This isn’t my case. A 42-year-old lady won a $180,000 verdict.
She had a cervical (neck) injury which required epidural injections. However, a small portion of the award ($15,000) was for pain and suffering.
I do not know whether she had a herniated disc or bulging disc. The breakdown was $5,000 in past pain and suffering and $10,000 in future pain and suffering. She also aggravated (worsened) her pre-existing back issues.
She claimed that he would need epidurals in the future and medical treatment. He claimed that the other driver lost control of his vehicle and hit his vehicle in the entrance/exit area of a parking lot of a Walmart in Palm Beach County, Florida.
The jury found that her injuries were a result of the other driver’s negligence (fault), and that she suffered a permanent injury or aggravation of an existing injury.
The jury gave her $30,000 in lost earning capacity, and $5,000 in lost household services.
Why Did She Get Money for Pain and Suffering?
Because the jury found that her injury was permanent. If the jury would have found that her injury was not permanent, she would have not received any money in pain and suffering.
This is because in Florida in most car accident cases, you can only get money for money for pain and suffering if you have a permanent injury. That is, the doctor must say that it’s permanent.
Are there exceptions to this harsh rule?
Yes. A motorcycle rider doesn’t need a permanent injury to get pain and suffering compensation. Thus, motorcycle accident settlement amounts tend to be higher.
Even if your injuries are serious and your doctor states that your injuries are permanent, there is no guarantee that a jury awards you money for pain and suffering.
I think that the jury award of $10,000 in future pain and suffering for a 42-year-old is low given that the jury felt that she would need $100,000 in future medical treatment.
Assuming that she was expected to live 35 or so more years, then the jury basically awarded one dollar $1 a day for future pain and suffering. It took this case 7 years to go to trial, so the jury basically awarded two dollars ($2) a day for past pain and suffering.
The fact that you have to prove, in most auto accidents in Florida, that your injuries are permanent in order to get money for non-economic damages (e.g. pain, suffering, etc.) is one of more than 13 Important Factors Affecting a Car Crash Injury Claim.
Not having to prove that your injuries are permanent in order to have the possibility of getting money for pain and suffering is an advantage of a slip and fall case over an auto accident case.
Would a Spinal Fusion Surgery Have Increased the Verdict?
Yes, in all likelihood. Surgery typically leads to bigger verdicts (and settlements).
Which Insurance Companies Pay the Best for Epidural Injections?
I’ve had a good experience with CNA Insurance. Specifically, I reached a $260,000 settlement with CNA. In that claim, my client had an epidural injection. He had a disc protrusion.
How did that accident happen?
My client was driving for Uber when a van hit him. Here is a video about that $260,000 settlement:
Better insurance companies include The Hartford, Chubb, Crum & Forster, Hanover and others.
The case name for the $180,000 that I talked about is Dilapi v. Freedman. The verdict was in 2004.
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