When any person sustains an injury caused by the negligent actions of someone else, perhaps another individual more business, they should be able to recover compensation for any losses they incurred. However, it is important to understand how damages are categorized in a personal injury lawsuit, how much compensation you may receive, and how to know if you are receiving the correct amount.
Special Damages (Economic Damages)
One of the most important aspects of your personal injury claim will revolve around economic losses that are calculable. After an injury occurs, individuals will typically be able to gather up receipts, pills, invoices, and estimates that come in to help properly calculate their total special damages.
Some of the most common economic damages associated with an injury claim and Pennsylvania involve:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation costs
- The cost of prescription medications or medical devices
- Lost wages if an injury victim cannot work
- Various out-of-pocket expenses the victim endures due to the injury
- Personal property damage expenses (vehicles, computers, phones, etc.)
The total amount of special damages a personal injury victim is able to receive varies depending on factors related to each particular claim. These factors can include the severity of the injuries, whether or not there was any shared fault, total property damage estimates, and the total level of lost wages that person incurs.
General Damages (Non-Economic Damages)
General damages, often referred to as non-economic damages, are certainly harder to calculate, but they are just as important as the special damages mentioned above. These types of losses revolve around more “unseen” aspects of a personal injury claim, and there are typically no bills, receipts, or estimates available to help properly calculate these losses.
Some of the most common non-economic damages related to a Pennsylvania personal injury claim include:
- Any pain and suffering endured by the injury victim
- Loss of enjoyment of life caused by a disability or disfigurement
- Loss of consortium and relationship damages for a spouse or family members
Calculating non-economic damages is not impossible. Often, an attorney will use a multiplier method where they will calculate all of the economic losses the client and jurors and then multiply that by a set number, typically a number ranging from 1.5 to 5. For example, we can imagine a person sustaining $50,000 worth of medical bills and lost wages due to a broken leg caused by another actor. If an attorney uses a multiplier of “three,” then they would multiply $50,000 by three and reach a non-economic total of $150,000.
In rare cases, punitive damages are awarded for a Pennsylvania personal injury claim. These damages are not awarded on a regular basis and are used in cases where the actions of the defendant were willful, malicious, or egregious. These damages are designed to act as a punishment to the defendant and a deterrent to any others who may be considering responding or acting in the same way.
We strongly encourage any person going through the personal injury process to reach out to a skilled attorney who can help them properly calculate total damages.