submitted by Carin A. O’Donnell, Esq. and Ryan S. Kilmer, Esq., Stark & Stark
As trial lawyers who practice in the areas of catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death, we see every day what happens to individuals and families when someone is injured or a loved one is lost due to the fault of someone’s wrong doing.
The law determines how much the wrongdoer should pay for causing someone to lose the ability to live their life as they did before they suffered harm or loss.
For example, Pennsylvania’s law permits recovery for past medical treatment, future medical treatment, pain and suffering, wage loss, disfigurement, and future losses of earning.
While you are not permitted to ask for a specific number during a trial, the jury hears evidence of the losses to the person and assesses whether or not a person should be compensated.
Compensation for these losses is what the civil justice system allows. It is your right.
Compensation for harms and losses is not “winning a lottery.” The money awarded in the civil justice system is meant to make people “whole,” bringing them as close as possible to what life was like before their injury and allowing them to purchase what is needed to make their lives a little easier as they replace the things they lost.
Of course, money cannot bring a loved one back, regenerate a lost limb, or fix someone’s traumatic brain injury completely.
But money can buy medical treatments, finances to live, prosthesis, home modifications, and funeral expenses. Most importantly, it deters future wrongdoing.
If you do not fully compensate a person for what they have lost, you are telling the wrongdoer that their behavior was permissible.
Full and fair compensation attempts to provide the victim a life that is as close the one they had before their loss, while simultaneously deterring the wrongdoers’ conduct in the future.
It is what the law requires and what the victim deserves.