Florida's Permanent Injury Threshold in Car Accident Cases
Tort Reformers claim that our country's economy is crumbling because of out of control personal injury settlements and jury verdicts that include a recovery for pain and suffering damages. If you listen to many politicians discussing the subject, you will come away believing that it is very easy to receive pain and suffering damages. At least in car accident cases in Florida, the truth is just the opposite. As a Tampa car accident lawyer I am familiar with the Florida laws that govern car accident cases. One of those laws, section 627.737 Florida Statutes, bars a plaintiff in most car accident cases from receiving pain and suffering damages unless they can prove to a jury one of the following: (a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function. (b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement. (c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement. (d) Death. Because all of these conditions require proving a permanent injury, Florida attorneys often refer to this statute as creating a permanency threshold. In the overwhelming number of auto accident cases tried to a jury in Florida, the jury concludes the plaintiff did not suffer a permanent injury based on the above criteria and therefore does not award pain and suffering damages.