Pain and suffering is the central theme in personal injury law. In fact, the overall costs associated with all types of pain and suffering that result from an accident with injuries is the primary reason people seek compensation. In one sense, it is a broad term that describe the residual mental and emotional damages beyond the pain and suffering of physical injuries. And, although these terms are banded together in a legal context, putting a value on physical damages encompasses different criteria for calculating the non-physical component of psychological pain and suffering.
In order to evaluate the cost of damages in a personal injury case, the litigation process is broken down into separate categories referred to as “Special” and “General” damages.
- Special Damages is determined by verifiable facts such as the visible and reasonable extent of property damage, reports from medical experts and evidence of loss of income. These in turn qualify expenses incurred as a direct result of the accident such as bills for…
- property repair or replacement,
- medical emergency services,
- hospital care,
- pharmaceutical purchases, and
- payment to other health care providers.
- General Damages involves a more complex process that can be and is often controversial. That is because compensation is mostly based on cost estimations of projected short term and potential long-term effects. These can include variables such as the number of medical treatments that the injured person will need over a period of time, potential for complications, period of recovery, ultimate severity of injury, permanence of injuries and impact on the individual and their loved one’s life that may have both an emotional and monetary component.
To streamline the process, Florida law stipulate that pain and suffering claims must align with “threshold requirements” relative to the type of accident. This relates to physical pain, mental suffering as well as inconvenience because of incapacities such as a significant or permanent loss of an important bodily function, permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, permanent scarring, disfigurement or death.
The law, however, does not stipulate the type or number of documents that can be used to support pain and suffering claims.
Documents to Support Pain and Injury Claims
The burden of proof for pain and suffering often rests on the shoulders of the injured party. To receive a fair compensation, it is important that documents presented as evidence to support this claim is not only reliable but admissible in a court of law. Some documentation that has been used in to substantiate pain and injury claims that have also been accepted as credible evidence in Florida courts include:
- Legal prescriptions for pain medication
- Documentation of prognosis from a medical expert
- Physician’s testimonies regarding injuries and the realistic expectation of present and long-term pain and suffering.
- Expert mental health evaluation report and/or medical opinion on the current and potential impairment to the patient’s mental and emotional well-being.
- The injury party’s journal record from the time of the accident detailing the negative effects and changes caused by pain and suffering.
- First-hand accounts from the victim’s immediate family or others who are or have been directly affected by the impact of the injuries on the plaintiff’s life in general and daily activities in particular.
- Presentations of case studies, research outcomes and opinions from experts relevant to the victim’s injuries.
Proving pain and suffering is an important but complex process that can greatly impact the compensation awarded in a personal injury case. So, while you may be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering, recouping the appropriate compensation requires experienced evaluation and arguments for the full spectrum of economic and non-economic damage that has been caused by the accident. And, even if you are awarded a sizeable sum, it is possible that the defendant can challenge the amount of monetary reparation awarded by the jury. However, based on the “remittitur and additur” Florida statute; if the plaintiff or defendant makes a motion for an amendment, the judge is allowed to determine if the evidence support the award or make an adjustment to amount awarded.
To learn more about your rights after an accident or to find out more about the types of damages you may be able to recover for pain and suffering call for a free consultation at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website.
About Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath
Conveniently located in West Palm Beach for 27 years, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, LLP concentrates in Personal Injury, Wrongful death, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Auto accidents. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we specialize in helping victims and their families get fair compensation for injuries caused by the negligence or recklessness of others. Our main areas of practice include personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, and premise liability. We provide each client with the highest quality representation from a top Florida accident and injury lawyer.
Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath
515 N Flagler Dr, 10th Floor
West Palm Beach
Florida, FL 33401
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