Car accidents can result in devastating financial, physical and psychological consequences.
In Pennsylvania, when you experience severe injuries resulting in substantial losses, you can bypass the no-fault insurance requirement and file a fault-based claim for all your losses.
Specific damages include the economic losses you suffered due to the accident and your injuries. These include medical bills, lost wages due to missed work opportunities or lost earning capacity and the cost to repair your damaged vehicle and other property. If you need replacement services, such as assistance with household duties or childcare, you can recover those losses as well.
In a fault-based system, you will need to prove your losses. Presenting medical bills for all necessary treatments, pay stubs, tax returns and professional estimates is usually sufficient.
General losses associated with the emotional impact
General losses are more variable and relate to how the accident and your injuries affected your quality of life. Common claims include the following:
- The physical pain and suffering endured from your injuries and treatment
- The emotional pain and suffering, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment in life
If your injuries affect your intimate relationship with your spouse, you can claim loss of consortium as well. These losses require a sophisticated and court-accepted method for assigning monetary value.
Most car accident cases do not warrant an award of punitive damages. The court reserves these for cases where the at-fault driver’s actions exhibit gross negligence, such as driving under the influence or intentional reckless driving.
With sufficient evidence, you can typically settle with the insurer without going to trial.