When a person files a claim for pain & suffering after an accident. How much can he be compensated for and how is it determined?
7 attorney answers
A jury determines the dollar amount for pain and suffering based upon the evidence at trial if a case is not settled. In cases settled before trial attorneys and insurance adjusters look at trial verdicts with similiar circumstances to try to predict what a jury might do. Some jurors believe that juries should not award money for pain and suffering at all even though the law says that they should. That is why some verdicts and some offers to settle before trial include unreasonably low amounts for pain and suffering.
A jury is usually not told whether the case is a liabilty case alone or whether there is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage so that fact should not affect the amount whether in settlement or in a jury trial.
In an auto accident case in Florida where the at fault driver has at least PIP or personal injury protection the at fault driver and the underinsured motorist insurance company is immune for paying damages for pain and suffering unless the jury determines that the plaintiff has suffered a permenant injury.
In other words, in a Florida auto accident case where there is no permanent injury and the at fault driver has PIP there are no damages legally allowed for pain and suffering no matter how bad the pain and suffering was. This is very unfair in my opinion but it is part of the Florida No Fault Law.
It depends on the nature of the injury/damages, the available coverage and of course fault. Florida is a pure form comparative fault state, so even if you had an injury/damage worth $100,000 and you had UM coverage for that amount, it does not mean you can get it all of you are apportioned some fault for the cause of the accident. If you were 50% at fault you may be only entitled to half your damages, $50,000. That fault will be based on the facts and the ability of your pi attorney to to persuade the insurance company.
Ultimately any answer to the question "how much?" is made by a judge or jury. Short of a trial, that is exactly the kind of thing that the lawyers and adjustors involved consider in a case.
I've seen pain and suffering equated to the rate of a minimum wage job over a lifetime, I've seen it just made into a whole figure - there is no set method. We'd hope anyone considering pain and suffering would consider what it's worth not to have the injuries sustained in the case they are considering.
However, before you can ever get to pain and suffering - if it's an auto case - in Florida - you need to prove up liability, causation, permanency and then and only then do you get to damages.
It cannot just be for pain and suffering. You must have physical injuries which can be proven as a result of the accident. Also, the at fault party must not have enough assets to cover your damages and/or not have insurance. The compensation is determined according to your amount of damages:
1. Past medical bills uncovered by your personal injury protection insurance and/or the at fault party's insurance (how much are they?),
2. Past wage loss not covered by your personal injury protection insurance and/or by the at fault party's insurance (how much?),
3. Future medical bills,
4. Future expected lost wages,
5. If you are married, loss of consortium amount for your wife or husband,
6. Out of pocket expenses (over the counter medications, etc.), and
7. What you may call "pain and suffering" which is now called "loss of enjoyment of life". This, as you can tell, is very hard to quantify. It is called "noneconomic damages". In law school they would teach us to tell our clients to allocate $1.00 or $2.00 for each minute of pain the person had as a result of the accident. Crazy right? Some insurance adjustors have told me they take the total amount of damages (wages, medical bills, etc..) and they multiply it times 1.5 to come up with the loss of enjoyment of life part.
Alejandro R. Lopez, Esq.
Law Office of Alejandro R. Lopez, P.A.
4465 Edgewater Dr.,
Orlando, Fla. 32804
Ph.: ( 407) 649-1404
E-mail: [email protected]
By agreement an arbitrator, a judge or a jury.
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It defends on the severity of the injuries. It also depends on whether or not there is insurance coverage for the accident. For more info call a qualified personal injury attorney.
you should retain the services of a personal injury lawyer. there are many factors that go into the evaluation and presentment of a claim against the UM carrier. with the assistance of an experienced lawyer you will maximize your chances of recovering a reasonable settlement. experience dealing with the factual and legal issues is necessary to resolve claims. further your attorney should have significant trial experience because the 3 biggest lies in the world start ... youre in good hands.... like a good neighbor.... we are on your side... if you believe any of those jingles i will sell you a great deal on a bridge...
without a detailed review by a lawyer can all the issues raised in your question be appropriately addressed...nothing in this response should be construed as establishing a lawyer client relationship..the answers herein are for informational purposes and not to be construed as advice
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