When it comes to personal injury cases, there are many elements to consider. If you have questions surrounding a personal injury case, the attorneys of Fellerman & Ciarimboli have you covered. Check out our personal injury FAQs below.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY FOR MY PERSONAL INJURY CASE?
For certain personal injury claims—such as those for severe injuries, malpractice, or toxic exposure—you’ll want to consult a lawyer immediately. The complex legal rules involved in your particular claim or severity of your injuries might cause your compensation to vary greatly from the norm. The skills of an experienced personal lawyer, or at least the threat to an insurance company that such a lawyer presents, are worth the money you pay that lawyer to represent you.
DO I HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, you most likely have a personal injury claim.
SHOULD I CALL AN ATTORNEY IMMEDIATELY IF I WAS INJURED DUE TO SOMEONE’S NEGLIGENCE?
There are certain types of claims that should leave very little doubt in your mind if you need an attorney. The simple fact of the matter is that when facing an individual, corporations, insurance companies, or medical facilities that have deep pockets, you will need all the help you can get. Failure to get good, tough, experienced, legal representation could cost you thousands of dollars. Cases that require immediate action include:
- Long-Term or Permanently Disabling Injuries: Some accidents result in injuries that significantly affect your physical capabilities or appearance for a long time over a year—or even permanently. Figuring out how much such a serious injury is worth can be a difficult business. You’ll probably require some assistance from an experienced lawyer to get the most out of your claim.
- Severe Injuries: The amount of your accident compensation is mostly determined by how severe your injuries were. The severity of your injuries is assessed by measuring the number of your medical bills, your injuries, and the amount of time it takes for you to recover from your injuries. As the amount of your potential compensation increases, the range within which that compensation may fall becomes wider. In such cases, it may be worth the expense to have a lawyer handle your claim and make sure you receive compensation at the highest end of the range.
- Medical Malpractice: If you have suffered an injury or illness due to careless, unprofessional, or incompetent treatment at the hands of a doctor, nurse, hospital, clinic, laboratory, or other medical providers, an experienced attorney can help you understand the complex laws involved in medical malpractice cases.
- Toxic Exposure: Cases involving contaminants in the air, soil, water, products, or food are difficult to prove and require complex scientific data to back them up. You need expert help to get the resources you need to prove culpability.
- When an Insurance Company Refuses to Pay: You’ll want to hire an attorney if you’re dealing with an insurance company that simply refuses to make a fair settlement because the insurance company will be working with a large team of legal experts whose sole goal is to pay you as little as possible.
DO I HAVE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASE?
Generally speaking, to win a medical malpractice case you must have an expert medical provider’s testimony that no reasonable health care provider would have done what yours did.
Reasonableness is generally determined by looking at what is reasonable care in view of the:
- Available knowledge
- Geographic location where the care occurred
- State of medical practices at the time of the illness or injury
You must also prove through expert testimony that the negligence of your health care provider was a cause of injury or death. A doctor can be negligent but not liable if the injury or death was caused by some other factor. You must be capable of documenting that the negligence caused your injury or worsened your condition. In a case involving misdiagnosis of cancer that caused a patient’s death, for example, the healthcare provider may argue that the illness was terminal and that nothing could have been done anyway.
Medical malpractice claims tend to be a fight to the death and are settled less frequently than other cases, which means these cases require more time and expense. In order for an attorney to take on a case, the damages must be substantial. It is not uncommon for several doctors to testify in a medical malpractice case, doctors that require upwards of $1,500 per hour to review records and answer the attorney’s questions.
WHAT CAN A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY HELP ME ACHIEVE?
One of the more important functions of a medical malpractice attorney is to help you evaluate your case right from the beginning. The attorney will review the facts of your case, apply the law, and give you an idea of the strength of your case and your chances of success, based on his or her experience. While you may feel you have been injured and want to sue as a matter of “principle”, it does not mean that you have a valid legal claim. The lawyer’s job is to help you determine if the matter is worth your time, the legal costs, and the court fees.
If you establish liability, you are entitled to damages. These damages can include:
- Compensation for medical bills;
- Compensation for lost wages;
- Compensation for pain and suffering;
- Compensation for losses you’ve already suffered as well as future medical bills and lost wages.
Damages vary depending on each person’s situation. The amount of damages you receive depends on how the injury affects your earning potential and quality of life. This is to say that a concert pianist or avid bowler may receive more compensation for a missing finger than a lawyer and confirmed couch potato whose life won’t be disrupted much.
DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS?
Many homeowners insurance policies do have specific language on personal liability and injury coverage. In general, these policies will protect you from financial liability if any injuries or property damage occurs. If you are unsure what your homeowners insurance policy covers, you may want to review it with an attorney, especially if you are facing litigation.
WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
There are four elements of negligence to a personal injury claim. They are:
- Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care: It was someone’s legal responsibility to exercise care, such as drivers on a highway.
- Failure to Exercise Reasonable Care: Someone failed to exercise reasonable care, even if there was no intent to cause harm or injury. An example is not posting a wet floor sign.
- Causation: This shows that because reasonable care was not exercised, an injury resulted.
- Suffered Actual Damages: Actual damages include medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and disability.
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system.