Is Pain and Suffering Separate From Medical Bills?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or another incident caused by someone else’s negligence or reckless conduct, you can seek compensation for the harm you have suffered. Many of our clients have heard of personal injury legal terms such as “pain and suffering,” but they are unsure about their exact meaning. Below, we explain the damages available to personal injury plaintiffs in Pennsylvania, as well as how pain and suffering differs from the medical costs recoverable in a personal injury action. For help with a personal injury claim or answers to any additional questions you may have, call an experienced Chestnut Hill personal injury lawyer.
Damages Available in a Personal Injury Case
If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligent or wrongful act, you might have a personal injury claim. Personal injury covers a wide variety of incidents including slip and falls, car accidents, defective products, and even intentional assault. When you file a personal injury claim against a “tortfeasor” (someone who caused you injury), you can seek compensation for several different categories of damages.
Compensatory damages are meant to compensate you for the harm you suffered as a result of someone else’s wrongful act. Compensatory damages generally fall into two categories: economic and non-economic harm.
Economic harms are tangible losses that can be tied to a specific dollar figure. Economic harms are those that hurt your wallet–money you were forced to spend or will be forced to spend as a result of your injuries and related harm. Economic damages typically include property damage, wages you lost as a result of missing work during your recovery, and your medical costs. These are costs you were forced to endure because of the defendant’s conduct, and it’s only fair the defendant pays you back.
Medical costs include any medical bills you’ve incurred to date as a result of your injuries, as well as anticipated future medical costs. Medical costs include surgeries, procedures, prosthetics, nursing care, physical therapy, medication, and anything else you (and/or your insurance) must pay for to recover from the injuries you suffered at the hands of the defendant.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, concern more subjective harms that cannot be readily tied to a particular dollar figure or objective documentation. Non-economic damages generally include psychological or emotional harm resulting from an accident and related injuries. Non-economic damages may include emotional distress, loss of life enjoyment caused by long-term injury, loss of consortium (spousal intimacy), the psychological damage caused by disfigurement or disability, and pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering is often the primary form of non-economic damages awarded in a personal injury case. Pain and suffering refers to the physical discomfort and emotional distress suffered by the victim of a tort, caused by the original incident as well as the resulting injuries. Pain and suffering includes pain, discomfort, anguish, inconvenience, and emotional trauma–both physical and mental pain. Often, the various types of non-economic harm are grouped together under the more general “pain and suffering” label.
Pain and suffering can lead to objective consequences. An accident victim might struggle to return to work even after their physical injuries have healed due to the emotional and psychological trauma caused by the accident. Pennsylvania law recognizes that subjective harm can be just as damaging as objective harm and allows accident victims to claim significant non-economic damages.
Compassionate Legal Help After a Catastrophic Personal Injury in Philadelphia
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in Pennsylvania, you need the help of a dedicated and thorough personal injury attorney to get the damages you deserve. Benedum Law founding attorney Christine Benedum has dedicated her career to fighting for accident victims and knows how to get her clients the compensation they deserve from those at fault. Contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney at Benedum Law in Chestnut Hill for a free consultation on your case at 215-529-7848 (215-LAWSUIT).