Personal Injury FAQ
What is a personal injury?
A personal injury claim is initiated when a person suffers physical, psychological or emotional harm normally due to another person's negligence or recklessness. A claim can be filed in the event an injury leads to a fatality (wrongful death), or when the harm inflicted is fatal. A case is initiated when the person who has become injured, known as the plaintiff, sues an individual or organization that caused the accident, known as the defendant. The whole point of filing a claim is to receive compensation, typically in the form of a money reimbursement, for the damages the plaintiff has sustained.
What types of personal injury cases are there?
In any instance where a person is harmed, a case may be initiated. This results in a myriad of injuries that could possibly fall under the umbrella of a personal injury case. The following list will highlight the types of cases that we, at the Brod Law Firm commonly take on:
- Auto accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injury and cerebral palsy
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- SEPTA accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction accidents
- Wrongful death
- Dog bites
- Defective drug injuries
- Product liability
- Defective medical devices
What damages am I entitled to recover?
Those who file a claim seeking compensation do so in hopes of recovering damages. Damages are losses a plaintiff has endured as a result of their unexpected or unwarranted injury. When a judge or jury finds that the plaintiff deserves to recover these losses, they may be granted an option of receiving economic, non-economic and/or punitive damages as a reward. Here is a list of the various types of damages a plaintiff may recover in court:
Economic damages are documented evidence that indicates a plaintiff has experienced financial losses as a direct result of an injury. These types of damages are easy to calculate and assign a monetary amount because they are made up of tangible items like documents, receipts, transcripts or any other information that would be considered valuable to your case by an attorney. Some examples of economic damages are medical expenses, diminished earning capacity, burial expenses, loss of employment, days missed from work, property damage or loss of property.
Non-economic damages are losses that aren't associated with the financial issues in a case. They refer to intangible losses, in which plaintiffs have the burden of proving that he or she has been physically, emotionally or psychologically harmed by the occurrence of his or her unwarranted injury. Typically, the plaintiff is required to persuade a jury and judge through testimonials that they deserve non-economic damages. A few examples of these types of injuries are loss of consortium, disfigurement, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience or a diminished quality of life.
Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant and deter misconduct from happening again. These damages are usually granted in cases when the liable party acted with extreme gross negligence or recklessly. Cases involving drunk driving, for example, sometimes meet the standard for awarding punitive damages.
Are there “caps” or limitations on the damages I can recover?
There are some limitations, but not many. In fact, Pennsylvania's state constitution deems the limitation of economic and non-economic damages in cases involving injury or death unconstitutional. The only limitation on damages that could pertain to a personal injury case is the state's cap on punitive damages, which is not to exceed two times the amount of total damages.
How soon should I file a personal injury lawsuit?
Each state has implemented a law that limits the amount of time victims have to file a claim after they are injured, this is called the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, with a few limited exceptions, victims have two years from the date they were injured to file a personal injury claim for compensation. Although victims are given this time period, it's best that potential claimants file sooner rather than later to the extent reasonable. It depends on the circumstances. It is important to wait until the injuries are fully established before filing suit in order that proper jurisdictional amount requirements are met.
What if I am partially at fault for my injury?
If the defendant you are filing a claim against argues that you share a portion of responsibility for your injuries, it doesn't mean you won't be able to receive compensation. Pennsylvania adheres to the modified comparative fault rule, which means that the fault you are assigned by the court is deducted from the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. A plaintiff only loses their eligibility when they have been found more than 50% liable for his or her own injuries.
Will I have to go to court?
Anyone who initiates litigation for personal injury cases is faced with the possibility of going to court. However, there is also a chance a settlement will be reached during out-of-court negotiations before a case advances to trial. If the plaintiff's counsel believes that their client can receive the maximum compensation they deserve in court, rather than reaching a settlement, court could be an option. It's important to keep in mind that each decision made by an attorney on your behalf, is for your best interest. So, if your legal counsel believes court is your best option, it's only so you receive the proper compensation for your injuries.
Do I need a lawyer?
Coping with an injury that isn't your fault is difficult. Medical expenses and other injury-related fees add up quickly. Before you know it, you may be drowning in debt and facing financial hardship. Keep in mind that the insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible to close your claim, or even nothing at all unless forced to pay. Going against them yourself will only leave you overwhelmed confused and discouraged. Hiring an attorney to represent you will exponentially boost your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. Call Gary Brod anytime at 888-435-7946 (888-HELPWIN) for an immediate free no obligation telephone consultation and explanation of your legal rights. We have the option of an easy phone sign-up process or contact us online and we can begin work today. We are waiting to hear your story and would be honored to review your case and to fight vigorously for you. Even if you are not sure you have a case we encourage your call. We will not charge you for speaking with us and providing legal advice.