Suing For Pain And Suffering – Pennsylvania law gives you the right to seek damages from someone who negligently or intentionally injures you. Whether you have been injured in a car accident, slip, fall, defective product, or medical malpractice, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit for compensation.
Through a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover for economic losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, or lost income. Can you sue to recover more intangible losses, such as damages for pain and suffering? Here’s what you need to know about pain and suffering claims from the personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Raynes & Lawn in Pennsylvania.
Suing For Pain And Suffering
Pennsylvania tort law allows victims of negligence to sue for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are also known as special damages and are property losses that you have suffered due to the negligent actions of another person or business entity. Most personal injury lawsuits include claims for economic damages.
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Common examples of economic damages that can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit include:
Economic damages are fairly easy to understand and calculate as they are the financial losses you have suffered.
In addition to your economic losses, you can also claim compensation for pain and suffering or non-economic damages. Here’s what you need to know about a pain and suffering lawsuit in PA.
Non-economic damages are the second category of compensatory damages and are known as general damages. These are compensation for intangible losses you have suffered and do not have an exact financial value. This makes them more difficult to calculate. When you seek damages for pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit, that means you are seeking compensation for the subjective losses you suffered as a result of the defendant’s intentional or negligent conduct.
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Here are some common examples of pain and suffering or general damages that can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania:
Accidents affect people in different ways, and it can be difficult to understand the specific effects a person may have from their injuries. Because pain and suffering do not have a precise financial value, it is difficult to calculate and assign a monetary value.
If you have been injured by someone else in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for both your economic and non-economic losses, including pain and suffering. It is a legal term that describes the physical and mental pain and distress you have suffered as a result of your injuries. Anyone who, due to a careless or intentional act, causes pain and suffering to another person can be ordered to pay compensation in a lawsuit. However, the legal definition of pain and suffering is broad, making it more difficult to prove than economic damages.
The compensation for pain and suffering that a plaintiff may be entitled to depends on their unique circumstances and the person affected by their injuries. It can be difficult to show the jury the extent of your pain and suffering and how it has affected your life.
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There are a number of things you can do to prove that you have suffered pain and suffering. Be sure to see your doctor first and continue to keep all appointments. If you never sought medical attention, the insurance company and the jury will likely assume that you experienced no pain and were not injured. If you don’t see a doctor, it makes it very difficult to collect compensation.
Keep a daily journal after the accident documenting how your injuries affect your daily life. If you can no longer participate in activities that you used to enjoy, write about it. Be honest in your journal and appreciate your pain, but don’t exaggerate it. You can take your journal with you to your doctor’s appointments to give your doctor information about how your injuries are affecting you. This can help your doctor determine if the treatment you are receiving is working or if certain adjustments to your treatment plan are needed.
A pain diary can also be useful in a personal injury lawsuit. By creating a picture of how your injuries have affected your daily life, you can tell a compelling story to the insurance company or a jury. This can help them understand how your life has changed and why you should receive compensation for pain and suffering.
A number of factors will be important when your attorney, insurance company, or potential jury calculates pain and suffering damages, including:
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These factors differ between plaintiffs, so how much your pain and suffering may be worth depends on the facts of your unique situation.
Insurance companies may use a variety of methods to calculate pain and suffering damages, including a multiplier, per diem or a hybrid approach. Your personal injury attorney will not rely on the insurance company’s calculations, but will evaluate your damages separately.
When insurance companies and personal injury attorneys in Pennsylvania calculate pain and suffering damages using the multiplier method, they choose a number between one and five based on the severity of the injuries. This number is multiplied by all the economic damages you have suffered, including medical bills and any lost wages. We use a higher number if your injuries are severe and a lower number if your injuries are minor.
For example, if the insurer believes that your injuries are relatively minor, they may choose a multiplier. If your total economic damages reach $25,000, the insurance company will multiply that by one to get $25,000 in pain and suffering damages. This means that the insurance company will offer $50,000 to settle your case.
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However, if your injuries are severe and expected to last a long time, the insurance company may choose a higher multiplier. If you suffered $50,000 in economic damages and the insurance company chooses a multiplier of four, that means they will calculate $200,000 in pain and suffering damages for a total offer of $250,000.
Many insurance companies use a lower multiplier than lawyers. For example, an insurance company may argue that your injuries are less serious than they really are and choose a double multiplier. Your attorney may choose a multiplier of four instead. They will then use your medical records, expenses, daily pain log, photographs and other evidence to support your claim for greater pain and suffering.
The per diem method is not used as often as the multiplier method, but some insurance companies may use it in cases involving minor injuries. In this approach, the insurance company sets a fixed premium for each day after the accident until maximum recovery is achieved. For example, if the insurance company chooses a rate of $150 per day and you take 200 days to recover, your pain and suffering damages are valued at $30,000.
Determining a reasonable daily rate can be difficult. If the insurance company uses this method, your attorney will ask that your daily rate be equal to what you would normally earn at work per day. This method is not used by insurance companies to calculate pain and suffering damages for injuries that take a long time to recover because it can result in a higher pain and suffering value than the multiplier method.
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In some cases, insurance companies may apply a combined multiplier and daily premium, and then adjust the value based on the facts of the accident. Some insurers do not use either of these methods, instead relying on algorithms to calculate the value of pain and damages suffered. The algorithm may take into account your total medical expenses, the types of medical treatment you expect to need in the future, and how long it may take to complete the treatment.
As a plaintiff, you have the burden of proof for all elements of a negligence claim, including damages. The elements of a negligence claim are:
You must present sufficient evidence to prove each of these elements by a preponderance of the evidence, and your pain and suffering is part of the damages element.
You must present evidence at trial to prove the pain and damages you suffered. Some examples of the types of evidence that can be used are:
Can You Sue For Pain And Suffering In Pennsylvania?
The jury will use the evidence you present and the factors listed earlier to determine how much money to award you for pain and suffering. If you win the lawsuit, your pain and suffering will rise above the value of the economic damages.
In most cases, you cannot claim compensation for pain and suffering if you have not suffered any physical injury. However, there are situations where you can pursue emotional distress damages without physical injuries.
For example, if you witnessed your loved one
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