You can demand two basic classes of damages from the negligent party in a personal injury case. The first is economic damages, which include but are not limited to medical bills, lost income, and other losses. However, pain and suffering would be separate from your medical bills. This loss is part of the second class of damages, commonly known as non-economic damages.
Why Are There Two Kinds of Damages in Personal Injury Cases?
Damages in personal injury cases break down into two types because the economic costs of a personal injury case are not the only losses an accident victim suffers. Imagine being unable to play sports with your children or dance with your wife because you sustained severe leg injuries after a drunk driver hit you. Your medical bills and lost income would not be the full extent of your losses.
Not only will you lose out on the joy these activities used to bring, but your quality of life (and that of your family) will also likely suffer. This lost quality of life would not be restored by compensating you for your medical bills and economic losses. It’s only fair that you would receive some compensation for this type of misery. This principle is rooted in the concept of non-economic damages being separate from your economic damages.
Is Pain and Suffering the Only Non-Economic Loss?
Non-economic damages are not limited to pain and suffering. Other non-economic damages you could demand in a personal injury case include:
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium (in the case of a spouse or partner who died from an accident)
- Mental anguish (e.g., the stress that comes with not knowing when or how completely your injuries will heal)
- Disfigurement or permanent damage (if you are paralyzed or left with another permanent physical disability)
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How Do You Calculate Non-Economic Damages?
Calculating non-economic damages is not an exact science because there is no set cost for them as there would be for a medical procedure. In most cases, pain and suffering or non-economic damages are tabulated by taking the following factors into account and then estimating a dollar amount:
- How severe your injuries are.
- The length of time you might suffer because of your injuries.
- Your age at the time of the injury.
- The extent to which your injuries limit or inhibit your daily life.
- The level of mental anguish you suffer.
- Any preexisting medical conditions that you had before the accident.
One of the best ways to get an estimate on how much the pain and suffering in your case might be worth is to consult with a personal injury attorney. They not only have experience calculating pain and suffering, but they also have experience in negotiating settlements that include pain and suffering as part of their client’s compensation. This experience could give them insight into your case’s potential value of pain and suffering.
Can You Claim Pain and Suffering Without Medical Bills?
In personal injury compensation award, pain and suffering is a separate demand from your economic damages, but the two are linked. This is because economic damages, such as medical bills, serve as evidence of your physical injuries, and the extent of your pain and suffering is based heavily on the severity of those injuries.
If you don’t have medical bills or other economic damages from your accident, it may be challenging to demand pain and suffering. That’s not to say that there isn’t a degree of pain and suffering involved with a personal injury. However, if your pain and suffering wasn’t significant enough to require medical attention, making a case for pain and suffering may be difficult.
Is There a Limit to Pain and Suffering Demands?
Florida law allows you to make pain and suffering demands commensurate with the extent of those injuries. Because of that, the state generally doesn’t set a cap on pain and suffering in personal injury cases. However, there’s one exception: medical malpractice. If your personal injury case arises from medical malpractice, Florida law caps your pain and suffering to $500,000.
It’s important to understand, however, that even in this situation, not every malpractice case will result in a $500,000 award for pain and suffering. Calculations for your pain and suffering award will involve the same factors used in non-medical malpractice personal injury cases.
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Talk to GED Lawyers About Pain and Suffering Damages in Your Case
If you’ve recently experienced an injury that someone else’s negligence caused and you are considering making a demand for pain and suffering, it helps to have guidance from a professional. While your family and friends may mean well when advising you, a personal injury lawyer who handles cases like yours every day is probably the best person to talk to.
Many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations where you can discuss your case and get counsel to help them take their next steps. GED Lawyers is a Florida-based law firm with personal injury lawyers who want to help. Reach out to them today for a free consultation and get the information you need to make the best decision for you. We can review your situation and explain how pain and suffering damages are different from your medical bills and other tangible losses you have.
Call or text (561) 995-1966 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form