Pain and Suffering: How is it Calculated?

shout-let-it-all-out-1327383-s“Pain and suffering” is a phrase commonly associated with tort law. Personal injury attorneys are well versed on the topic and how it applies to victims who seek their expertise. However, if you are in a position that has insurance companies discussing pain and suffering, then it is helpful to know a bit about it yourself.

This is a legal term that simply puts words to the emotional and mental effects of a tragedy. This can encompass the lasting grief, fear, loss of sleep, and nightmares that result in loss of enjoyment of life.

Insurance companies – and the courts — have more difficulty putting a number on this kind of damage than they do on medical bills, repair costs, and lost wages, for obvious reasons. There is no clear-cut formula for determining the compensation due to a victim.

A Multiple of Actual Damages Method. Due to the fact that the legal system has not set forth a consistent calculation method for pain and suffering, many have simply taken it to be a multiple of the calculable damages done. That is to say that, if the medical- and repair expenses total $15,000 and the lost wages add up to $5,000, then the total calculable damages are $20,000. The $20,000 is then multiplied by some figure to determine how much additional compensation should be paid out for the mental and emotional anguish suffered. This multiplier is generally between one and five. The correct figure is determined based on the severity of the case, the longevity of the injuries sustained, and other similar factors. So, while the actual damages would be $20,000, the pain and suffering owed could be as much as $100,000.

Pay Per Day Method. A per diem approach is much simpler, in that a daily amount of pain and suffering is assigned to the case, then this is multiplied by the number of days between the time of the accident and the day when recovery was/will be achieved.

Neither of these methods is foolproof and there is no guarantee that courts or insurance companies will use either. Today, there are also several computer programs that have been created for this purpose. The best way to ensure that you get what you deserve after a Tampa auto accident or tragic event is to hire a personal injury attorney ready to fight on your behalf.

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NY Municipality Ups The Ante For Irresponsible Dog Owners. What About Florida?

coco-the-golden-retriever-1422078-mIn a story by CBS 6, it was reported that one New York State Municipality is going to try to set a trend by labeling dogs and their owners as a danger.

New York Assemblyman James Tedisco is taking a strong stance on this topic, suggesting that locals should be able to exercise, walk their leashed pets, and enjoy their neighborhoods without fear of irresponsible owners and their dogs.

All too often, dogs pay the penalty for the bites and attacks they inflict on innocent bystanders. However, the majority of experts agree that bad dog behavior almost always comes down to bad ownership. Tedisco and his supporters are suggesting a legislative bill that would increase the penalties faced by these owners. These guilty parties could face fines upwards of $5,000 if the bill passes, and may even spend time behind bars.

In addition to the hefty fines, Tedisco wants local governments to place dangerous dog warnings on official websites, so individuals and families can steer clear of potential risks.

In Florida, the law does place the burden of negligence on the shoulders of the dog owner. The person, whether in a public or private place, is liable for all damages suffered if a dog attacks another person. This applies even if the dog has shown no signs of aggression in the past. However, if the victim was negligent in any way, the responsibility of the dog owner will be reduced. Owners of dogs previously declared dangerous may face misdemeanor charges if the dog attacks again.

It is important to seek legal help if you are attacked by a dog. Even small bites can prove very dangerous, especially if the dog has not been properly vaccinated. Seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. And, as a dog owner, be sure that you show your pet love by enrolling him or her in proper training classes.

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Hit-and-Run Leaves Infant Unattended In Middle Of Road

travell-roads-i-1440698-mI have written on many different topics on this blog. Many of those stories were sad or tragic, but when it comes to disturbing, few will top this one. In an effort to cover whatever offense he had caused, a father left his five-month-old son face down and bleeding in the middle of the road.

The accident occurred around 10:30 pm in Montgomery County, Texas. The wreckage, which can be seen in the USA Today report, was enough to stir heart strings, as the car was left upside down on the side of the road, but what the authorities found upon their arrival was truly awful.

The father, who had not been found as of July 21, is accused of abandonment and likely leaving the scene of an accident. According to reports, the parents of the child had a dispute, after which the father took the child and sped away in the Ford Fusion. The baby was ejected from the car on impact. He was found 20 feet from the car and was face down in the road.

The father, most likely in an effort to escape the mother and the likelihood of jail time, left the baby and sped away in another car before authorities arrived.

Obviously, cases like this are not common, but hit and runs are. Unfortunately, all too often, people will run from Tampa auto accidents for fear of being arrested or facing financial consequences.

In Florida, the law states that it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident when physical damage has been done to another person or another person’s property. When it is property in question, the driver must leave name, address, and registration information. If the owner of the property is not accessible, then the driver is responsible for contacting the authorities.

When another person has been injured, as was the case in Texas, Florida considers it a felony punishable as a Level 5 offense to leave the scene. The accused could face five years of jail time, five years of probation, and a fine of up to $5,000. In the case discussed above, Texas laws will apply and the man in question will likely receive additional punishment for abandoning his child.

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Summer Activities Can Be Fun, But Also Dangerous

skydiver-616941-mThis is the summer for fun and staying active, which is a great thing for many Americans who suffered far too many cold, dark months throughout the past winter. However, there are dangers that come with trying new and fast-paced activities.

Riding ATVs. News out of Ohio reported that a 34-year-old man will, unfortunately, serve as yet another example of the risks that come with ATV use. The man was at a landscaping business riding the four-wheeler when it overturned and pinned him. His young son was with him and witnessed the accident, but was left uninjured. The father was not so fortunate. He was pronounced dead at the scene. It is unclear if the business holds any responsibility in the accident. It was reported that the facility was closed at the time of the rollover.

Skydiving. As a personal injury attorney, I have come to understand exactly how much trust one must place in another’s hands when trying a new activity. Skydiving is one that comes with substantial risk. Though people recognize that this is a sport for true thrill-seekers, it is still devastating to hear about skydivers’ lives being claimed.

In a recent report, two such participants missed their marks. One walked away with a few injuries, while the second was proclaimed dead at the scene. The cause of this accident is still under investigation.

Go Kart Racing. On the other hand, go-kart racing is substantially less dangerous and considered a kid-safe activity. Millions of children and adults will climb behind the wheels of these mini-vehicles this year. Few will be as unlucky, however, as Kierstin Eaddy. Just 14 years old, she overshot the finish line, went through a fence that snagged her helmet, and received a fatal blow. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Accidents can still happen and this one is under investigation.

Though no one can eliminate all potential risks from life, people need to be aware of their surroundings, and the credentials and experience of those with whom, on occasion, their lives are placed. When negligence is the cause of an accident, a personal injury attorney can help recoup financial loss, but a lost loved one cannot be returned.

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Water Sports Safety: Water Skiing

water-fun-373709-mThis is the season for water sports. As much of the nation enjoys warm temperatures and long awaited vacation time, the beaches at the oceans, lakes, rivers, and ponds fill up with people hoping to take a dip, ride the waves, or take a turn behind the wheel of a boat.

If you and your loved ones are going to strap on water skis this season, be sure that you are fully prepared to mitigate the risks associated with the high speed water sports. Remember that this activity involves fast speeds and high impacts. Protect those you love by following these simple water sports guidelines.

#1. Always Wear Protective Gear. These products have been developed for a reason – they can save lives. Always choose an approved life vest, well fit to the skier. Head protection is also highly recommended. A skier can be knocked unconscious if the impact is hard enough. Be sure that he or she will be easily visible and held afloat until help arrives. Before each and every ride, check the ropes, handles, and other gear for possible defects.

#2. Know the Hand Signs. Because communication between the skier and those on the boat can be muddled by engine sounds, water splashing, and other vacationers’ voices, be sure that there are clear hand signs, understood by everyone participating in the activities.

#3. Never Ski Without a Spotter. Do you want to face off against a personal injury attorney in court? If so, then take a skier out without anyone to watch from the back of the boat. When that person is seriously injured or killed, you will very likely be found negligent. If you don’t wish for this to be the case, then please bring a spotter along to keep an eye on the skier (and to be a line of communication between the skier and the driver) at all times.

#4. Be Sure Visibility is Good and Water is Deep. If your skier gets some air and hits the water at fast speeds, will he or she be in danger of hitting the rocky bottom below? Be sure that you know the water depth before skiing, don’t ski at night, and be sure that the visibility is good enough to see your dropped skier from a reasonable distance.

#5. Don’t BWI. Boating while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. It is also highly advised that all skiers be fully sober before being towed behind the boat. The risks of injuries and fatalities rise substantially when alcohol is involved.

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Another Boating Accident, Another Life Claimed

sailboats-760281-mAn accident in Orange County has many people grieving this week. A 10-year-old girl was killed when the driver of the boat – the girl’s father – was unable to navigate his way to the dock. According to onlookers, inclement weather caught the threesome by surprise. They were in the Sabine River when the storm rolled in. It is unclear if the weather is to blame for the collision with the dock, which ultimately resulted in the father and his two daughters being thrown from the watercraft.

The damage done to the boat was excessive and it sank almost immediately. Unfortunately, the youngest of the girls, Ann Borel was just seven years old and received serious injuries to her hand and leg during the crash. Her sister was even less fortunate. She was trapped beneath the weight of the boat as it went down. Janae Borel was found trapped beneath the water’s surface and was unresponsive when pulled from its depths.

The younger sister was airlifted to Baptist Hospital in Orange, Texas. Her father left the scene unscathed, except, of course, for the broken heart resulting from the loss of his 10-year-old daughter.

This story should serve as a reminder to boating fans. Inclement weather can occur without warning. It is important to be properly prepared for such circumstances. Putting others in harm’s way, especially miles off shore, can result in your being found negligent. Personal injury attorneys work for the victims of such accidents and that may leave you in serious financial trouble. Even more importantly, you can be left to grieve the loss of a loved one. Remember that water sports are great fun, but also come with great risk. Be sure that you are well-equipped with safety devices and have a plan of action should you be caught by an unexpected storm.

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Boating Accident Fatality Caused by Company Negligence?

miami-miami-beach-biscayne-bay-1-741432-mIn May of this year, a boat on Lake Michigan caused quite a stir when it burst into flames far from shore. There were two confirmed fatalities after the flames were extinguished and the wreckage was cleared. Now, the company responsible for the boat rental will be making an appearance before a judge and personal injury attorney.

The company, called Sail Time Chicago, may have some explaining to do, as there is evidence of an existing electrical problem that stems to a date prior to the accident. The group who had rented the boat was en-route from Buffalo, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois, but failed to make it, as the boat was engulfed in flames before 8pm that evening. Records show that there was some sort of battery or electrical problem reported just days before the group rented the boat.

Three of the four did not return from the trip. Ashley Haws, Chicago attorney, and another unidentified passenger were killed due to the fire, while a third individual has not yet been found. Haws died of hypothermia and her companion drowned.

The total damages claimed by the lawsuit is not yet known to the public, but there is clearly reason for the families of the deceased victims to wonder about the part played by Sail Time Chicago, as they mourn the loss of their loved ones.

Product failure is a big problem in this country today, as is negligence on the part of third-party distributors. So many items are relied upon to keep us safe, to transport us, or to entertain us. When they fail – as seen in this case – the outcome can be devastating. The law protects these individuals from company negligence, but the burden of proof will be placed on the shoulders of the Plaintiffs. They must show that the company was aware of a problem and failed to correct it before renting the boat to this party. The attorneys and the court will examine all possible explanations for the sudden fire, which robbed at least two people of their lives.

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Train Accident Leaves One Dead: Was Railway to Blame?

trainA recent report out of Pennsylvania paints a horrible picture.  A train versus car accident left a women dead and two others seriously injured.  The man and toddler were rushed to a local hospital, and police did report that the child was responsive at the scene.  However, the woman was not so lucky after the car was pushed more than forty yards down the tracks before dislodging from the tracks and coming to a stop in a wooded area.

The impact left all three passengers trapped in the vehicle.  Police were quick to report to the scene and were able to extract all three in little time.  Authorities are looking at data from the train to determine if excessive travelling speed played a part in the accident.  It is also important to note that, due to the fact that the crossing occurs on private property, there were no gates or flashing lights to warn drivers of a train approaching. Just a railroad sign serves as a reminder that the tracks cross the road.  It is still unclear who was truly at fault, but the investigation is underway.  Action should be taken to prevent any future incidents from occurring at this site.

If the railway is found to be negligent in this case, then it wouldn’t be the first such lawsuit.  Railways have been seen in court many times for pollution cases, accident cases, and numerous other situations.

Though accidents like this are not as common as an average Tampa car accident, they do happen and it is important to consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible for help collecting the compensation needed to cover the many associated costs.  It will never be enough to make up for the loss of a loved one, but it may help lessen the financial burden on the remainder of the family.

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Fireworks: Accidental Ignition Kills Woman and Her Dog

sparkler-1431759-mDevastating news was reported by 10News this week. Kathryn Flint was a 49-year-old mother and resident of Auburndale. She and her family were preparing to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday in usual fashion. She went into her bedroom to collect the fireworks that were to be lit off in honor of the special day. She entered the room and shut the door to keep her two dogs away from the guests.

It was her 26-year-old son, Christopher Flint, who was the first to enter the space after an unexpected ignition set off one firework, and then another, and another. The room caught fire, killing one of the dogs and severely burning the other.

Of course, Kathryn paid dearly for the incident. Being in the confined space with numerous explosions left her seriously burned. Her son, coming to her rescue, via the air conditioner opening in the window also suffered burns. Christopher was taking by ambulance to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, while his mom was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Christopher Flint was treated and released from the hospital relatively quickly. Initially, it was reported that Ms. Flint was in critical condition, but later updates said that she lost her battle and was pronounced dead at the hospital. An investigation is in the works to determine the cause of the accidental ignition. Regardless of the cause, the simple fact that they were in the possession of an amateur points to a serious risk.

Florida law states that fireworks other than those labelled as “sparklers” are illegal. There is a reason for this. The law is in place to protect lives and properties. Unfortunately, people tend to believe that the holiday is an excuse to ignore the law. This leads to stories like the one above. Though this was a fluke, fireworks accidents occur often, claiming life and limb, and leaving many homeowners facing off against personal injury attorneys.

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Justin Bieber Calling Attention To Personal Injury Concerns

limo-accident-457157-mIn recent news, Justin Bieber made headlines yet again when a vehicle of his entourage was seen speeding down a street with paparazzi following closely behind. While trying to evade the photo grabbers, Bieber’s driver was involved in a car accident. Bieber was said to leave the scene of the crime in a hurry jumping into another vehicle and speeding away. The police were quick to point out that Bieber was not the driver.

Personal injury lawyers are paying close attention to the story because paparazzi have continually caused trouble among celebrities, athletes, and politicians. Aggressive driving like what was seen in this case can be very dangerous on the roads and could cause Tampa auto accidents. Fortunately in this case, no one was seriously injured. However, should the same circumstances arise again, those involved may not be so lucky.

Whether it is paparazzi or a member of the general public expressing road rage, aggressive driving is a major concern.

In a poll featured at Dr.Driving.org, it was reported that members of the population most likely to show dangerous signs of road rage were teenage boys. However, aggressive driving is not always due to road rage, as was seen in this news story. Men and women of wide age ranges can be guilty of aggressive behaviors on the road.

Over a six-year span, there was evidence of road rage and aggressive driving being responsible for more than 200 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries.

In order to help cover the associated costs of medical care and vehicle repair, many victims are forced to turn to personal injury attorneys.  All too often, it is a family member that must seek compensation to cover such damages while grieving a permanent loss.

Many hope that stories like this will serve as a reminder to the paparazzi and the general public; risking one’s life and the lives of others is simply not worth it.

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