Every year, thousands of people in Pennsylvania seek medical attention for injuries they have sustained – everything from minor scrapes and sprains, to broken bones, and even catastrophic injuries that lead to death. Sometimes the injuries are accidents and are there is no one to blame. But other times, the injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence. When injuries are a result of someone’s negligence, the person who is harmed may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or entity who caused it.
If that has happened to you or a loved one, you may not know whether or not you have a case, or how to proceed. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to answer all of your questions, but first there are some things you should know about personal injury cases in Pennsylvania.
What Has To Be Proven In A Personal Injury Case?
In order to be entitled to compensation for a personal injury case, the state of Pennsylvania requires you to prove that the other party was negligent. To do that, you must show:
- The party who caused your injuries had a responsibility not to injure you and he or she failed to live up to that responsibility
- The other party’s action (or inaction) caused your injury
- You suffered damages, or a financial loss, due to your injury
What Will I Be Compensated For In A Personal Injury Case?
Damages are an award, typically monetary, to be paid to a person as compensation for loss or injury. If you are able to prove that the other party was negligent by showing the three elements above, then they may be required to pay you for your damages. For a personal injury case, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Medical bills for treatment related to your injuries
- Disability and disfigurement caused by the injury
- Pain and suffering caused by the injury
- The repair or replacement of property damaged
- Lost wages as a result of your injury
- The expense of hiring help to do household tasks that you are no longer able to do as a result of your injury
- Emotional trauma suffered due to your injury
- Any other costs that are determined to be caused by your injury
Some states have limits on the amount of damages that a person can receive for a personal injury case. In Pennsylvania, it is constitutionally prohibited to place a limit on cases involving injury and death. The only limitation that does apply for personal injury cases in the state is a cap on punitive damages, which is set at two times the amount of actual damages.
Pennsylvania Follows Shared Fault Rule
Sometimes, the person or entity that you are suing for personal injury will argue that you are to blame (at least partially) for the event that caused your injuries. If you do share some of the liability, it may affect the amount of compensation that you receive.
When there is shared fault in a personal injury case, Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule (also called the 50% rule). The rule says that the amount of compensation you are entitled to will be reduced by an amount that is equal to your percentage of fault. However, if you are found to be more than 50% to blame, then you cannot be awarded anything.
Pennsylvania Is A Choice No-Fault Car Insurance State
If your injury is the result of a car accident in Pennsylvania, it is important to know that the state is a choice no-fault insurance state. That means that when a car owner buys insurance, they have to choose whether they want no-fault insurance or traditional coverage. If you choose no-fault insurance, then regardless of who is at fault in an accident, you have to make a claim against your own insurance for medical bills and lost wages.
The only exception to the no-fault rule is when there is serious injury involved. Serious injury generally means something more significant than soft tissue injury. In Pennsylvania, that typically requires a serious impairment of a body function and serious disfigurement. If that is the case, then you may proceed with a personal injury case against the at-fault driver.
Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations On Personal Injury Cases
It is important to begin your personal injury case as quickly as you can after it happens, as there is a time limit, called the statute of limitations, on how long you have to file a lawsuit. In Pennsylvania, the clock starts ticking at the time the accident of injury occurs, and it expires two years later. If your suit isn’t filed within the two-year time frame, the court will likely refuse to hear your case at any time in the future.
Finding Help For Your Personal Injury Case
Personal injury cases can be complicated both legally and medically. You will need experts in personal injury law and medicine to ensure that you receive compensation for all that you are entitled to.
Ross Feller Casey can help you with your personal injury case. We have experienced attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases of every kind, and we have medical doctors right on staff to help with the medical side of the case. We have a proven track record of winning personal injury cases, and improving our clients’ quality of life.
If you have been the victim of someone else’s negligence, and have sustained injuries from it, call us today for a free evaluation of your case.
At Ross Feller Casey, all personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, so there is no charge to you until a financial recovery is made.