What Damages Can I Recover from a Car Accident Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
Compensation for victims of auto accident varies in Pennsylvania. To successfully recover compensation for all of your losses, both financial and emotional, you must prove a defendant’s fault for your injuries in a lawsuit.
The compensation available to you in your motor vehicle accident lawsuit will depend on your specific damages. That said, victims are often able to recover compensation for both financial and emotional losses caused by another driver’s negligence. In rarer cases, punitive damages are also recoverable for victims of auto accidents in Pennsylvania. In order to recover the compensatory damages that you deserve following a crash, you will have to prove the defendant’s fault and the fact that you incurred actual losses because of their negligence. This will require proof, such as witness statements, medical records, surveillance footage, medical bills, records of lost wages, and other evidence.
To have the Philadelphia car accident attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm evaluate your case for free, call (215) 709-6940 today.
Damages Victims Can Recover from a Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawsuit
Damages caused by car accidents are often compensable when victims sue the negligent drivers responsible for their injuries. In successful cases, victims can recover compensation for their financial and non-financial losses. Although rare in motor vehicle accident lawsuits, victims might also be able to recover punitive damages in Pennsylvania.
Generally, victims are most interested in recovering economic damages in auto accident lawsuits. As suggested by their name, economic damages include any financial losses incurred by a victim because of a defendant’s negligence. This often includes medical expenses, such as surgeries, physical therapy, prescription medications, emergency room visits, and appointments with medical specialists, among other similar expenses. Auto accident victims may be unable to work for some time because of the severity of their injuries. Fortunately, lost wages are also factored into the economic damages victims can recover in car accident claims. Additional out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel costs, child care, and in-house assistance, can be included in a victim’s recovery of economic damages as well. Pennsylvania does not impose a limit on how much victims can recover for their financial losses.
Non-economic damages tend to be more elusive. If you have limited tort insurance in Pennsylvania, you can only file a claim to recover non-pecuniary damages if your physical injuries are severe enough. Our Pennsylvania car accident attorneys can compare your medical records to the serious injury threshold to confirm your eligibility to sue for emotional distress. Drivers with full tort insurance do not have to meet this injury threshold to recover non-financial damages against negligent drivers. Emotional damages help to compensate auto accident victims for the pain and suffering they have endured because of another party’s negligence. Suppose you have experienced significant mental or emotional distress or developed certain disorders such as anxiety or depression due to an accident. In that case, you may recover non-pecuniary damages in your lawsuit. These compensatory damages are not capped for car accident cases in Pennsylvania.
Punitive damages are the hardest kind of damages to recover for car accident victims in Pennsylvania. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages exist to penalize defendants for their gross negligence. Because punitive damages are awarded in cases that involve gross negligence, they do not apply to every lawsuit. Such damages might be available if a defendant was driving while intoxicated at the time of an accident. Or, if you were hit by a truck driver who was forced to work overtime and drive drowsy by their employer, you may be able to recover punitive damages against the employer. Our lawyers can assess your case to determine if punitive damages are a possibility for you. The only caps on punitive damages in Pennsylvania apply to cases against the government and lawsuits for medical malpractice.
What’s Required for Victims to Recover Damages from a Car Accident Claim in Pennsylvania?
Recovering damages of any kind requires evidence. Not only do you have to prove that the defendant in your case caused your injuries, but you must also submit proof of your economic and non-economic losses.
Evidence of Defendant’s Fault
First, you have to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. If you settle your case out of court, you will not have to prove fault. That said, settling can result in less compensation for victims, which is why going to trial is often preferable. In order to prove fault and recover compensation in Pennsylvania, you must establish four crucial elements: the defendant owed you a duty of care, the defendant breached the duty of care, the breach of duty of care caused your injuries, and you subsequently suffered real damages. To do this, you must submit evidence. Evidence varies on a case-by-case basis but often includes medical records, witness statements, surveillance footage, photographs, and police reports. Once you have proven fault, you can move on to proving your need for compensation.
Evidence of Plaintiff’s Damages
On top of proving that the defendant caused your injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you also have to prove that you incurred damages. To do this, victims should keep all records of their economic and emotional losses following a collision. This includes any bills you have received for medical treatment of your injuries, records of your lost wages, and evidence of other out-of-pocket expenses. In regard to non-financial damages, statements from therapists and loved ones can establish a victim’s reduced quality of life. Without proof of your losses, there is no way for a judge or jury to adequately calculate the compensation you should recover in your motor vehicle accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania.
Contact Our Attorneys to Discuss Your Pennsylvania Car Accident
You can call our Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys at (215) 709-6940 to get a free case analysis from The Reiff Law Firm.