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Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Monday, April 17, 2017

Does Pennsylvania Limit The Damages I Can Receive For Personal Injury?

You’ve suffered injuries as a result of a car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, defective product or medical malpractice. You’ve suffered as a result of the negligence or recklessness of another person. You want full compensation for the physical, emotional and financial burden you and your family have been forced to bear. The law is on your side.

Generally, Pennsylvania does not limit the amount of compensatory damages a victim of personal injury can receive. In fact, Pennsylvania’s constitution prohibits the limitation of damages in personal injury cases. Following this cue, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has ruled that victims of personal injury should be compensated for all they have lost and all they have suffered.  

Therefore, victims of personal injury should, in as much as possible, be made whole or at least returned to the position they would have been had the injury not taken place.

Which Personal Injury Damages Should I Seek In Pennsylvania?

There are several types of damages recoverable in personal injury cases. They may either be economic or non-economic damages, compensatory or punitive damages.

  1. Economic Or Non-Economic Damages

Also called actual damages, economic damages are awarded for expenses that can be quantified in monetary figures. They include medical bills, lost wages, costs of repairing damaged property or funeral costs. Non-economic damages on the other hand, are damages that cannot easily be quantified in monetary figures. They include emotional stress, pain and suffering and loss of companionship or consortium.

  1. Compensatory Or Punitive Damages

This is the better-known categorization in law. Compensatory damages are damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff for past and future expenses.  They are awarded for medical bills, emotional stress, loss of wages, loss of consortium or companionship, property damages and out-of-pocket expenses such as hospital parking fees. Compensatory damages may either be economic or non-economic.

Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant. They also deter other people from conducting themselves in the same way as the defendant. They are usually awarded where the defendant acted so recklessly and outrageously that he/she endangered the lives or property of others. It is upon the plaintiff to prove this in court so as to win punitive damages.

Exception To The General Rule – When Damages Can Be Capped

There are instances where personal injury damages can be capped. Here are a few:

  1. Damages against Commonwealth parties - These damages are capped at $250,000 if they arise from the same cause. Overall, they should not exceed $1 million.
  2. Damages against the local government or local agencies - Total recoverable damages are capped at $500,000. In addition, damages for pain and suffering in lawsuits against local agencies can only be awarded where the case involves death or permanent disfigurement/loss of bodily function and the medical expenses exceed $1,500.
  3. Cap on punitive damages - As a general rule, punitive damages should not be more than two times the actual damages awarded.

If you have a personal injury claim against someone, talk to the Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys at Louis P. Lombardi II & Associates today to get your case started.

 


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