Florida car accident lawyer, Dr. Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD, explains money for pain and suffering in car accident cases.
A common question, statement or rant I hear from clients when an insurance company makes their first offer is what about my pain and suffering? I have to explain to these folks for the fourth or fifth time that in Florida, pain and suffering damages are not automatic. You may be asking why is that? The answer is that is the way Florida No-Fault law was written.
Florida No-Fault Law (PIP) – The Quid Pro Quo
In the 1970s, the Florida legislature said there was a lawsuit crisis. These lawsuit crises have been going on for years and this excuse is used every time politicians want to change the law. The alleged concern was that there were too many lawsuits filed for smaller automobile accident so they followed some of the states in the Northeast in formulating No-Fault automobile insurance. The no-fault system provides medical care and lost wages up to $10,000 whether the person is at fault or not at fault for the accident. As a trade off for this medical benefit, an injured person is not entitled to money for pain and suffering unless the injured person meets the “tort” or “permanency” threshold.
Pain and Suffering Damages Money for pain and suffering is available in one of three situations:
- Permanent injury
- Loss of an important bodily function
- Significant scarring
This tort threshold becomes to big battle ground in automobile accident cases. Insurance companies will fight it by hiring doctors to come in to court and testify that the injured person did not receive a permanent injury in the car accident. Recently, the trend with juries is to compromise and give injured people their past and future medical expenses but find that they did not receive a permanent injury – so they do not have provide money for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages are not easy to come by. Car accident victims need to be sure to follow their doctors' advice and follow through will all treatment recommendations so the medical evidence supports a finding that there is a permanent injury.
Florida automobile accident is complex. If you have any questions about a Florida car accident case, call Dr. Guy S. DiMartino, DC, JD at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the internet consultation form on the right.