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If you have been involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania, it is likely that you suffered damages of some sort. There is almost always a certain amount of damage to the vehicle itself, and if you’re lucky, that’s all.  Unfortunately, there are often physical and emotional damages too, not to mention other things, such as lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses. 

If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important that you understand what types of damages you can reasonably expect to recover before you consider a settlement.  These are generally broken down into two major categories:  Special Damages and General (or Compensatory) damages.

What are special damages?

Special damages are damages that can be easily attributed to financial loss. For example, damages to your vehicle will be very easy to evaluate based on cost. Similarly, damaged or destroyed personal property (besides your car), out-of-pocket medical expenses, modifications to your residence (wheelchair ramps, etc.) that you incurred because of the accident as well as the wages you lost due to not being able to work will also count as special damages.

What are general damages?

After the trauma of a car accident, there are many other damages that can have occurred that are not financially quantifiable. This is often the case when it comes to the pain and suffering as a result of physical injuries, as well as emotional distress and psychological damage caused by the accident. Spouses – even if not involved in an accident directly – may be entitled to compensation for “loss of consortium” if a loved one in seriously injured or killed in an accident.

Beware the “Limited Tort” Option

Your own insurance company may have offered you a “limited tort” option when you signed up for or renewed your insurance policy.  They might have told you that it was an easy way to save a couple hundred dollars on your premium.  If you have, or think you have, elected the limited tort option, we strongly suggest that you reconsider.  Choosing the limited tort option can seriously limit your ability to recover General or Compensatory Damages in many cases.  The couple hundred dollars you save on your policy might end up costing you thousands.

If you have been seriously injured, physically or emotionally, in a car accident, it is important that you consult with experienced counsel to make sure that all of your damages are taken into account.  Talk with one of the personal injury attorneys at the Quinn Law Firm to learn more.  Contact us at 814-833-2222 or visit us online at www.quinnfirm.com.