Compensation Available to Personal Injury Plaintiffs in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law provides for damages to individuals who have successfully shown the legal fault of an individual or entity in a civil lawsuit. As a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, an injured individual may recover compensation for past and future harm related to the underlying accident or incident. Damages, in the form of monetary compensation, are available to plaintiffs who prove the elements of their legal claim, whether it is negligence, premises liability, or products liability.
Damages sustained in an accident are often grouped into different categories, including economic damages, non-economic damages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Compensatory types of damages serve to put the plaintiff in the position they would be had the accident not occurred. Punitive damages are intended to deter conduct and to punish a defendant for outrageous, reckless conduct.
As the first step in a personal injury case, the complaint is used to notify the defendant of the action and to set forth information concerning the case. The plaintiff would provide information on the type and severity of the injuries sustained and name the parties against whom relief is sought. Additionally, the complaint lists the allegations as well as the damages set forth by the plaintiff.
Compensatory damages include specific or economic damages. Financial losses that can be quantified and calculated by looking at bills and receipts are considered specific damages. Generally, non-economic damages include physical pain, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. These types of damages differ from punitive damages because they are meant to compensate the plaintiff, rather than to punish the defendant.
Punitive damages are to be awarded when conduct is outrageous, such as when the defendant’s conduct has been reckless or indifferent to the rights of others. As a form of punishment, punitive damages deter the defendant from engaging in particular conduct, and they are not awarded in all personal injury cases. The plaintiff must show that the defendant’s conduct was particularly malicious or outrageous. An award of punitive damages typically requires a mental state that demonstrates the defendant realized the risk and acted with a conscious disregard. When a jury determines a punitive damages award, they weigh factors such as the nature and extent of the harm, the character of the act, and the wealth of the defendant.
At Needle Law, we have the skills to help accident victims seek the maximum compensation to which they are entitled. Clear communication and decades of experience help us protect our clients and assert their rights. If you or someone close to you has suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of another party, contact our office and set up a free consultation with a skilled personal injury lawyer. We can answer your questions and begin work to pursue the compensation you deserve. We can be reached by calling (570) 344-1266 or online.