This article helps explain how to evaluate and value Pennsylvania personal injury and medical malpractice lawsuits.
How Much Money is My Pennsylvania Personal Injury Case Worth?
To answer this question, you must first understand how to calculate ‘damages’ in Pennsylvania personal injury lawsuits. It is not enough to say that you were involved in an accident; or that a doctor committed an error. In Pennsylvania injury law, you need to prove (1) liability, (2) causation and most importantly (3) damages.
Here are 3 things that you need to know about Pennsylvania ‘damages’:
I. YOU NEED TO ‘BOARD’ DAMAGES.
In Pennsylvania, you are not allowed to ask for an arbitrary amount, such as: my case is worth 1 million dollars. Any effort to do so may be grounds for a mistrial. Instead, you are only permitted to board damages. This means that you or your attorney must present evidence of specific itemization of damages that Pennsylvania law allows recovery for (not including pain and suffering) such as:
- past medical bills,
- future medical bills,
- lost wages,
- lost earning capacity, and/or
- other ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses.
These are your defined boarded damages. The more damages you can board, the higher overall value of your case. If you are unable to board damages, then you may be limited to only the pain and suffering of your injuries.
II. YOU NEED TO HAVE PAIN and SUFFERING.
As stated, never are you allowed to ask a jury for an arbitrary sum, and this specifically refers to pain and suffering. Pennsylvania personal injury law allows for the recovery of pain and suffering, which can include:
- physical pain,
- emotional pain,
- mental anguish,
- and/or reduction in the likelihood of marriage.
The jury is asked to award an amount of fair compensation. . But, you are not allowed to say my pain is worth $(blank). This is difficult for many people to understand.
The answer as to what pain and suffering is worth is unique to every single case. Likable plaintiffs typically receive more money than disgruntled plaintiffs, even with the same injuries. In addition, everyone’s definition of money is unique, and verdicts in Philadelphia or New York are consistently higher than similar verdicts in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County or western Pennsylvania.
Next, I also believe that pain and suffering evidence is much better received when the testimony is told from family members and/or friends rather than from the plaintiff’s own mouth. It is even better if it is established through testimony from a treating physician. This helps avoid the risk that the plaintiff is complaining or feeling sorry for themselves. Regardless, in order to maximize recovery, there should be strong credible testimony from other people of what the injured individual(s) has and will endure in the form of pain and suffering.
III. YOU NEED TO BE REALISTIC WITH THE VALUE OF YOUR CASE.
I am not saying settle for less. However, being unrealistic in PA personal injury lawsuits can cause more harm than good. The first inquiry is always, what am I able to board? If you are not able to board high medical bills, or significant lost earnings, then you need to really focus on establishing the pain and suffering of your case. Insurance companies seem more willing to litigate cases where the plaintiff is only complaining of pain and suffering, as opposed to higher boarded damages.
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania has had numerous verdicts whereby juries have awarded $1.00 for pain and suffering. Most often, these cases have been rear end collisions, whereby the injured driver claimed soft-tissue damages (such as whiplash); and in many of the cases, there existed pre-existing medical conditions. These cases were unable to board significant damages, and instead were relying soley on pain and suffering. Thus, you need to be realistic in evaluating your Pennsylvania personal injury lawsuit.
Q: How much is my personal injury case worth?
A: It depends:
How much are your boarded damages?
- past medical bills?
- future medical bills?
- lost wages?
- lost earning capacity?
- other ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses?
How much pain and suffering did you endure?
- physical pain?
- emotional pain?
- mental anguish?
- and/or reduction in the likelihood of marriage?
If you have been injured, and need more information, or have questions about the monetary value of your case, please contact attorney Noah Paul Fardo, Esq. directly at 412.802.7080.
This article is written for entertainment purposes only. It should not be relied upon for legal advice, and in no way does this create an attorney/client relationship. We only represent individual(s) once there is a signed representation and fee agreement in place. See full legal Disclaimer.
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