Auto collisions can cause devastating physical, emotional, and financial losses for the occupants of the vehicles. Fortunately, Pennsylvania law allows injured parties to seek recoverable damages after an Altoona car accident.
These compensatory damages are designed to make the victim whole and include both economic and non-economic damages. To learn more about the recourse that could be available to you, it could be beneficial to speak with a well-practiced Altoona vehicle accident attorney.
Economic Losses in a Car Wreck
Economic damages are any quantifiable, out-of-pocket expenses that resulted from a vehicle accident.
A plaintiff can seek compensation for any wages the injured party lost as a result of being either unable to work, working part-time, or working at a lower earning level than he or she was before. This also includes future loss earning capacity if the injured person is not able to work in the future either entirely or partially. Oftentimes, local attorneys will bring in economists as expert witnesses to quantify future financial losses, such as lost benefits, health insurance, and retirement benefits.
Economic damages also include medical bills that are not covered by insurance. A claimant can also seek compensation for any bills that were paid by an insurance company that is asserting a right subrogation. In other words, the health insurance company is only paying these bills because someone else was negligent, and gets paid back a portion of those bills.
What are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages account for all of the intangible losses that the plaintiff experienced such as pain and suffering. However, quantifying these losses can be difficult.
Recoverable human losses include, but are not limited to:
- Physical pain
- Disability and disfigurement
- Decreased quality of life
- Loss of ability to participate in activities
- Mental anguish
A compassionate local attorney could explain how the car accident has impacted a claimant’s quality of life and help recover fair compensation on the injured party’s behalf.
When are Punitive Damages Awarded in a Vehicle Accident Case?
Economic and non-economic compensatory damages are designed to compensate an individual for their injuries. In other words, compensate him or her for the financial, physical, and emotional losses that resulted from the vehicle collision in Altoona.
Punitive damages have a different purpose, and are penal in nature. Also called exemplary damages, they are designed to punish the wrongdoer for egregious conduct in causing the accident. For vehicle collisions, drunk driving, driving while under the influence of drugs, texting while driving, speeding in a school zone or construction zone, passing where it is not permitted, and other similar egregious conduct by a defendant can give rise to punitive damages under Pennsylvania law.
Damage Caps in Altoona
A damage cap is a limit set by the legislature that says a person cannot recover beyond a certain amount. In other words, it is an absolute limit on what a person is able to collect. In Pennsylvania, there are caps on damages against governmental defendants including a local municipalities, like a township or borough, or a Pennsylvania Commonwealth entity, such as PennDOT. The damage cap is $250,000 for a Pennsylvania Commonwealth entity and $500,000 for local governmental entity.
Discuss Recoverable Damages with a Car Accident Attorney in Altoona
An attorney may be able to help you to maximize the value of your claim. For this reason, it is highly advisable to seek guidance from a skilled local attorney to help you seek all available recoverable damages after an Altoona car accident. To get started on your claim, call our team at Marcus & Mack and schedule your initial case consultation for free.