Resources

Category: Personal Injury

Mar 15, 2019 - Personal Injury

What is the Difference Between Economic and Noneconomic Damages?

Bethlehem Personal Injury Lawyers If you’ve been harmed in an accident that was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another individual or entity in Pennsylvania, then the law may give you a right of action for damages. When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, however, there is a significant difference between merely winning a case and winning a case while securing full and adequate damages to cover your losses.  For example, it’s possible for the court to agree with your arguments and impose liability on the defendant, but for the jury to award limited damages.  The jury may not believe that you have done enough to establish the “certainty” of your various losses or may believe that you are exaggerating your losses. Understanding personal injury damages is therefore critical to ensuring that you are able to achieve your litigation goals.  Let’s take a closer look. Two Primary Categories: Economic and Noneconomic Damages Damages are meant to “compensate” the injured plaintiff for their losses, and as such, the standard damages available to an injured plaintiff are termed compensatory damages.  Their purpose is compensatory in nature — they are intended to position the plaintiff (recipient of the damages) in a manner that most accurately projects their status had the accident not occurred in the first place. Compensatory damages can be further subdivided into two categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages describe losses that are purely pecuniary in nature.  These damages may include compensation that covers losses such as: […]

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Feb 18, 2019 - Allentown Car Accident Lawyer

Several Reminders From Highway Safety Law Awareness Week

Did you know that this week (February 18- 25) is “Highway Safety Law Awareness Week?” By raising awareness regarding certain traffic laws, with which you may not be too familiar, PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police hope to make everyone safer on our roadways. This year’s focus is on a variety of lesser know traffic laws, as well as some changes to our existing laws. These include, Pennsylvania’s Blind Pedestrian Law; the Use of Headphones While Driving; the Ride-on-Red law; the Unattended Motor Vehicle law (those with remote car starters should especially read this); the Clear Snow and Ice from your Vehicle Law (see our previous article here); the Steer Clear Law; the Turn Around, Don’t Drown Law; as well as penalty changes to our existing DUI laws. In addition to the “Clear the Snow from Your Vehicle Law,” we previously wrote about, we think that it is important to be reminded, about two additional laws that are the focus of this year’s Awareness Week. The first law we would like to look at in more detail is the “Unattended Motor Vehicle Law” and the second is the “Turn Around, Don’t Drown Law.” On a cold winter morning, who doesn’t want to wait in the house while your car is getting warmed-up before heading out on the road? But do you know what the laws are in Pennsylvania regarding leaving a vehicle running that is unattended? 75 Pa. C.S.A. Sec. 3701, prohibits anyone who is “in charge” of a motor […]

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Feb 7, 2019 - Personal Injury

Extending the Personal Injury Claim Deadline

In the state of Pennsylvania, personal injury plaintiffs are subject to a two-year statute of limitations period.  If the plaintiff does not file their lawsuit before the deadline passes, then they will lose their right to litigate their claim in a court of law, thus relinquishing any real possibility of recovery. Statute of limitations rules are critically important, and as such, we recommend that all prospective plaintiffs seek out legal assistance early (even if uncertain about whether a claim is actionable) so that the case can be properly evaluated before too much time has passed.  If you’ve delayed in filing your lawsuit, however, there may still be hope.  Pennsylvania, same as many other jurisdictions, suspends the statute of limitations in certain circumstances. Consider the following “common exceptions” to the statute of limitations. The Discovery Rule In many cases, one’s injuries are not actually clear on the date of the accident.  For example, if you are hit by a car in a low-speed accident, you might not realize that you were harmed if the injury is asymptomatic until a later date.  The discovery rule allows for the suspension of the statute of limitations until the date of discovery (or at least, until you should have discovered the injury with the exercise of reasonable care). Minor Plaintiff Plaintiffs who were minors at the time of an accident have their statute of limitations period suspended until they become 18 years of age.  How does this work?  Suppose that you are injured in a […]

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Jan 31, 2019 - Personal Injury

Business Owners Must Provide Adequate Security

In Pennsylvania, premises liability principles give injured plaintiffs the right to bring a lawsuit against a property owner for failing to correct non-obvious dangerous conditions of the property (i.e., property hazards, such as broken stairs).  For example, if you trip and fall on the defendant’s stairway due to a broken step, then you could sue and recover damages as compensation. The situation becomes a bit more complicated when the “dangerous condition of property” is not linked to an inanimate object, but is instead linked to the negative and potentially harmful behaviors of another individual.  In many cases, businesses fail to provide adequate security to their customers, and this gives rise to a significant injury risk.  Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, a lawsuit against the business owner may be possible. So, what is the advantage of pursuing a lawsuit against the business owner?  Generally speaking, individual criminals do not have the assets or coverage to compensate the injured victim for their losses.  In order for the victim to obtain full compensation, they’ll have to establish the liability of defendants who have “deep enough pockets” to pay — here, the business owner. Reasonable Foreseeability is the Key Pennsylvania law does not make business owners absolute guarantors of the safety of their customers.  Liability may only attach if the business owner knew or reasonably should have known about the dangerous condition of property.  In the inadequate security context, the dangerous condition that the business owner knew or reasonably should have known […]

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Jan 17, 2019 - Personal Injury

Litigating a Claim Involving Catastrophic Spinal Cord Injuries

Bethlehem Back Injury Lawyers The spinal cord is fundamental to both movement and sensation in the human body, and as such, an injury to the spinal cord can lead to impairment of these functions.  Catastrophic spinal cord injuries often cause: Paralysis Shooting pain Burning pain Movement deficits Sensational deficits And more If you’ve sustained an injury to your spinal cord due to the fault of another party, it’s important that you seek the assistance of a qualified attorney who can help you litigate your claims.  You may be entitled to damages under Pennsylvania Law.  Contact Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC for comprehensive guidance. Catastrophic Injuries Require Significant Compensation The impairments caused by a catastrophic spinal cord injury may lead to damages that surprise most who are unfamiliar with the personal injury litigation process. Suppose, for example, that your legs are paralyzed in a car accident involving a driver who was operating their vehicle recklessly at the time of the accident.  Following your accident, you can no longer work at your construction job.  You may also struggle with the loss of enjoyment related to various social and physical activities that you can no longer partake in.  Your participation in recreational sports may represent a significant loss from both a social and exercise-based perspective. As the injured plaintiff, you may recover for your pain and suffering, humiliation, mental anguish, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, retraining costs, medical expenses, and various other losses. Timely and Compassionate Resolution Many plaintiffs suffering from […]

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Jan 10, 2019 - Doylestown Personal Injury Attorney

What Are Emotional Damages?

If you’ve been injured due to the negligent or wrongful misconduct of another party in Pennsylvania, then you may have a cause of action against the defendant for damages.  These damages may not only compensate you for the financial losses and physical harm that you suffered due to your injuries, but also the emotional harm. Economic and Non-Economic Damages In Pennsylvania, compensatory damages in a personal injury case can be separated into two different categories: economic and non-economic damages.  Economic and non-economic damages are fundamentally different than one another, though they are both critical to securing a full and adequate recovery. Economic Damages Economic damages account for financial losses suffered due to the accident at-issue.  These may include, but are not necessarily limited, to: Lost wages Loss of future earning capacity Medical expenses Property loss And more Due to their more objective nature, economic damages tend to be rather straightforward to prove, though you’ll have to keep copious records to ensure that you have the evidence to support your claims. Non-Economic Damages Non-economic damages account for the physical and mental losses suffered by the plaintiff due to the accident.  These may include, but are not necessarily limited, to: Pain and suffering Mental anguish Stress Embarrassment Humiliation Loss of enjoyment of life And more Due to their more subjective nature, non-economic damages can be difficult to prove, as the defendant may assert that your claim is “outrageous” based on the circumstances.  Because they cannot experience what you are going through, they […]

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Dec 28, 2018 - Personal Injury

Using Experts to Strengthen Your Injury Claim

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then Pennsylvania law may give you a right to sue and obtain compensation for the losses that you suffered.  Before you move forward with your claims and bringing a lawsuit against the defendant for damages, however, you should probably be aware of the importance of expert witness testimony to successful litigation in many personal injury disputes. Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, we work with reliable experts who have helped us secure substantial results in the past.  Our close connection with expert ensures that we are “on the same wavelength” from a case strategy standpoint, and that we can guide the expert witness to produce reliable testimony that is less likely to be undermined by opposing counsel. Let’s take a closer look. The Value of Expert Testimony Expert witnesses are quite different from eyewitnesses.  Unlike eyewitnesses, expert witnesses typically did not observe the accident at-issue firsthand.  Expert witnesses are those who are introduced into litigation to testify as to issues and facts that are related to some “special knowledge” that they possess regarding a particular field. For example, an auto industry engineer might be brought in to testify as to the expected tolerances for the roll cage of a vehicle (with regard to the force of impact it is capable of sustaining). Expert witness testimony is quite valuable in the personal injury context to help establish certain standards or […]

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Nov 29, 2018 - Personal Injury

The Discovery Rule and the Statute of Limitations

Allentown Injury Attorney In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims — unless the defendant is a “public” employee or entity, in which case a separate, stricter set of procedural rules apply — is just two years from the date of injury. The statute of limitations is essentially a deadline for one’s lawsuit.  Failure to bring an action against the defendant before the deadline passes will result in an abandonment of the claims therein.  Simply put: you will lose your right to litigate your injury dispute in a Pennsylvania court of law should the deadline pass before you file your claims. There are numerous exceptions to the statute of limitations, however, which can give you extra time.  The Discovery Rule is one such exception, and it is significant.  If the injuries you sustained due to an accident were hidden or otherwise non-obvious, then there’s a good chance that the Discovery Rule is applicable to your lawsuit. Let’s take a closer look at how it works. How Does the Discovery Rule Work? According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Discovery Rule provides that “where the existence of the injury is not known to the complaining party and such knowledge cannot be reasonably ascertained within the prescribed statutory period, the limitations period does not begin to run until the discovery of the injury is reasonably possible.”  Stated another way, the statute of limitations period will not begin to count down until the plaintiff either becomes aware of the injury […]

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Nov 8, 2018 - Personal Injury

Recovering Damages for an Assault

If you’ve been intentionally injured by another person in Pennsylvania, then they may not only be criminally liable for having committed assault, but also civilly liable for the damages they caused you to suffer as a result of their actions. Many people do not realize that they are entitled to bring a civil action — independent of State prosecutors’ criminal case — against the individual(s) who assaulted them.  This civil action is important, as it may give the injured plaintiff access to financial resources that covers their losses.  For example, if you are badly injured in an assault and is thereby forced to resign from your position (due to your inability to perform the material duties of the job), then you could ostensibly sue and recover damages for those lost wages and the loss of future earning capacity, among other losses. So, how does a civil assault claim work?  Let’s examine the basics. Understanding Assault In Pennsylvania, assault requires: The attempt to cause bodily injury to another; The attempt (by physical menace) to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another; or Negligently causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. This may give rise to a civil claim for damages, as the victims of an intentional tort are entitled to sue and recover damages for the harm caused by the defendant. Suppose, for example, that the defendant pushes you into a dark alleyway and waves a gun at […]

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Nov 1, 2018 - Personal Injury

Some Evidence May Be Excluded From Your Injury Lawsuit

If you’ve been injured due to the fault of another — their negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct — then Pennsylvania law may entitle you to pursue an action for damages. Importantly, the success of personal injury litigation often turns on the outcome of evidentiary battles.  For example, whether your claim for damages succeeds might depend on whether you can prevent the defendant from introducing evidence that shines a negative light on your character. Excluding Irrelevant Evidence Evidence may only be admissible if it is relevant.  Irrelevant evidence has no place in litigation. Rule 401 of the Pennsylvania code succinctly defines “relevance” in the evidentiary context.  In accordance with the rule, evidence is relevant if: It has a tendency to make a fact more or less probable; and The fact is of consequence in determining the action. For example, in a slip-and-fall case, evidence concerning the regularity/consistency of the floor inspection schedule would likely be relevant, as it would help determine whether the defendant adhered to their duty of reasonable care. Not All Relevant Evidence is Admissible If the evidence is relevant — in other words, if it has probative value with regard to some material fact pertaining to the case at-hand — then you might still be able to prohibit its introduction. Rule 403 of the Pennsylvania Code describes the circumstances under which relevant evidence may be deemed “inadmissible.”  Specifically, relevant evidence may be inadmissible if its probative value is outweighed by the danger of: Unfair prejudice; Confusing the issues; […]

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