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In Florida, the average settlement for a car accident is approximately $15,000. However, this figure can be much higher depending on the severity of your injuries. Because this is a no-fault state, how much you are entitled to—or whether or not you get any settlement at all—will also be determined by the amount of personal protection insurance (PIP) you carry.
Ideally, you should carry more than the minimum amount of PIP because it may not be enough to cover your damages. However, if it’s already too late and you’ve been in an accident, you may want to find a car accident lawyer to determine whether or not you can pursue a lawsuit.
Sometimes a lawsuit isn’t worth the time or money, and attorneys may also not be willing to take on lawsuits that aren’t worth their time. Keep reading to learn more about how damages are calculated as the first step in determining whether or not you may have a valid case.
How Economic Damages Are Calculated
Calculating economic damages is a fairly straightforward process. Your attorney will simply add up the receipts from the expenses that were caused by the accident. Your paycheck stubs or tax returns can be used to determine how much money you lost as a result of missed work.
One aspect of your economic damages that is not as straightforward is determining how much your medical bills are likely to be in the future and calculating your lost earning capacity.
How Pain and Suffering is Calculated
Pain and suffering is the most common form of non-economic damage, but it is not the only form of non-economic damage you can claim. You may also be able to claim:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Worsening of prior injuries
- Damage to your reputation
A spouse may also be able to claim loss of consortium. This encompasses the loss of love, sexual relations, or the ability to have children. Because these damages don’t have bills to go along with them, the courts must use one of two other methods to prove them.
The first of these two methods is the per diem method, which means “per day.” This is based on your earnings per day, and it’s based upon the idea that your earnings multiplied by the number of days you suffered are what your pain and suffering are worth.
A more common method that is used to calculate pain and suffering is the multiplier method. This method uses a multiplier between one and five to multiply your economic damages to come to a figure. The more severe your injuries, the higher the multiplier will be.
Florida’s Tort Threshold
If every injury that resulted in a doctor’s bill made its way through the court system, it would halt it in its tracks, delaying litigation for important cases. Because of this, in Florida, your injury must meet a tort threshold that determines which injuries are serious enough to take to court.
In order to meet the tort threshold, an injury must:
- Result in death
- Result in the permanent loss of important bodily functions
- Result in permanent, life-changing injuries
- Result in permanent and significant scarring
If you are in pain, stressed about bills, and wondering if you have a case, an attorney can answer your questions and connect you with resources that may help your recovery. You should not hesitate to call a lawyer if you have concerns. It may be the most valuable phone call you’ll ever make in your life.