Truck accidents often cause severe injuries and damages. The more serious a collision is, the more likely you are to experience pain and suffering in addition to financial losses and expenses. However, whether you can sue for pain and suffering after a truck accident depends largely on the laws in your state.
Our attorneys are well-versed in the damages that truck accidents can cause and what victims can potentially recover from the liable parties. If you hire our firm, we can review the circumstances of your case – including applicable state laws – to identify and estimate the damages you can seek.
What Is a Pain and Suffering Award?
A pain and suffering award in a personal injury case provides the victim with compensation for intangible damages. For example, you could recover compensation for losses like:
- A reduction in quality of life
- Ongoing physical pain
- Emotional trauma
If you have a medical bill, it is easy to see the exact amount for which you can seek reimbursement. Meanwhile, a judgment for emotional trauma does not have its own monetary value. As a result, non-economic damages like these require you to assign value to them.
When we represent you, one of our truck accident lawyers can determine the proper amount to request for pain and suffering, as well as other damages.
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Recovering Pain and Suffering Damages in New York
In New York, ISC § 5102 determines whether a truck accident victim can break out of the no-fault insurance system to sue for pain and suffering. The statute requires that a victim have proof of serious injuries from the accident to qualify for this type of damages.
For example, if you have an injury that leaves you unable to perform your normal life activities for at least 90 of the first 180 days after the accident, this would qualify as serious. The statute also outlines other, more detailed examples of serious injuries, such as:
- Loss of a fetus
- Limited use of a body organ
- Limited use of a bodily function
Our personal injury team can help you determine if your injuries meet this severity threshold.
Pain and Suffering for Truck Accidents in New Jersey
Eligibility to sue for pain and suffering damages in New Jersey is a bit more complex. While the state has a severe injury threshold similar to New York’s, whether or not it applies depends on the type of auto insurance coverage you selected. As a no-fault state, New Jersey requires drivers to purchase personal injury protection (PIP), but this comes in two categories:
- No Limitation on Lawsuit: This coverage option allows you to file a lawsuit against the liable party for pain and suffering regardless of your injury severity, though your car insurance premium will be higher.
- Limitation on Lawsuit: Unless you opt out, this is the standard coverage, which is subject to the injury threshold.
Per NJ Rev Stat § 39:6A-8, drivers must choose one of these options when purchasing auto insurance. Those who don’t opt out could still seek pain and suffering damages, but their injuries must qualify as severe under the law.
Pennsylvania Pain and Suffering Laws
Pennsylvania is also a no-fault state with policies similar to New Jersey. In this state, drivers can choose between Full Tort and Limited Tort Coverage:
- Limited Tort Coverage: The term “tort” refers to legal action, so this option limits your ability to file a lawsuit for pain and suffering unless you meet the state’s injury threshold.
- Full Tort: While the more expensive option, this type of coverage allows you to seek compensation from the liable party with no injury threshold limitation.
Pa. C.S.A. § 1705 outlines the specifics of this policy.
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Understanding the General Rules for Winning a Judgment in Truck Accident Cases
Before you can sue for pain and suffering after a truck collision, you will need to build a compelling case for damages. This is especially true if you need to prove you meet the injury threshold in your state, but it also applies in any personal injury lawsuit.
In your case file, you will need to have evidence of the truck driver or trucking company’s negligence and liability. You will also need proof of your damages, such as:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing costs for prescriptions
- Lost wages from missing work
In all three states, truck accident victims have the ability to seek financial recovery for these damages. Any pain and suffering judgment would be above and beyond the recovery of these economic losses. When you hire our firm, we can put together a case that addresses all of the damages you qualify to seek.
Our Team Knows How to Interpret the State Laws Regarding Your Case
The team at Morelli Law Firm operates in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In these states, the laws around pain and suffering awards can be highly complex and overwhelming to victims seeking recovery. Our truck accident attorneys have the ability to apply the appropriate state laws to your case, helping to determine your eligibility for receiving a pain and suffering judgment.
For a free case review, call us today at (212) 751-9800.