Florida doesn’t place a cap on the amount of damages for mental trauma in a personal injury case unless medical malpractice is involved. In the event it’s a medical malpractice case, it is capped at $500,000.
Does Florida Allow You to Sue for Mental Trauma?
Florida, like all other states, allows victims of personal injury to sue for mental trauma as part of their damages. These damages are considered noneconomic in nature.
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Are There Financial Limits on Pain and Suffering Damages in Florida?
There are no caps on financial amounts for pain and suffering damages in Florida personal injury lawsuits. The only exception to the rule is if the case involves medical malpractice, which carries a damages cap of $500,000.
What Is the Florida Impact Rule?
The Florida Impact Rule is a law that lets a person who files a personal injury lawsuit recover compensation for emotional injuries they have suffered even if the defendant did not actually make physical contact with them at the time of the incident.
What Does the Florida Impact Rule Mean?
Florida’s Impact Rule dates back to 1893 in a decision in a case known as International Ocean Telegraph Co. v. Saunders, 14 So. The plaintiff in the case, Mr. Saunders, sued a telegraph company for failing to transmit an urgent telegram timely while his wife was dying in a hospital. By the time he received the telegram, his wife had already passed away. As a result, he sued the company for emotional distress and mental suffering.
Why Does Florida Have the Impact Rule?
Florida has the Impact Rule to compensate victims for emotional injuries they suffer in traumatic situations. These are significant mental and emotional injuries that sometimes lead to the development of physical ailments as well.
How Can You Pursue a Claim for Emotional Distress Under Florida’s Impact Rule?
In order to pursue a claim for emotional distress under Florida’s Impact Rule, the situation leading to the damages must be extreme to the point of outrage and going past any level of decency. The defendant’s actions must have been deliberate and outrageous, leading to the victim’s emotional distress, which must be severe.
What Is Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is a type of noneconomic damage that can be claimed under personal injury claims. As a result, if you are filing a claim in Florida, it relates to the statute of limitations for personal injury, which is four years from the date of the incident. However, if the pain and suffering stems from a medical malpractice issue, the statute of limitations is half that amount, two years.
What Are Economic Damages?
Economic damages are tangible losses suffered by an injured plaintiff in personal injury cases. These damages include medical expenses, ongoing medical care, lost wages and lost earning capacity and property damage.
What Are Noneconomic Damages?
Unlike economic damages, noneconomic damages don’t carry any particular monetary amount. These are damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, emotional trauma and the like.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant in a civil case for engaging in egregious or outrageous behavior leading to the plaintiff’s injuries and other damages. Although their purpose is not meant to award a plaintiff, punitive damages can far exceed the financial amount of economic and noneconomic damages in a personal injury case.
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What Types of Damages Are Available for Mental Trauma in Florida?
There are different types of damages available for mental trauma in a Florida personal injury lawsuit. They include emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and sometimes, punitive damages.
What Is Emotional Distress?
Emotional distress occurs when a situation has caused a person to continuously experience unpleasant emotions that are extreme in nature. These damages can affect the victim’s daily life and interfere with their regular activities.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering relates to the physical pain or discomfort and emotional damage a person suffers in an accident or incident.
Understanding Loss of Enjoyment of Life
If a victim’s mental trauma is so severe that it negatively impacts their everyday life, it can cause them to experience a loss of enjoyment of life. This shows how seriously the accident or incident has impacted the person. Often, the individual no longer participates in activities they once loved and may even fear doing so.
What Is Loss of Consortium?
Loss of consortium is a damage suffered in a personal injury or wrongful death claim that relates to the loss of a familial or romantic relationship benefit such as affection or a sexual relationship.
Punitive Damages in a Mental Trauma Case
If a jury determines that the defendant behaved in an inexcusably egregious manner in a personal injury case involving mental trauma, it might decide to award the plaintiff punitive damages to punish that defendant.
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What Are the Different Types of Emotional Distress Lawsuits?
Depending on the situation, there are different types of emotional distress lawsuits a person can file. They include intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED), workplace emotional distress, wrongful death and defamation.
What Is Intentional infliction of Emotional Distress?
Intentional infliction of emotional distress or IIED means that someone deliberately behaved outrageously to cause a person to suffer severe emotional distress. There are different elements to prove this kind of behavior in a personal injury claim. They include extreme and outrageous conduct by the defendant, that the conduct was intentional and that the plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress as a direct result of that conduct.
What Is Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress?
Negligent infliction of emotional distress or NIED causes emotional distress to the victim that is caused by negligence. Elements needed to prove a personal injury claim include duty of care, breach of duty and emotional distress suffered as a result of that breach of duty.
What Is Workplace Emotional Distress?
Workplace emotional distress occurs when an employee is subjected to continuous unwanted behavior such as discrimination, harassment or bullying. The victim may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) such as flashbacks, fear, anxiety and physical effects as well.
Wrongful Death Effects
The surviving family members of a victim of wrongful death commonly experience emotional distress among other damages that cannot be measured by a monetary amount. Emotional distress is one of the most common damages claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is Defamation?
Defamation occurs when someone makes false claims about another person and damages their good name and reputation. It can be done verbally through slander or in writing through libel. Victims of defamation can suffer from emotional distress if their reputations are ruined.
How Much Can You Get from a Settlement When Suing for Emotional Distress in Florida?
There is no set amount of money you can recover in a settlement when suing for emotional distress in Florida. However, if your lawsuit is against a government entity or a medical malpractice claim, there is a cap on damages. The cap is $200,000 in the former situation and $500,000 in the latter.
What Is Pain and Suffering in Florida?
Pain and suffering is a noneconomic type of damage often included in personal injury claims. It includes the physical discomfort and emotional distress a victim experiences after being involved in an accident or incident. Usually, pain and suffering comes with a physical injury, but it can also involve emotional or mental injuries as well.
Understanding Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering often goes hand-in-hand with a physical injury and can be claimed as part of a victim’s noneconomic damages in a personal injury claim. It can also apply to wrongful death claims when the victim suffers physical pain as a result of their injuries prior to their death.
Understanding Emotional Distress
Emotional distress relates to the emotional effects a person suffers after an extremely stressful situation or incident. Often, it involves a variety of emotional symptoms that may include anguish, humiliation, fear, trauma, sorrow and more. Emotional distress is severe enough to disrupt the victim’s life and interfere with their regular activities. They may also lose interest in things they once enjoyed.
Are Pain and Suffering and Emotional Distress the Same Thing?
Pain and suffering and emotional distress are not the same thing. Pain and suffering refers to physical discomfort a person feels from personal injuries. Meanwhile, emotional distress is harm that is emotional and mental in nature.
How Can You Prove Negligence in a Florida Emotional Distress Claim?
To prove negligence in an emotional distress claim in Florida, the elements of negligence must be present. Those elements are that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care to act reasonably, they breached that duty and the plaintiff suffered emotional distress as a result of the breach.
How to Understand Your Florida Claim
In order to have a successful emotional distress claim in Florida, it’s important to know what must be established. In addition to the elements of negligence in an NIED claim or intent and other elements in an IIED claim, your emotional distress must be extreme to the point of interfering with your daily life. You have a right to recover compensation for the damages you’ve suffered as a result.
What Is Considered Emotional Distress in Florida?
In Florida, emotional distress constitutes any intentional infliction involving outrageous, extreme and deliberate conduct against a victim. It must be to such an extent that the emotional distress the person suffers is severe enough to disrupt their daily life and activities.
How is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Florida?
Pain and suffering is calculated through economic and noneconomic damages. This includes any expenses the victim has lost out of their own pocket and those that cannot be measured by a financial amount. It also takes into account the severity of the person’s injury and the level of pain they’ve suffered and how that pain and suffering has affected their everyday life.
How Are Economic Damages Calculated?
Economic damages are easy to calculate because they have specific monetary costs. They include your medical expenses, ongoing medical treatment, lost wages and lost earning capacity and property damage.
How Are Noneconomic Damages Calculated?
Noneconomic damages can be challenging to calculate because they don’t carry a set number. Generally, there’s no monetary cost for a victim’s pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish or any other similar damages.
What Is the Multiplier Method?
The multiplier method is often used by insurance companies to determine a financial amount for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages. It uses a number between 1.5 and 5 to multiply the sum of a plaintiff’s special damages. The multiplier number used is determined based on the severity of the victim’s damages, the length of time they might fully recover, if ever, the defendant’s level of fault and proof of the victim’s suffering. However, the multiplier is only an estimate.
What Is the Per Diem Method?
The per diem method means a set dollar amount is assigned for pain and suffering damages. There may be a specific amount per day for each day the plaintiff has suffered.
What Do Insurance Companies Do to Calculate?
Insurance companies often rely on their own methods to calculate pain and suffering damages. If a plaintiff doesn’t find the amount fair, their attorney might continue negotiating to get them a better settlement number.
Knowing When You Can Seek Compensation
You can seek compensation for pain and suffering or emotional distress when your damages are extreme to the extent that they interfere with and disrupt your normal daily life and activities.
How Much You Can Recover for Emotional Distress in Florida
Unless your emotional distress stems from medical malpractice or you’re suing a government agency, there is no cap on the amount of damages you can recover in a lawsuit.
What Are the Limitations on Pain and Suffering?
The only limitations on pain and suffering damages in Florida occur when you have a medical malpractice claim. In that situation, you are limited to $500,000 in damages.
What Are the Average Examples of Pain and Suffering Settlements in Florida?
The average pain and suffering settlements in Florida can range between $650,000 and $1 million. Many of these incidents involve car accidents. However, one example involved a slip-and-fall accident that resulted in $650,000 in damages after the victims suffered a herniated disk and needed neck surgery.
Another example involves a motorcycle accident that saw a man thrown from his vehicle after a car made a left-hand turn into him. The victim suffered multiple broken bones and fractures. His settlement award was $1 million.
What Types of Personal Injury Damages Are Available in Florida?
In a Florida personal injury claim, you can recover both economic and noneconomic damages.
Comparing Economic and Noneconomic Damages
Economic damages carry set monetary amounts while noneconomic damages have no specific price. Economic damages are easy to attribute a cost to while noneconomic damages are often tricky.
Average Pain and Suffering Settlement Amount in Florida
On average, pain and suffering settlements in Florida can range between $15,000 and $50,000, but there is no cap unless your claim is for medical malpractice.
What Conditions Are Common Forms of Emotional Distress?
There are certain conditions that are common forms of emotional distress. They include major depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders and substance abuse disorders.
What Is Major Depression?
Major depression doesn’t mean a person is depressed; it significantly impacts their daily life and ability to function. A person might sleep too much or too little, neglect their personal hygiene, overeat or not eat enough and have difficulty holding a job and maintaining relationships.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental health condition that causes extreme fear and difficulty doing certain things. People with anxiety often need medication to control their condition.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a condition that causes victims to continuously relieve a traumatic experience in their minds. It can cause a slew of problems in their everyday life and put their regular routine to a standstill.
What Is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme anxiety and disrupts a person’s daily life.
What is OCD?
OCD is a mental health disorder that causes victims to perform the same activity over and over compulsively to the point where it dictates their life.
What Are Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia develop when a person develops a negative self-body image. What they see in the mirror does not reflect reality.
What Is Substance Abuse Disorder?
Substance abuse disorder occurs when a person develops an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Those who suffer from mental health disorders are more likely to develop it because they turn to substances to blunt the effects of those conditions.
Intentional or Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
Emotional distress can be intentionally or negligently inflicted. These situations are known as intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
What Types of Accidents Can Lead to Emotional Distress?
Different types of accidents or incidents can lead to emotional distress. They include motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice injuries, workplace accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, sexual assault, product liability and animal attacks.
Emotional Distress from Motor Vehicle Accidents
Many people involved in motor vehicle accidents suffer emotional distress symptoms as they relive the accident in their heads. PTSD and phobias of driving or even being in a car can occur.
Emotional Distress from Medical Malpractice
Suffering injuries from medical malpractice is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can endure. The victim can develop a deep-seated fear of doctors and even avoid seeking medical care when necessary.
Emotional Distress from Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents can cause emotional distress and fear of being in a similar situation again at work. In some cases, the person can suffer to the extent that they fear even working again.
Emotional Distress from Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents can result in emotional distress as the victim develops a fear of going into public places and experiencing the same situation again. For example, someone who has a slip-and-fall in a grocery store might refuse to shop in such stores out of extreme fear and instead have their groceries delivered to their home.
Emotional Distress from Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is always traumatic and can leave survivors suffering from emotional distress and a slew of emotional and mental symptoms. Even with therapy, their emotional distress can linger and interfere with their life.
Emotional Distress from Product Liability
Using a product the way it was intended can strike fear in anyone who suffers injuries from a product liability situation. The victim might not even want to own the type of product involved in their injuries.
Emotional Distress from Animal Attacks
Victims of dog bites and other animal attacks often suffer from emotional distress and develop phobias about the type of animal involved in the incident. This type of fear can be crippling. If the victim has a pet of the same species as the animal that attacked them, sadly, they might even have to give it away.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Cap on Emotional Distress Damages in Florida?
There is no cap on emotional distress damages in Florida unless you are suing for medical malpractice. In that situation, the cap is $500,000.
How Much Can I Sue for Emotional Distress in Florida?
You can sue for any amount for emotional distress in Florida unless your case involves medical malpractice.
Can You Sue for Emotional Trauma in Florida?
You can sue for emotional trauma in Florida if your damages are so extreme that they interfere with your everyday life and ability to live normally.
What Are Mental Anguish Damages in Florida?
In Florida, mental anguish damages include phobias, anxiety, depression, insomnia, inability to concentrate and physical symptoms that interfere with your daily life and activities.
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