If someone else’s negligence in a Florida auto accident caused your injury, you can make a claim for your damages. The damages that you can recover are listed in the Florida Standard Jury Instruction for Civil Cases 501.2. They are also listed (and explained) below.
This article doesn’t talk (too much) about the damages that you can recover if you’re the only person whose fault caused your injuries.
This article also doesn’t apply if your only claim is a workers compensation claim and you don’t have a personal injury claim. However, there are still times where you can sue for personal injury claim even if you’re injured while working.
Just because you are “entitled” to damages doesn’t mean that you will automatically get paid for them. Over 86 factors may affect the settlement value of an injury claim. Moreover, over 13 Important Factors Affect an Florida Auto Crash Injury Claim.
You aren’t guaranteed to get the same settlement as someone you know or another’s settlement that you read about on the internet. Just like everyone has a different fingerprint, every case is different.
Here are the types of damages that you may be able to recover if someone’s negligence causes your injury in a Florida auto accident:
1. Bodily Injury, Pain, Disability, Disfigurement, Physical Impairment, Mental Anguish, Inconvenience or Loss of Capacity for Enjoyment of Life (in Past or Future)
If someone else’s carelessness caused your injury, then you may be entitled to damages for any bodily injury and any resulting pain and suffering, disability and physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience or loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life experienced in the past or to be experienced in the future.
Keep in mind that these non-economic damages are reduced by your comparative fault in addition to many other factors.
Tip: In most, but not all, Florida auto accidents in order to recover non-economic damages (e.g. pain, suffering, etc.) you must be able to exceed the tort threshold. This usually comes in the form of having a permanent injury.
There is no exact standard for measuring pain and suffering damages; however looking at past jury verdicts for the itemized amount that was awarded for pain and suffering for similar injuries can help estimate the full value of pain and suffering. 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. For example, I settled a case for $445,000 (before a lawsuit) where a truck hit my client while he was riding a motorcycle $445,000. The motorcyclist suffered a lower leg (tibia) fracture and had surgery to repair this. His medical bills were about $140,000.
If we assume that the claims adjuster didn’t assign any money to any possible future medical expenses, than the bulk of this settlement was for pain and suffering.
Although you can choose your own orthopedic doctor to treat with, doctors hired by the defense industry generally don’t believe that soft tissue injuries are permanent. Therefore, for settlement purposes auto insurers often discount the full value of pain and suffering in soft tissue or minor injury car wreck cases in Florida.
In most other types of accidents in Florida, such as a slip and fall, you don’t need to prove that you have a permanent injury to be entitled to pain and suffering damages.
2. Past lost income and Household Expenses
Find out whether you’re entitled to lost wages if you’re injured in an Florida auto accident. That article also talks about if you can recover money for household services (e.g. paying for a maid, gardener, babysitter, etc.)
3. Future lost income reduced to present value
You’re entitled to recover future lost income (reduced to present value) from any potential defendants if their negligence causes your injuries in a Florida auto accident. Future lost income damages are reduced by the percentage of your comparative fault in addition to many other factors.
4a. Past Medical expenses
You’re entitled to recover past medical expenses from any potential defendants if their negligence caused your injuries in a Florida auto accident. Medical expenses are reduced by the percentage of your comparative fault, if any, in addition to many other factors.
In most auto accident cases, your medical expenses are paid differently if you’re injured in a car accident as opposed to being injured in a slip and fall or other type of non-auto accident. The party responsible for paying your medical bills after an auto accident depends, in part, on the vehicles involved and facts involved.
If PIP pays for your medical expenses, you cannot make a double recovery against any potential defendants for the amount that PIP pays or is payable for your medical bills.
4b. Future Medical Expenses
In some cases, your treating orthopedic doctor will say that you need extensive future medical treatment. However, the liability insurer’s “independent” doctor may disagree and say that you don’t need future treatment.
5. 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.
You’re entitled to recover mileage (to and from any medical visits) from any potential defendants if their negligence caused a Florida auto accident. Mileage may be reduced by the percentage of the decedent’s comparative fault in addition to many other factors.
You are entitled to be reimbursed mileage at approximately $.56 cents per mile when you are traveling to and from your medical appointments or the pharmacy. You should fill out a mileage form and send it to the claims adjuster for the party that caused your accident.
If you’re in an auto accident, you should also send the mileage form to the PIP adjuster. If PIP pays for mileage, the injured person cannot make a double recovery against any potential defendants for the amount that PIP pays or is payable for mileage.
7. Spouse’s loss of consortium and services
In Florida, a spouse can bring a claim to fairly and adequately compensate the spouse for any loss by reason of [his wife’s] [her husband’s] injury, of [his] [her] services, comfort, society and attentions in the past [and in the future] caused by the incident in question.
8. Punitive Damages
In rare instances, you may also be entitled to punitive damages which are designed to punish the wrongdoer who caused the accident. In order to recover punitive damages, you would generally need to show that the at fault party was reckless, such as drove drunk, and this caused your injuries. You cannot get punitive damages if you all you can show is that the person who caused the accident was careless.
9. Wrongful Death Damages
If someone’s negligence kills a family member or spouse in Florida, the estate and the survivors (family members) may have a wrongful death case to recover damages against the potential defendants. These damages are reduced by the decedent’s comparative negligence as well as any other factors.
In addition to a wrongful death case, under Florida Statute 627.736 says that if the decedent is an insured under an auto policy providing PIP, then death benefits of $5,000 per decedent are in addition to the medical and disability benefits provided under the insurance policy.
The insurer may pay death benefits to the executor or administrator of the deceased, to any of the deceased’s relatives by blood, legal adoption, or marriage, or to any person appearing to the insurer to be equitably entitled to such benefits.
The decedent’s estate cannot make a double recovery against any potential defendants for the amount that PIP pays or is payable for medical and disability benefits or funeral expenses.
Warning: There is a 2 year statute of limitations (time to sue) if someone was killed as a result of an auto accident.
Bottom Line: There are many types of damages you may be able to get if you’re (or a family member is) injured in a Florida auto crash. There are over 11 reasons to hire an injury attorney who can fight in an attempt to get you as money as possible.
Were you injured in a motor vehicle crash or other type of accident?
Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled including, but not limited to, car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving accidents and much more.
I want to represent you if someone’s carelessness in a Florida accident caused your injury, or if a family member was killed. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.
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