How Are Non-Economic Damages Calculated in Pennsylvania?

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
March 19, 2024
Law and Justice

Understanding the nuances of non-economic damages in Pennsylvania is crucial, especially for those navigating the aftermath of a personal injury. Non-economic damages, unlike their economic counterparts, compensate for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of life enjoyment. These damages are inherently subjective and, therefore, present unique challenges in calculation.

At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. (RGSG), we recognize the complexity of these issues and are committed to guiding our clients through this intricate process. Our approach blends legal expertise with a deep understanding of the personal impact these cases have on individuals. 

Exploring Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages play a significant role in personal injury cases. Unlike economic damages, which cover tangible losses like medical bills or lost wages, non-economic damages address the more subjective aspects of harm. This includes pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, and diminished quality of life. These damages are crucial as they acknowledge that the impact of an injury extends beyond financial costs.

In Pennsylvania, the calculation of non-economic damages is not straightforward. There is no exact formula, making the assessment largely subjective. Jurors or judges consider various factors, such as the severity and permanence of the injury, the age of the plaintiff, and how the injury affects daily life and relationships. The goal is to assign a value that reasonably compensates for these intangible losses.

The ambiguity in assessing non-economic damages often leads to wide variations in award amounts. This is where the experience of skilled attorneys becomes indispensable. They help articulate the extent of these damages, often employing expert testimony and drawing parallels to similar cases to establish a fair valuation. 

Legal Framework and Considerations

The legal landscape in Pennsylvania imposes certain guidelines and limitations on non-economic damages. Understanding these is crucial for a realistic expectation of the compensation one might receive. For instance, Pennsylvania does not cap non-economic damages in personal injury cases, unlike some states. Also, Pennsylvania does not cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, like many other states.

It is important to note that Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence rule. This means that if the injured party is found partially at fault, their compensation can be reduced proportionally. For example, if a plaintiff is 30% at fault, their awarded damages will be reduced by that percentage.

Another aspect to consider is the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, personal injury claims must typically be filed within two years of the injury. Failing to adhere to this timeframe can result in losing the right to seek damages.

Navigating the Calculation Process

Calculating non-economic damages requires a detailed understanding of the injury’s impact on the individual’s life. Lawyers often gather comprehensive evidence, including medical records, expert opinions, and personal testimonies, to build a strong case. They work to paint a vivid picture of the pain and suffering endured, as well as the future implications of the injury.

In some cases, “day-in-the-life” videos or similar tools can be effective. These methods provide a tangible representation of the challenges faced by the plaintiff, thereby making the abstract concept of pain and suffering more concrete to the jury or judge.

Collaboration with medical professionals and psychologists is also common. They offer expert insights into the long-term effects of the injury, which is vital in justifying the claim for non-economic damages.

Why Choose Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford for Your Case?

At RGSG, our talented team of attorneys brings extensive experience in handling personal injury cases across Southeastern Pennsylvania. We understand the profound impact non-economic damages can have on an individual’s life and are dedicated to securing the compensation our clients deserve. Choosing RGSG means opting for a firm that combines the resources of a large firm with the personalized attention of a boutique practice. We are not just your legal representatives; we are your advocates, committed to fighting for your rights and well-being.

Our approach is client-focused and results-driven. We take the time to understand the unique aspects of your case and tailor our strategy accordingly. With RGSG, you are not just a case number; you are a valued individual with a story that deserves to be heard. Contact us today at (215) 822-7575 or through our contact form. Let us help you navigate the complexities of non-economic damage calculation in Pennsylvania and work toward securing the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
March 19, 2024
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.