If you sustain a serious injury because of the actions or inactions of another party, you may file a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation. Such compensation may include economic and non-economic damages. The value of the former is relatively straightforward, while that of the latter is more subjective. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law, anyone more than 50 percent responsible for their injuries cannot receive compensation.
Economic damages include:
- Current medical expenses
- Estimated future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Modifications necessary to the home due to the injury
- Special equipment
- Reimbursement for hiring household help during recovery
- Out-of-pocket expenses relating to the injury
Also known as general damages, non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify with a specific dollar amount. They may include:
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship, if the injury affects marital relations
- Loss of enjoyment
- Permanent disfigurement
Pain and Suffering
Determining pain and suffering damages relies heavily on individual circumstances. Just because one person received an amount for a similar injury does not mean another person’s pain and suffering is the same. Much depends on the medical evidence, as well as the injured party’s age, the exact injury, and how they are affected. When a person is permanently disabled due to their injury, and cannot perform daily activities of normal life, pain and suffering awards are generally higher than if there is less impairment or a full recovery is expected.
Non-Economic Damage Caps
Pennsylvania does not limit the amount of non-economic damages an individual may receive in a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are exceptions. Pain and suffering claims against local governments are only permitted in the case of permanent body function loss or permanent dismemberment or disfigurement. It is also possible to file a wrongful death claim against a local government.
When the person or entity responsible for causing your injuries behaved in a particularly egregious manner, punitive damages may be available. This award is meant to make an example of the defendant and discourage others from acting in the same way. Unlike non-economic damages, there is a cap on punitive damages. Such damages are limited to twice the amount of economic and non-economic compensation.
Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind that Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. If a government agency is involved, the statute of limitations for filing a claim is six months from the injury date.
Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. Help Clients Receive Compensation for Their Injuries
If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to the negligent actions of another party, you need the services of an experienced Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. We will fight to obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 412-765-1888. Located in Pittsburgh, we serve clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.