and Suffering Lawsuit

Pain and suffering damages are included in the total damages requested when filing a personal injury lawsuit. The first step to filing a pain and suffering lawsuit is to receive medical attention directly after the accident. Keep excellent records of doctor visits, care costs, copays, and prescriptions. The court may request documents such as medical records and prescription orders to determine how much the injury affected your lifestyle.

Space Coast Personal Injury Attorney: The Davies Law Firm

Attorney Kathleen S. Davies is an experienced Florida attorney who can help you receive compensation by filing a pain and suffering lawsuit after an accident. Don’t delay—you have two years from the accident date to make a claim. Call our office at 855-688-4713 to pursue your case.