When you are injured in a Pennsylvania car accident, you suffer financial, physical, and emotional damages. Examples of financial damages include funeral expenses, lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and personal care. These economic losses are recoverable from the party who caused the car accident under Pennsylvania's personal injury laws. Your physical and emotional damages are also recoverable.
What Are Physical Damages & Emotional Damages?
Physical and emotional damages is commonly referred to as "pain and suffering." Your physical damages include the physical pain you suffer due to your injuries, scarring, disfigurement, and permanent disability. You may have other physical damages depending on the injuries you sustained in the car accident.
Emotional damages cover the emotional "suffering" you endure because of the car accident. Emotional damages include but are not limited to stress, anxiety, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and grief.
The pain and suffering you will endure in the future are recoverable with the pain and suffering you have endured up to the date of the settlement.
Calculating Pain & Suffering Damages
It is more difficult to calculate pain and suffering damages than it is to calculate economic damages. Economic damages are "quantifiable" meaning they can be measured in actual monetary figures. For example, to calculate your medical damages, you add all of the medical expenses to date to any anticipated future medical expenses. You do this with all other economic damages.
However, pain and suffering is different for each person. Two people can suffer the same exact injury but their pain levels and the emotional suffering may be far different because each person experiences things in a unique way. Because there is not an "invoice" or a "bill" for your pain and suffering, we use several factors to calculate the dollar figure for pain and suffering.
Factors used to calculate pain and suffering damages include:
- The type of injuries sustained;
- The extent or severity of the injuries;
- The degree of permanent injury including scarring and disfigurement;
- The interruption to daily life including activities you are unable to perform due to your injuries;
- The impact of your physical injuries on your well-being;
- The emotional trauma suffered including stress, anguish, grief, pain, and anxiety; and,
- The length of time it has taken you to recover.
Why Should I Keep a Pain Journal After My Accident?
Placing a dollar figure on your pain and suffering is extremely difficult because this type of accident damage is subjective. It is impossible for a jury to understand your level of pain and suffering because they do not live with you day-to-day to see how the injuries have affected your life. Keeping and pain journal can assist your personal injury attorney in substantiating the level of pain and suffering you experienced because of your injuries.
Tracking how your injuries affect your daily activities and prevent you from enjoying the things you did prior to the accident can help a jury understand your level of pain and suffering.
Examples of items you want to track in your pain journal include:
- Your pain level on a scale of 1 to 10
- The physical and emotional symptoms you suffer due to the injuries
- The duration of your symptoms
- Specific tasks you are unable to perform
- Activities you are unable to do because of the injuries.
- Medication side effects
- How often you must take your pain medication
- Episodes of depression or anxiety
- The days you were unable to get out of bed due to pain or depression
- How many days you miss of work because of your injuries
In addition to your journal, keep photographs of your physical injuries as you heal and copies of any documents that would substantiate the notes in your journal. Keeping a pain journal may help your case; however, remember the journal may not remain private because your attorney may need the journal as evidence.
Get Help from an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Harrisburg
Every injury and every car accident is different. Our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience calculating pain and suffering damages according to the laws and verdicts in Pennsylvania. The goal is to maximize the amount of compensation you receive for pain and suffering.
We have fought many insurance companies on pain and suffering damages. Therefore, we understand the tactics used by insurance companies to reduce pain and suffering damages and how to successfully combat those tactics.
Contact our car accident attorneys for a free case evaluation. We want to seek justice on your behalf from the at-fault driver who caused your injuries.