Car Accident Injuries
In Florida, in order to recover much of your car accident injuries and damages, you must have suffered an injury that is enumerated or set forth in Florida Statute 627.737(2). You can click on http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/627.737 and see what Florida law allows one to obtain.
This especially applies to any pain and suffering damages. Pain and suffering damages are classified by the law as non-economic damages. Pain and suffering damages require you to show a permanent injury within a reasonable probability or medical certainty.
Medical bills and lost earnings, on the other hand, are economic damages. To recover past medical bills, past lost earnings, and future medical bills you do not need to show a permanent injury. You will need a doctor to testify that those damages were related to the car accident and are reasonable and necessary. But you do not need a permanent injury to get those damages.
As you can see, to recover, your car accident injuries have to be seriously injured before you can recover. Herniated disks in the neck or low back area known as the lumbar and cervical spine can be permanent injuries if you do not have a preexisting condition. However, if you have a preexisting condition, you may still be able to recover for a permanent aggravation of a pre-existing condition. And, sometimes, pain across the shoulder can be from the neck and radiating from the neck. Broken bones are usually permanent injuries by nature including, at times, fractured ribs. Meniscal tears to the knee are serious and can result in surgery. A doctor may give a permanent impairment rating for such an injury. Tears in the ligaments of the knee such as the lateral, medial, and anterior cruciate ligaments can be permanent and recoverable. A fracture in the neck is very serious and is usually a permanent car accident injury.
If your case goes into litigation, the Defendant will almost always hire a medical expert who has a history of testifying in personal injury cases against Plaintiff’s. That doctor will get an opportunity to review your records and examine you. So, any testimony from your doctor will not go unrebutted. The defendant will hire a doctor who nearly always says that you were not hurt or do not have a permanent injury. What opinion is most believable is, in the end, up to a jury. Your accident injuries will be debated. And, if a jury does not believe they are related to the crash, then you do not recover for them.
To get future pain and suffering, a doctor is going to have to testify that you have a serious permanent injury such as some of what is described above. You really need to make sure that the Car Accident Medical Doctor you are seeing is a good doctor. If that doctor has a bad reputation or is from a speciality that is not highly respected, then a jury may not be persuaded to find his testimony is credible and you may not be able to recover non-economic damages.
In the end, you will need a jury to believe that your car accident injuries were caused by the accident and were permanent in order to get pain and suffering damages. These days, defendants and their injurance companies argue that any injury that is not a fracture is a “soft tissue” injury. They argue that the impact was too small to cause the injuries. The basis of the argument is that your injuries do not meet the “threshold” of being permanent within a reasonable degree of medical certainty. Our practice deals with this issue pre-litigation, during litigation, and try cases when this is the main issue. If you have any questions about your car accident injuries and whether these damages are recoverable, call us and we can give you our opinion.
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