Approximately 128,000 car accidents are reported in Pennsylvania every year, causing about 80,000 injuries annually. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that if you are a licensed driver in the Commonwealth, you have one in 40 chance of being in a car wreck each year.
Motor vehicle accident injuries range from scrapes and bruises to life-altering, permanent, catastrophic injuries. The physical, emotional, and financial impacts of vehicle wrecks can be devastating. Fortunately, if someone else’s negligence contributes to a car accident, injured victims may seek monetary damages from the negligent parties to compensate them for their losses.
Having a committed injury attorney to fight for your rights can be a highly beneficial. A Bucks County car accident lawyer could negotiate with insurance companies and ensure you are rightfully compensated for the harm you suffered.
Types of Damages in Car Wreck Cases
The damages available in a vehicle collision case fall into several categories. A skilled attorney in Bucks County could advise someone injured in a car crash which damages might be available in their particular case.
Economic damages cover the out-of-pocket expenses the plaintiff has incurred and will incur as a result of their injuries. Economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, future expenses anticipated to accommodate the injury, as well as lost earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are not easy to quantify because they compensate for intangible losses that have no set monetary value but represent a claimant’s suffering. Examples include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship.
Pennsylvania allows a judge or jury to award punitive damages in some instances. Unlike economic or non-economic damages, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant for intentional or reckless behavior that is egregious. In a car accident claim, punitive damages could apply if the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the collision.
Pennsylvania Vehicle Insurance Coverage
There is a Pennsylvania law that impacts the damages an claimant might seek. The Commonwealth requires drivers to have liability insurance coverage but permits drivers to select between two types. Under 75 P.S. §1705, Pennsylvania drivers can choose either limited tort or full tort coverage.
Full tort coverage is more expensive because drivers with this insurance have no restrictions on the damages they might seek after an accident. Limited tort coverage is less expensive, but if a driver is injured due to another motorist’s negligence, the injured driver cannot claim non-economic damages in most cases. However, the law offers exceptions in certain circumstances, for instance if:
- The injured driver was a pedestrian, riding a bicycle, or was a passenger in a bus or commercial vehicle when the injury occurred
- The at-fault driver was driving under the influence or while intoxicated
- The injured driver suffered a catastrophic injury
A driver with limited tort coverage should not assume that they will not be fully compensated for their injuries. A local accident lawyer could investigate whether an exception applies to their vehicle collision case.
Seek Guidance from a Bucks County Car Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a car wreck and suffered severe harm, do not try to get compensation without the help of an experienced legal professional. Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers often offer injured claimants unfair settlement awards. Therefore, contact a Bucks County car accident lawyer who can work hard so you recover all the compensation you deserve. Call today for a complimentary case review.