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Court Address Pain and Suffering Damages Issue in Florida Car Accident Case

car wreck1In some accident cases, damages are relatively easy to calculate. In other cases, however, determinations of damages can be quite complicated. If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, it is important to seek the help of a qualified Miami attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our team understands the nuances of personal injury law and will work hard to seek the compensation you deserve for your harm.

In Ortega v. Belony, the plaintiff broke his neck in a car accident. After the incident, the man was in the hospital for just over a week. For three months after that, he wore a medical halo device. The man’s treating physician recommended that he have neck surgery, but the man declined.

While recovering, the man lived with his brother, who helped him with his daily needs. The man reported having trouble sleeping, and on one night, he went back to the hospital to have the screws in his halo tightened. After the three months had passed, however, the man’s injuries had significantly healed, and he only had mild neck pain and some back pain from that point onwards. The physicians did not recommend any further treatment.

The man then filed a personal injury claim against the other driver involved in the accident. Around the same time, the man sought treatment from an orthopedic surgeon, who recommended surgery. The man again declined to have surgery but opted for three neck injections instead. This treatment proved to be helpful because the man was then able to perform his daily activities with no trouble. The man also made it clear that he did not intend to pursue additional medical treatment for his neck.

At the end of trial, the jury found that plaintiff was 70 percent liable for the accident and awarded him $32,971.86 in past and future medical expenses. However, the jury declined to award any damages for past and future pain and suffering. The judge ordered the jury to reconsider the evidence. After that, the jury came back and awarded the plaintiff $5,000 for past and future pain and suffering.

The trial judge expressed shock that the jury awarded the plaintiff such a low amount. Thus, on the plaintiff’s motion, the trial court increased the award to a total of $250,000. The additur was granted due to the fact that the jury’s low verdict shocked the conscience of the court.

The defendant appealed.

Pain and suffering damages are tough to calculate because they have no specific standard of measurement. Instead, pain and suffering damages are awarded at the discretion of the jury. A pain and suffering award is presumed to be correct if there is evidence to support it. Here, extensive evidence was presented that the plaintiff fully recovered from the injuries he suffered in the accident. Thus, the appellate court ruled that the lower court erred in granting additur because the evidence supported the jury’s verdict.

At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our skilled Miami car accident lawyers have the experience and determination to handle your auto accident claims. We will diligently work on your case and help you seek the compensation you rightfully deserve for your harm. We proudly represent clients throughout South Florida. Call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online today.

More Blog Posts:

Florida Supreme Court Clarifies the Collateral Source Rule, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, January 4, 2016

The “American Rule” in the Context of Florida Personal Injury Cases, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, December 24, 2015

Florida Appeals Court Resolves Summary Judgment Issue in Deadly Pedestrian Accident Case, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, December 24, 2015