Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers Advocating for Those Injured in Accidents
Have you been seriously injured in an accident due to the fault of another person? You may be entitled to significant damages under Pennsylvania law. The team here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC can provide the assistance you need to successfully pursue your claims. Contact us today to speak to an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer.
What Role Does an Attorney Play in Personal Injury Litigation?
Many prospective personal injury plaintiffs do not quite understand the comprehensive role that a lawyer plays at every stage of the process, from the factual investigation to litigation. When you hire a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer to handle claims on your behalf, they will perform various functions, such as:
- Investigate the accident scene
- Identify key witnesses (eyewitnesses and expert witnesses)
- Gather evidence
- Communicate with various stakeholders on your behalf (i.e., police, opposing counsel, insurance carriers, etc.)
- Send a demand letter and negotiate a pre-litigation settlement
- Guide you through an alternative dispute resolution
- File your claims in a timely manner and litigate
- Handle trial litigation
- Follow-through on enforcement of a court order
Too often, a delay in consulting with a qualified attorney can create complications. A delay in obtaining representation is a bad idea for a number of reasons. For example, an attorney can stop you from making statements that will undermine your case, whether to insurers, police, or the defendant. Additionally, in some cases where a government entity is involved, there is only a six month notice requirement. Since personal injury claims have a relatively short “time limit” that must be carefully monitored, working with a skilled Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer is crucial.
In Pennsylvania and elsewhere, personal injury claims are subject to a deadline by which they must be filed. This is known as the statute of limitations. Personal injury claims in Pennsylvania have a two-year statute of limitations that begins to run from the date of injury (or the date of discovery, in some cases). Failure to bring the lawsuit in a timely manner can lead to an automatic dismissal of your claims at a later date, so be sure to seek the assistance of an attorney as early as possible.
How Fault is Assessed in Pennsylvania
In the past, many states prohibited damage recovery if the plaintiff was found contributorily negligent, which means that any amount of fault would prevent a claim from being pursued. Significant reform has changed the laws of many states over time. In Pennsylvania, the courts no longer bar recovery for contributory negligence. Instead, the courts apply the doctrine of modified comparative negligence.
What is Modified Comparative Negligence?
Essentially, injured plaintiffs are entitled to damages so long as they are not “more” at fault for their losses than the defendant(s). In essence, this comes to a 51 percent fault assessment. If the court finds that the plaintiff is 50 percent liable (or less), recovery will not be barred.
Importantly, however, the amount recoverable will be reduced in accordance with the plaintiff’s contribution of fault. For example, suppose that you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident and you suffer $100,000 in losses. If a jury determines that you are 20 percent at fault, you will be entitled to recover, but the maximum amount you can recover will be reduced to $80,000 accordingly.
Damages Available to Injured Pennsylvania Plaintiffs
Damages vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury. The greater the losses (caused by the defendant), the greater the damages, as an award of damages is meant to compensate the injured plaintiff.
Recoverable damages include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Wage loss (past and future)
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property loss
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of Consortium
Some damages are quite a bit easier to prove, such as one’s medical expenses — which in many cases will be stipulated to as reasonable and customary charges. More uncertain damages, such as the loss of earning capacity, would require supportive expert testimony.
When is an Injury Claim Worth Pursuing? Let Our Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer Help.
Not all cases are straightforward such that they involve just a single defendant or even an obvious defendant. Seasoned personal injury attorneys explore the possibility of additional defendants who may not have been identified at the onset of litigation.
For example, suppose that you are injured in a car accident. You later discover that the driver who injured you was operating the vehicle during work hours and was, in fact, going to meet with a client on behalf of his employer. Given those facts, you could potentially impose liability on their employer pursuant to “vicarious liability” principles. You might also have an independent negligence claim against their employer for failing to exercise reasonable care in hiring and supervising the employee.
Attaching liability to additional parties can be valuable, particularly in cases where the obvious defendant does not have the resources (or insurance coverage) necessary to fully cover your losses. If you pursue claims against an employer, for example, then chances are that they have adequate liability insurance coverage to cover your losses and harms.
Contact a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free and Confidential Consultation
If you are interested in pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, or if you are simply curious about whether you have an actionable claim and would like to learn more, the attorneys at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC can help.
We have decades of experience working with a variety of personal injury plaintiffs, including those who have suffered harm in motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and more. It is this diverse personal injury practice that has afforded us the insight and practical know-how necessary to effectively litigate such claims (and to maximize the damages).
Unlike many other firms, we have demonstrated success litigating cases to conclusion. In other words, we are unafraid of the courtroom and we have brought many claims to trial. This willingness to litigate is important, not only because we are “ready” for the possibility of trial litigation, but also because it puts us in a superior bargaining position when navigating settlement negotiations.
Ready to speak to a skilled personal injury settlement lawyer at our firm? Call us at 888-777-7098 or send us a case evaluation form through our website. Consultation is free and confidential. With offices in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Easton and Stroudsburg, we represent accident victims in premises liability claims throughout eastern Pennsylvania.