Florida’s Impact Rule: No Harm, No Distress
After being in an accident of any sort, it is common for survivors to experience significant emotional pain and suffering. However, due to Florida’s impact rule, seeking noneconomic damages for such trauma is more difficult than most other states. The impact rule requires in most personal injury claims for the plaintiff to have suffered some sort of physical harm or contact in an accident or incident before they can also seek damages for emotional pain.
The overarching idea for Florida’s impact rule is a way to stop frivolous lawsuits. Proponents of the rule argue that no serious emotional harm can happen to someone who did not suffer a serious physical injury. At least, not to the extent that would warrant a standalone lawsuit just for noneconomic damages.
Exceptions to the Controversial Impact Rule
If you are thinking that the impact rule sounds unreasonably limiting and restrictive of plaintiffs’ rights, then you are not alone. Throughout the years, exceptions have been argued and tacked onto the impact rule, which allow for people to seek noneconomic damages in certain cases that do not involve immediate physical harm.
You may be able to seek noneconomic damages if you are traumatized or harmed by:
- Bearing direct witness to an accident that causes a loved one a severe injury or death.
- Inhaling asbestos, which caused mesothelioma or other diseases.
- Using a dangerous drug prescribed following your HIV diagnosis.
- Others learning of your HIV diagnosis due to negligently “leaked” information.
- Ingesting a foreign object, perhaps due to a product defect.
- Your psychologist’s breach of their fiduciary relationship and duties.
On the other hand, Florida courts have considered several possible exceptions in cases but determined they were not noteworthy enough to escape the impact rule. In particular, you cannot seek noneconomic damages if you were “patted down” by a robber but not assaulted, nor are defamation and invasions of your privacy enough to warrant noneconomic damages on their own.
Filing a Claim for Economic & Noneconomic Damages
Have you or a loved one been injured in a serious accident, and now you want to know if you can file a claim? If you can, do you know if you have the right to seek noneconomic damages for emotional trauma, too? Rather than guessing, come to Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin and use the compassionate guidance of our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys. We are a nationally-recognized law firm with 200+ years of total legal experience we can put to good use for you and your claim. Find out just how well we can represent you by calling 561-899-2100 and asking for a free case evaluation.