If you sustain an injury in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may want to consider suing the at-fault party. This is especially true if your injury turns out to be a serious one that results in skyrocketing medical bills and a substantial period of lost work while you recover to the greatest extent possible.
Personal injury lawsuits are civil suits, meaning that if you win, the court will issue a judgment against the defendant for a specific amount of money that he or she must then pay you. Alternatively, the defendant’s insurance company may choose to settle with you without your ever having to go to court. Either way, FindLaw explains that you can expect to recover damages, i.e., compensation, for the losses you sustained because of your injuries.
In Pennsylvania, you receive two kinds of damages: special and general.
Also called economic damages, special damages compensate you for your economic losses, including such things as the following:
- Ambulance transportation
- Current and future medical and hospital costs
- Prescription drug costs
- Rehabilitation costs
- Current and future loss of wages
- Repair or replacement of your damaged vehicle and other personal property
Also called noneconomic damages, general damages compensate you for your subjective losses, including such things as the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress and anguish
- Embarrassment over your scars or your necessity to now use a wheelchair, prosthesis or other mobility device in order to get around
- Loss of your overall enjoyment of your life
In rare instances, the jury may also award you punitive damages. This is an amount above your special and general damages that the court assesses against the defendant as punishment for his or her particularly egregious actions in causing the accident.