Are your pain and suffering damages recoverable?

Has another person's negligence caused an accident that left you injured? If so, then you might have grounds to pursue a claim for financial relief through the civil justice system in Pennsylvania. Along with the mounting medical bills and lost wages, your injuries might have caused physical and emotional stress, such as depression, scars, chronic aches, limits on your regular activities and possible shortening of your life. Would you be able to recover those damages?

Those damages make up the pain and suffering part of a personal injury lawsuit, and you could even include both past and future suffering, if applicable. However, putting a monetary value to pain and suffering could be complicated.

How does it work?

For any personal injury claim to be viable, there must be an injury that resulted from the defendant's negligence or recklessness. If that injury has long-term health or other adverse consequences, you may pursue financial recovery. An example is head or back trauma that leaves you with chronic headaches or back pain and emotional suffering. Hence the claim for pain and suffering. You must present your claim to the court for consideration by the jury.

Factors the jury will consider

No one can accurately quantify the monetary value of your pain and suffering, but the jury will likely consider the following:

  • Your age and the expected length of time that your injury will cause suffering will play a role in the amount awarded. If, for instance, you are in your 20s, you may suffer the consequences of your injury for much longer than you would if you were in your 60s.
  • It is almost impossible to put a value to the severity or degree of your suffering, and the judge typically expects the jury to base the amount of the award on their best judgment. There might be a cap on pain and suffering awards.

What about non-physical injuries?

Awards for mental anguish and emotional pain are typically based upon anxiety, fear or shame, but only if there is also physical injury. A pain and suffering award is unlikely if the damage involves only emotional and mental trauma. However, no two such claims are the same, and the unique merits of each case will determine the value of a monetary award.

Do you have questions about recovering pain and suffering damages after your accident? The sensible route is to consult with an attorney who has experience in dealing with personal injury claims in the civil courts of Eastern Pennsylvania. Legal counsel will assess the circumstances and explain your legal options before proceeding to file the lawsuit.

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