In Pennsylvania, car accident victims typically turn to personal injury protection or tort insurance to cover the damages suffered.
However, cases involving severe injuries allow them to sue the at-fault driver for compensatory damages, which divide further into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are tangible losses with inherent monetary value. These include:
- The costs associated with medical care for injuries, including future medical treatments for injuries requiring long-term care
- Lost wages caused by missed work, future missed work, or loss of earning capacity
- Cost to replace or repair any damaged property
Evidence to support a claim for economic damages typically includes medical bills, proof of an official future treatment plan, pay stubs, recent income tax returns, and receipts for auto repairs.
Non-economic damages include the subjective losses that vary based on the severity of the injuries. These include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
The plaintiff’s statement regarding their mental state following the accident plays a significant role in providing evidence for non-economic damages. They may also use testimonies from friends and family regarding how the victim changed and medical records showing the severity of the injuries.
An order of punitive damages punishes the defendant for gross negligence rather than compensates the plaintiff for losses. Only in cases where the at-fault driver acted with no regard for the safety of others on the road would a judge order payment of punitive damages.
Someone injured in a car accident should not suffer the financial consequences of another driver’s negligence. That is why several options exist to allow recovery of damages.