In general, there is no limit to how much you can sue someone for a car accident. However, there are factors that may limit how much compensation you will recover in a lawsuit. Things like the severity of the injuries, the extent of the other party’s negligence and the coverage of insurance policies will all limit what you can recover.
How Much Can a Car Accident Victim Sue For?
Car accident victims can sue for economic and noneconomic damages depending on the severity of the wreck. The only way to really maximize the total compensation a victim may be awarded is by utilizing the legal representation of a car accident lawyer.
Potential compensation a car accident victim may be awarded include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
What will be awarded will also depend on the severity of the crash. If the car accident victim was not severely hurt, and did not suffer extensive property damage, it may be worth it to not sue at all, and instead put in a claim with the insurance company.
But, if the victim was seriously hurt or killed, it likely is worth it to go through a car accident lawsuit to get the total compensation that can be awarded.
It is important to note that noneconomic damages like pain and suffering, and loss of consortium can be hard to establish a dollar amount to. This is why you need a car accident lawyer throughout the process.
What Type of Medical Bills Are Covered in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
Car accident victims are entitled to compensation for all of their medical treatment which includes current and future care. Medical bills that can be compensated in a lawsuit include:
- Emergency room care/visit
- Ambulance fee
- Testing and scans
- Post-op care
- Physical and occupational therapies
- Medical devices
- Any other medical expenses related to the accident
Comparative Negligence Limits How Much Can Be Recovered
Pennsylvania follows comparative negligence laws which bars a victim from recovering damages if they are more than 50 percent at fault for a collision. Under this fault law, each party is assigned a percentage of fault which shows how their actions or inactions contributed to the accident. Then, your amount of compensation is adjusted based on this percentage of fault. So, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault in a collision, you will only be able to recover 80 percent of the compensation you are awarded in a lawsuit.
How Does Car Insurance Impact How Much I Can Collect in a Car Accident?
Anyone who owns and drives a car in Pennsylvania is required to carry car insurance. Minimum car insurance coverage limits in Pennsylvania are:
- $15,000 for bodily injury per person
- $30,000 for total bodily injury per accident
- $5,000 for property damage
- $5,000 in medical care coverage
In Pennsylvania, all drivers must file a claim with their own insurance company first to recover medical treatment and other accident related expenses under the no-fault car accident rule. But, if the injuries are severe enough, the driver can file a third-party insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
There is another option to opt-out of the no-fault insurance system. These are selecting one of two policy types: limited tort and full tort.
Limited tort insurance means you and your family have a right under your car insurance policy to recover monetary damages for the accident–but on a limited basis. You are able to recover losses for medical expenses, lost income, and property damage, but you cannot get compensation for pain and suffering, non-economic damages, etc. You can, however, sue the other driver if the injuries sustained are serious.
Full tort coverage calls the driver and their family unlimited rights in a car accident to recover all economic and non-economic damages even if the injuries sustained were not serious or severe.
However, there is a price difference with these policies so be sure to know what type of coverage you have.
In addition to these policies, you may have opted for the add-on of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage allows you to still recover compensation if you are in a car accident if the other driver does not have car insurance or has insufficient car insurance. While this coverage is not required, it can be helpful, especially in hit-and-run accidents.
What are the Damage Caps For Car Accidents?
Pennsylvania does not have damage caps for car accidents and other personal injury cases. But, there is a caveat to this.
If the accident was caused by a government employee, and the lawsuit goes up against the State, there is a damage cap of $250,000 for recovery. If the lawsuit is against a local government entity, then it is capped at $500,000.
Can Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Help Me Recover the Most Compensation?
In order to recover the most compensation you need a law firm that can establish that the other party involved was negligent in the car accident. To prove negligence, you need to show that:
- The other party owed a legal duty to the victim to drive responsibly
- There was a breach of duty
- The victim suffered injuries as a result
- The injuries were a result of the breach and resulting injuries
Once negligence is established, your lawyer can begin to calculate the potential compensation you can claim. But, calculating damages is not easy–especially for non-economic damages– as there is no one way to calculate total compensation.
Sometimes, your lawyer will utilize the multiplier method which takes your medical bills, lost wages, and economic damages and multiplies it by three for pain and suffering. However, three is not always the multiplying number.
In general, just utilizing a lawyer for your car accident claim or lawsuit will result in more compensation as it can add the pressure to the insurance company or other party to give you the compensation you deserve.
Get the Most Compensation For Your Car Accident Lawsuit With Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys
Car accidents are stressful. But recovering the compensation you need to move forward doesn’t have to be. For more than 60 years, the car accident attorneys of Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys have been helping car accident attorneys get the most compensation they can for the accident claims and lawsuits.
Our personal injury lawyers have been named among the Best Lawyers in America, selected to Pennsylvania Super Lawyers, and are board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Not only do we have the accolades to back up our success, we have multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements to prove the work we do makes all the difference.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car crash, an experienced and compassionate car accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is ready to fight for you today. Car accident lawsuits can be lengthy and complicated and when you’ve suffered severe injuries or lost a loved one, you’ll have more than enough on your plate. Let us lighten the burden.
Call today at (570) 399-0406 or use our online form to schedule your no-obligation, free consultation.