In the State of Florida, accident victims can experience pain and suffering after an accident. Pain and suffering is a type of non-economic loss suffered by many victims. There are two primary types of pain and suffering: physical and mental. Florida recognizes that victims experience both types of damage after involvement in an accident.
Mental pain and suffering, also referred to as emotional distress, can include depression or other emotions and conditions affecting enjoyment of life. Anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are characteristic conditions which occur as a result of mental pain. Physical pain refers to discomfort experienced at the time of an accident and experienced on an ongoing basis during recovery and as a result of lasting injuries.
Victims of accidents in Florida may generally recover compensation in a personal injury claim for pain and suffering. However, Florida Statute 627.737 indicates that certain motor vehicle owners and operators are exempt from tort liability for bodily injury and pain and suffering for more minor injuries. A claim for pain and suffering following a motor vehicle accident can only be made against a driver who caused a collision if the accident resulted in the victim’s death; significant and permanent loss of the function of an important body part; permanent injury; or significant and permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Other examples of situations where a victim could recover compensation for pain and suffering include slip and fall claims, injury due to property or product defects, and injury resulting from medical malpractice. However, in medical negligence cases, compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering cannot exceed $500,000 per victim, according to Florida Statute 766.118.
Victims who wish to pursue recovery for pain and suffering as part of a tort claim will be required to prove the extent of their damages.