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Are There Limitations on Compensation for Pain and Suffering Damages in Florida?


Pain and Suffering

A personal injury can alter your life forever. When you’ve suffered an injury because of another person’s negligence, you need to find some way to make your life whole again. Since time travel is not possible and you can’t change the past, you have to look toward the future.

A personal injury lawsuit will allow you to seek compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered, reimbursing your financial losses, and ensuring your medical care.
What about the intangible costs? Can you put a price tag on the quality of life you’ve lost? Is there a limit on the trauma you’ve endured, though it seems like it will never end?

No Limitations According to the Florida Supreme Court

At one time, Florida state law capped damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice personal injury cases at $500,000 or $1 million in the most severe cases. That changed in 2017 due to a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court.
In an appeal of a medical malpractice case, the court ruled that the cap on pain and suffering was unconstitutional and violated equal protection rights.

So, the sky’s the limit, right? Not exactly.

Courts and juries may have a tough time calculating an amount for pain and suffering. Each person views these issues in their own way. Combine that subjective nature with the lack of any measurement standard, and finding a fair amount for damages becomes an extraordinarily tricky and serious math problem.

A personal injury attorney can help guide that calculation. The lawyer and the jury may keep a few factors in mind, including:

  •       The age of the person seeking damages
  •       The severe nature of the injury
  •       What the continuing consequences may be
  •       The effects of any pre-existing conditions
  •       The extent of economic damages

Highlighting all these factors, the court may ask jurors to use their best judgment to determine a pain and suffering award.
A personal injury attorney can also help by suggesting a multiplier or per diem method to reach a reasonable amount for pain and suffering.

For example, if the personal injury led to economic losses of $100,000, the attorney could multiply that amount by a number from one to five, depending on the severity of the damages. The amount is still subjective, but it provides the jury with some guidelines. If a client has moderate injuries, and the attorney suggests a factor of three, the jury may agree to $300,000 for pain and suffering.

Other Limits to Keep in Mind

Florida state law uses a notion called comparative negligence, meaning that if you share some responsibility for your personal injury, you may receive reduced damages.

Can you seek damages for pain and suffering? Yes, but Florida’s highly detailed personal injury laws can be confusing for the average person. The safest course of action is for you to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can examine your case’s specifics and offer solid advice to guide you through the process.

What About Your Medical Bills and Lost Wages?

Pain and suffering are considered non-economic damages because they don’t correlate to a specific dollar amount and have no hard-and-fast numbers or receipts to back them up.

The other type of damages you may seek in a personal injury case are economic damages. Economic damages include lost wages, future lost wages, medical bills, and future medical bills. These items can be backed up by paperwork, leading to reliable calculations or relatively accurate estimates.

Your personal injury attorney should have no trouble calculating the economic damages related to your personal injury case.

The Time Limit or Statute of Limitations

You probably have many other questions, and you can discuss those during a consultation with your personal injury attorney. You should know that Florida has a strict limit on the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit.

This limit, known as the statute of limitations, is four years for most personal injury cases, between two years and four years for medical malpractice, and two years for wrongful death lawsuits.

If you want to seek compensation for your injuries, you must do so before the statute of limitations expires.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Who Will Fight for You

At Menendez Trial Attorneys, we fight for you, and we fight to win. We know the law, and we take a non-no nonsense approach to your case driven by the evidence. We combine our fighting spirit with our compassionate care for our clients. We’ll listen to your concerns and work hard to get you successful results.

Our offices are located in Coral Gables, Florida. We serve clients in Miami-Dade and South Florida. Contact us today by using our online form or calling 305-445-6500. We’re on your side, and we’re ready for a fight

Copyright© 2020. Menendez Trial Attorneys. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Menendez Trial Attorneys
113 Almeria Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134