Car accidents can be devastating. Lives are often turned upside down, jobs lost or families torn apart. Car accident victims and their families can suffer through not only physical injury, but also the very real emotional and mental pain and suffering. Economic damages such as lost wages and medical bills are almost always recoverable in these cases. However, non-economic damages like pain and suffering damages or loss of consortium damages may also be available, depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Types of Non-Economic Damages Recoverable in a Car Accident Case: Pain and Suffering and Loss of Consortium
There are two types of non-economic damages: past and future pain and suffering damages and past and future loss of consortium damages. Pain and suffering damages compensate the injured car accident victim for the physical and mental pain caused by the injury and accident. Loss of consortium damages compensate the victim’s spouse for loss of and changes in the relationship as a result of the accident.
How to Prove Pain and Suffering and Loss of Consortium
There is no set formula to determine what pain and suffering or loss of consortium damages are worth. However, factors such as age, dependents, occupation, marital status, etc. are important. In addition, having testimony from witnesses such as family members, co-workers or neighbors can help establish how the accident has affected the victim and his or her family.
Loss of consortium damages can be awarded to the spouse of the accident victim, provided that they were married at the time of the accident. This special type of damage compensates the spouse for the oftentimes tremendous task he or she may face in helping their spouse recover from an especially traumatic car accident. This type of damage is meant to compensate for changes in the relationship as well as loss of intimacy.
For example, a wife who must now be a primary caretaker of her quadriplegic husband is entitled to make such a claim. This type of claim is not limited to such catastrophic cases; it can be made in any case where the spouse of the injured car accident victim suffers because of the accident.
Punitive Damages – A Special Kind of Award
Claims for punitive damages may be made in certain situations. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the injured car accident victim. Rather, they are designed to punish a wrongdoer for gross misconduct or reckless conduct. For example, a drunk driver may be subject to punitive damages.
For more information, access our free legal article about recovering economic damages like lost wages in a PA or NJ car accident case.
To submit your case for review by our Pennsylvania and New Jersey car and truck accident lawyers, call Click To Call. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
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