When you suffer an injury due to the negligence of someone else, whether it’s a car accident, slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, or other types of injury, you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and property damage (if applicable). That means that if the responsible party is found to be liable for your damages, you can collect for the medical expenses you incurred, your present and future lost wages, your pain, and suffering, and sometimes punitive damages. In this article, we will focus on what pain and suffering damages are and how they are determined in personal injury cases.
What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?
Pain and suffering damages are divided into two categories – physical and mental.
The physical pain and suffering that an individual suffers are based on the actual pain that is experienced due to the accident. It includes the pain and discomfort of the plaintiff that has resulted since the accident and injury have occurred, as well as physical pain that is anticipated in the future.
The mental pain and suffering that are experienced due to the negligence of the defendant can include several things such as mental anguish, emotional distress, anger, fear, insomnia, anxiety, shock, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment in activities previously enjoyed. The mental and emotional aspects of a personal injury can also involve mental health disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Generally, the mental pain and suffering that a plaintiff experiences can include any negative psychological or emotional issue that he or undergoes due to the injuries sustained in the accident or as a result of medical malpractice.
Mental pain and suffering, like physical pain and suffering, includes any negative effects since the injury as well as what is anticipated in the future.
How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
In Florida, juries are not provided with many guidelines for determining the value of the injured party’s pain and suffering by the court. There is not a list of amounts for specific types of pain and suffering damages that they can refer to. Rather, the judge will typically issue instructions to juries to use their good sense, experience, and backgrounds as they are deciding on a fair and reasonable financial award for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering.
That said, there are some common factors that can influence the jury’s decision on the value of the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Some of these factors include:
- How the plaintiff presented himself or herself as a witness
- Whether the plaintiff is believable, or the jury thinks he or she is exaggerating the extent of pain and suffering
- Whether the plaintiff is likable
- Whether the plaintiff is consistent or inconsistent when giving his or her testimony
- What the plaintiff’s doctors testify to regarding the extent of pain and suffering
- If the diagnosis and prognosis of the plaintiff make sense to the jury
- Whether the plaintiff has a criminal record
Getting What You Are Entitled to for Your Pain and Suffering
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury that was caused by another person’s negligence in Florida, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries – including pain and suffering. Because of the complexities of personal injury cases, it’s important that you seek legal representation from an experienced and successful personal injury attorney to handle your case.
Contact Boca Raton personal injury lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 296-2600 or complete the online contact form to discuss your case and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.