Can I Receive Pain and Suffering Damages in a Car Accident?
Florida’s no-fault insurance scheme helps injured victims receive quick compensation to pay for medical care and subsidize a portion of their lost wages. However, the scheme has several downsides, one of which is that you generally cannot receive any compensation for pain and suffering. Fortunately, there are some decent-sized exceptions to the law. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should meet with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to identify what compensation might be available.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages compensate you for the physical pain you suffer as a result of an accident. If you suffer emotional pain—such as fear, anxiety, or sleeplessness—then you might also qualify for emotional distress damages. Both pain and suffering and emotional distress are non-economic damages, meaning it is harder to measure them in dollars and cents. Nevertheless, you have suffered a real loss and the Florida courts will allow you to be compensated for these injuries.
At trial, a jury will need to estimate how much money can fairly compensate you for your physical suffering and emotional anguish. You can testify on your own behalf or have friends or family testify as to how the pain has changed your personality. You can also introduce all of the prescription drugs you have taken to help you cope with your pain. Sometimes, people receive substantial sums of money, particularly for serious injuries.
Were You Injured by a Motor Vehicle?
Under Florida law, you can’t receive pain and suffering for minor injuries if you were injured by a “motor vehicle.” Nevertheless, Florida law defines motor vehicle pretty narrowly, so many vehicles don’t qualify, such as:
- Mobile homes
- Golf carts
- Off-road construction machines
If you were injured by one of these vehicles in an accident, then you can sue for pain and suffering damages.
Do You Have a Permanent Injury?
Florida law also allows you to sue for pain and suffering damages if the victim suffered a permanent injury, which is defined as:
- An injury that is reasonably certain to be permanent
- Permanent and significant disfigurement or scarring
- Permanent and significant loss of an important bodily function
Consider the example: Michael is driving through an intersection when Sam slams into him. As a result of the accident, Michael breaks his arm and needs a steel plate inserted. He also suffers bad burns on his face and neck, which leave him with permanent scarring. In this situation, Michael can sue for pain and suffering even though Sam was driving a passenger sedan.
However, if Michael only suffered a sprained neck, then he probably would not qualify for pain and suffering damages—though other compensation is available.
Contact a Daytona Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Now
Serious accidents leave their victims in a lot of pain, and victims deserve help. At Bundza & Rodriguez, we carefully assess the surrounding circumstances of every crash to determine what compensation is available to you. Contact us today to request your free consultation.