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Making a Pain and Suffering Claim Following an Accident in Pennsylvania

After you have suffered injuries in an accident, whether a trip and fall or a motor vehicle collision, you may face medical debt and missed wages from work.  Certain costs may be straightforward to prove, such as hospital bills and other medical expenses.  Pain and suffering is also recognized as a form of compensation, although it can be more difficult to prove.

The goal of compensation in an injury lawsuit is to make the person “whole” again, as they would be had they not suffered injuries in an accident.  Pennsylvania common law states that injured victims qualify for compensation for pain and suffering when their injuries result from the negligent actions of another party or are caused by defective products.  Mental anguish is included in pain and suffering claims.

Pennsylvania law provides that a “serious injury” is a death, a serious impairment of a bodily function, or permanent serious disfigurement.  Pain and suffering damages are generally reserved for lawsuits involving allegations of serious injury. There are two categories of pain and suffering. Physical pain and suffering tends to be more obvious and includes lasting effects from an injury.  Mental pain and suffering results when a person is physically injured, and those physical injuries result in emotional distress and mental pain. This might include anxiety, fear, humiliation, anger, and shock.  An example of mental pain and suffering is post-traumatic stress disorder.  As a mental disorder, post-traumatic stress is well-documented and can be triggered by severe emotional trauma.

Including a pain and suffering claim in your personal injury lawsuit must begin by focusing on documents that help demonstrate your non-economic losses.  Examples of such documentation include medical reports, prescription medication receipts, and medical bills.  Proof of lost wages or missed time from school can also point to emotional harm, as can a documented list of missed activities, medical treatment, and pain.

The types of non-economic harm that may give rise to pain and suffering compensation vary. If your severe injury causes embarrassment and greatly affects your life, you may qualify for compensation.  Burn victims and people suffering from amputation or paralysis tend to experience a decrease in their self-confidence, which in turn can negatively affect their quality of life.  Enjoyment of life is covered by pain and suffering, since it includes your perspective and outlook after an injury.  Finally, an injured victim’s spouse can potentially receive compensation if they contend that loss of consortium resulted from the accident.  This is when they have lost the ability to be close to their significant other due to their injuries.

At Needle Law, our personal injury attorneys represent Pennsylvania residents injured in all types of accidents, from premises liability to product liability.  Our experienced attorneys are skilled at pursuing compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact our office for a free consultation by calling 570-344-1266 or completing our online form.

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