If someone’s negligence caused your injury, you may be able to recover compensation.
You can find an explanation of the different types of compensation (damages) in the Florida Standard Jury Instruction for Civil Cases 501.2, but I will discuss them below.
The damages that you may be able to recover in a Florida personal injury case are:
I’ll break these down into two categories below.
A. Injury, pain, disability, disfigurement, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life
If someone’s negligence caused your injuries in a Florida accident, then you may be able to recover damages for any bodily injury sustained and any resulting pain and suffering, disability and physical impairment, disfigurement, inconvenience or loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life experienced in the past or to be experienced in the future.
No Exact Standard for Measuring Pain and Suffering
There is no exact standard for measuring such damage. Learn how over 76 factors affect the settlement value of an injury claim. Don’t think that you are going to get the same settlement as someone you know or a settlement that you read about on the internet.
The pain and suffering amount should be fair and just in the light of the evidence. Pain and suffering damages are often the largest part of a settlement.
Need Permanent Injury to Get Pain and Suffering Money in Most Florida Car Crash Cases
Motorcyclists Don’t Need a Permanent Injury to Get Pain and Suffering Compensation
If someone’s carelessness caused you to get injured while you were occupying a motorcycle in Florida, you don’t need a permanent injury in order to be entitled to recover damages in tort for pain and suffering.
Most of Motorcyclist’s $445,000 Settlement for Leg Fracture is for Pain and Suffering
A motorcycle rider got a $445,000 settlement after a truck hit him in Hialeah, Florida. He had surgery to fix his broken finger, and fractured tibial plateau.
Most of the settlement was compensation for his pain and suffering.
In most other types of accidents, such as a slip and fall, you do not need to prove that you have a permanent injury to get money for pain and suffering. This is one reason that an insurer may more often pay you less in a Florida minor impact soft tissue case then in a Florida non-motor vehicle case with the same injuries and clear liability.
B. Mental Anguish
If someone’s negligence caused your injuries in a Florida accident, then you may be able to recover damages for mental anguish.
Need an Impact in Most Cases to Get Money for Mental Pain and Suffering
However, in Florida there is an “impact rule” which states that a claimant cannot recover for mental or emotional pain and suffering that is not linked to a physical injury. Thomas v. Hospital Bd. of Directors of Lee County, 41 So.3d 246 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010)
A. Past lost income
I wrote an article that gives 4 tips for getting paid for missing work after an accident. That article applies to all accidents.
In an auto accident in Florida, you may also be able to make a claim for lost wages against the bodily injury liability insurer one of 11 Parties You Can You Sue in an Auto Accident if their negligence caused your injuries.
B. Past and Future Medical expenses
In most cases, your medical expenses are paid differently if you are injured in a car accident vs. if you were injured in a slip and fall or other type of non-motor vehicle accident. You can learn who pays your medical bills if you’re injured in a Florida auto accident.
If you have medical bills from an injury on someone’s premises, then read this article on what to do after you receive a bill from your injury on someone’s property.
C. Future lost income reduced to present value
The party who caused the accident is responsible for your future lost income.
In addition, in a car accident in Florida, if there is uninsured motorist coverage available it may pay for your future lost income.
D. Replacement value of lost personal property
In a car accident you can recover damage to your car and items inside your car under either your own collision coverage or the at fault party’s property damage coverage.
E. Funeral expenses
In Florida, in most car accident cases funeral expenses may be recoverable under the decedent’s personal injury protection coverage, uninsured motorist coverage as well as against the other driver, owner or their employer. Read this article about what damages are recoverable under uninsured motorist coverage (if that coverage is available in your case).
If the decedent was killed on a premises, the personal representative – who brings the wrongful death claim in Florida – may claim funeral expenses against the at fault party if he can prove fault.
You can learn more about what types of when family members may have a wrongful death case.
If someone’s negligence caused your injury in Florida, you are entitled to be reimbursed mileage at approximately $.50 cents per mile when you are traveling to and from your medical appointments or the pharmacy. You should fill out a form which lists the miles driven to and from medical appointments and the pharmacy. Send that form to the claims adjuster of the liability insurer for the careless party who caused your accident.
Also Send Mileage to Your Insurance Company in Florida Motor Vehicle Accident Cases
If someone’s carelessness caused your injury in a Florida car accident, you should also send the mileage form to your auto insurer. This is because PIP may pay for this mileage.
An injured person should also send the form to the liability insurer for the careless party who caused your accident.
If the claimant is allowed to make a claim for punitive damages, it can significantly drive up the value of a Florida injury case. Punitive damage claims are in addition to economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damage claims may be allowed in limited circumstances.
In Florida, the two most common circumstances where punitive damages claims may be allowed are if the tortfeasor driver was drunk or on a cell phone at the time of the crash.
Florida DUI crash cases
If drunk driver causes your injury in a Florida car or truck crash, you may be able to make a punitive damage claim as well. If the Florida DUI crash victim is a witness is the criminal trial, it can increase the likelihood that he or she may make a punitive damage claim.
Negligent Driver was Using Cell Phone
Some Florida courts have allowed an injured person to make a punitive damage claim if the careless driver was on a cell phone at the time of the crash and caused your injury. For example, if a witness testifies that the negligent driver was operating a large truck (e.g. a 60,000 pound dump truck, etc.) and talking on a cell phone at the time of the crash in Florida, the claimant may be allowed to present a punitive damage claim.
In Florida, if the other driver turns a huge truck into the claimant’s right of way and causes injury, the court may allow the jury to decide whether punitive damages should be granted.
Don’t Use An Injury Calculator
There are 5 huge reasons not to use an online settlement calculator so do not use one.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.