Posted February 25, 2016 | Vehicle Accidents
After medical bills, property damage, and missed work, even minor car accidents can rack up huge expenses in a hurry. According to AAA, which cited data from the Federal Highway Administration, the average cost of an injury crash in 2009 was more than $125,000, while the average cost of a fatal accident was closer to $6 million. Since most Americans lack the resources to cover such enormous costs, it’s common for car accident victims to seek compensation after they are injured in a crash or collision. This article will explain the types of costs and losses compensation can cover, while providing some real-life examples of verdicts and settlements resulting from car accident injuries in Pennsylvania.
Costs and losses which may be compensated are divided into two categories: economic damages, and non-economic damages.
True to their name, economic damages describe objective, numbers-based expenses which can be objectively calculated. For example, the costs of a surgical procedure would be considered economic damages, because they have clear, straightforward values: procedure x cost y dollars. Other examples include wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, casts, stitches, crutches, canes, prescription medications, physical therapy, lost income, and repairing or replacing property damage. If the accident causes wrongful death, the resulting funeral and burial costs would also be considered economic damages.
Non-economic damages are just the opposite in that they cannot be objectively calculated. Examples of non-economic damages include the victim’s pain and suffering, the loss of enjoyment of life, and, if a spouse is killed or severely disabled, the loss of a marital relationship (known as loss of consortium).
This distinction is important for injury victims to be aware of, because unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to be compensated for non-economic damages by filing an insurance claim. As our article on car accidents without insurance discusses, the ability to recover non-economic damages after a crash or collision may depend on whether you are bound by Limited Tort coverage or Full Tort coverage.
Additionally, state laws limit the amount of compensation a Pennsylvania car crash victim can recover when the defendant is a local or state government entity, such as a school district. These limits are known as “damages caps.” For detailed information on this topic, please see our article on accident compensation limits in Pennsylvania.
In case you breezed past the disclaimer up top, the dollar values provided below in no way guarantee a similar outcome for every auto accident victim. Every case differs depending on factors like injury severity and financial losses.
A verdict is a sum awarded by a jury, while a settlement is an amount negotiated between parties out of court, sometimes subject to a confidentiality agreement.
If you or one of your family members was the victim of a car crash in Pennsylvania, call car accident attorney Brent Wieand at (888) 789-3161 to talk about your legal options in a free and private consultation. The Wieand Law Firm represents accident victims throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Chester County, and more.
***Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. The dollar amounts referenced in this article are based on past results and should not be interpreted to suggest or imply that other cases will have comparable outcomes. Ultimately, the value of your case will be determined by a settlement, jury, judge or through alternative dispute resolution. Because the circumstances surrounding each injury are unique, each case must be evaluated on an individual basis by a personal injury lawyer. ***