While safe driving practices and compliance with traffic rules might keep you safe on Pennsylvania roads, accidents have a habit of happening when you least expect it. The problem is that you will never have any control over the actions of other drivers. Fortunately, the civil justice system allows you to pursuit financial relief if another party's negligence caused your injuries.
However, most crashes cause more losses than medical expenses. You might have questions about the types of damages you might include in a documented claim when you file a personal injury lawsuit.
There must be injuries and medical expenses present for a viable personal injury lawsuit. The severity of your injuries and their consequences will determine the level of compensation you could recover. The following are some of the injury-related expenses that might form part of your claim:
- Transportation and care by first responders during an ambulance or helicopter trip to the hospital
- Doctors' consultations and hospital bills, including the fees of therapists who provided cognitive or physical therapy
- Permanent disabilities suffered following catastrophic injuries
- Prescribed medications and equipment, such as heating pads or crutches
- In-home services — not limited to medical care — such as walking the dogs or doing routine household tasks
- Future medical expenses if your doctor is of the opinion that you will have a need for additional therapy and medical treatment in the future
If you file a wrongful death claim after a loved one's death in an accident, you can claim medical expenses for the period between the crash and the person's death.
Your car accident injuries could jeopardize your earning capacity in the following ways:
- Lost wages due to hospitalization after the accident
- Lost work hours for time spent on physical therapy sessions after the accident
- Immobility problems that prevent you from returning to work
- Loss of future income if your injuries caused a disability that impairs or diminishes your ability to earn an income
If a disability occurs, you will have to prove your disability, and the jury will base an award on your past earnings along with your age, skill, occupation, experience and the number years income will be needed based on life expectancy.
Pain and suffering
This category of the claim covers the level of physical and mental distress brought about by the incident, and criteria for determining the value includes the following:
- The severity of your pain along with the prognosis for injury-related pain in the future
- The emotional and mental distress that could cause chronic anxiety and loss of life-enjoyment
Some states consider only pain and suffering related to the injury and not emotional damage.
Loss of companionship
Injuries that jeopardize the affectionate and sexual relationship with your spouse fall under the loss of consortium or companionship category of claims. Your uninjured spouse is typically the one who would file this claim, and eligibility depends on whether you recover damages. If you do not survive the car accident, your surviving family members will be able to claim loss of companionship if they had a loving relationship with you, and the jury should consider the impact of your death on them.
Resources are available
This is a complicated field of the law, and you might need help throughout the legal proceedings. An experienced personal injury lawyer will assess the viability of a claim and explain your rights to damage recovery under Pennsylvania law. Along with presenting your case to the court, your lawyer can help you to establish negligence and assist with documenting your claims.