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Pain and Suffering

older woman in pain on side of bed

How do you value a pain and suffering claim?

After an injury or accident, you can claim compensation

It is difficult to explain pain and suffering in general and even more challenging to demonstrate in court. Florida provides a simple way for injured persons to file general damages claims, so litigants can get the compensation they need.

If someone is hurt, it makes sense that the person responsible should be liable for the injuries.

How do you calculate something as complex as “pain” and “suffering”?

How can you determine the dollar value of a broken neck versus a hurt foot? How about an injury that gets better and one that never will? Imagine if the injury changed someone’s life.

Compensation for pain and suffering is often part of a general negligence claim against a person or corporation. The economic category includes out-of-pocket expenses like medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic (intangible) costs are more difficult to quantify, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish and humiliation, loss of consortium, and parental guidance.

What is the difference between suffering and pain?

Two types of suffering and pain can exist: the physical and the mental.

  • Physical: This includes pain during rehabilitation (since rehabilitation can be pretty painful) and future (inability to do physical activities claimant used to enjoy, and so on).
  • Mental: Fear, humiliation and depression, embarrassment and anger, and all other emotions triggered by the accident.

Pain claims can be challenging to prove because a medical scan cannot document pain.

What is Florida’s approach to pain and suffering claims?

Florida considers pain and suffering to be a “general damages” claim. The state allows an injured victim to present evidence in this area and gives the claimant some flexibility.

These damages are calculated using a variety of factors:

  1. Gravity of the injury
  2. Type of medical treatment received;
  3. Recovery time
  4. Prognosis
  5. The impact of the injury on the claimant’s personal life.

Pain is a subjective, individual experience

Pain is a subjective factor and an individual experience. In each case, it is unique.

What documentation should you use to support your claim?

To support a claim for pain or suffering, a claimant should use these types of documents:

  • A written opinion of a mental health professional on the claimant’s mental state and whether or not his suffering is sufficient for legal purposes.
  • Witness testimony of the injury victim (recording the claimant’s daily suffering can make a lot of sense to a jury since it’s difficult to communicate those experiences in another way).
  • A written opinion from a doctor about the victim’s suffering and pain;
  • Prescription history includes all medications prescribed for anxiety, depression, or pain. Some medicines are off-label and prescribed for depression, while others are prescribed for anxiety.
  • Witness testimony from the spouse or family member of the victim that explains how the injury has affected their family unit.
  • Expert opinions on the victim’s mental state and how it compares with others in similar situations.

It can be persuasive evidence to provide objective testimony about what the claimant could do before the accident and is unable to do after. Because everyone can relate to simple statements like “she can’t walk in high heels anymore” or “he can no longer sleep on his back,” it can still be persuasive evidence.

For a FREE¬†pain and suffering¬†consultation or case evaluation, call Gloria Seidule’s Law Office at 722-287-1220. Or contact us.



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