What damages can I recover following a car accident?

Car accident victims may be concerned about how to pay for the medical treatment and property damage they sustained in the accident, particularly if their injuries have kept them from earning a living. By filing a personal injury suit against the parties responsible for the accident, including negligent drivers, vehicle owners, and/or employers, accident victims can recover damages to cover some of these accident-related expenses.

Keep in mind however, that in Pennsylvania, accident victims can only recover compensation for damages if they are less than 51 percent at fault for the accident, under the modified comparative negligence rule. For victims that are from one to 50 percent at fault, the damages they recover will be reduced based on the percentage of fault attributed to them. For example, an accident victim that is 40 percent at fault will only be allowed to claim 60 percent of the damages awarded to them.

What type of damages can I recover?

Accident victims may receive both economic and non-economic damages following an accident. The amount recovered will depend on fault apportionment, as well as the severity of their injuries and damages.

Economic damages are easy to calculate, as they include objectively verifiable costs. These damages may include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Vehicle repair costs

Non-economic damages are subjective and are more difficult to calculate, as they can vary greatly depending the nature and extent of the alleged injury and other factors. Non-economic damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

In cases involving intentional or reckless behavior, an accident victim may also recover punitive damages. These damages are intended to punish the at-fault parties and are not intended to compensate the victim’s losses.

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you may be overwhelmed by the recovery process. By filing a lawsuit against the parties responsible for your accident, you can alleviate your financial stresses, and focus on your mental and physical well-being. It can be difficult to determine the dollar value of the physical, emotional, and financial harm suffered by accident victims, but the jury or judge on your case will consider a variety of factors when determining the amount of damages to award. A personal injury attorney in your area can help give you a realistic picture of how much to expect based on the facts of your case.