Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Pennsylvania
Many lawsuits filed in the U.S. arise from and seek compensation for a physical, mental, and/or emotional injury to the claimant. Before one pursues a personal injury claim, it is important for a claimant to understand what a personal injury claim is about.
Not All Injuries Mean A Legal Claim
Just because someone suffered an injury, it does not mean that he or she has a legal claim. An actionable personal injury claim requires a claimant to prove the existence of legal grounds to hold a defendant responsible for the claimant’s injuries. One of the most common theories underpinning personal injury claims is negligence. Negligence requires proving that a defendant owed a duty of care to the claimant, breached that duty, and that the breach caused an injury that damaged the claimant.
There are other legal theories that can support a personal injury claim, including strict liability, intentional torts (like assault and battery), or products liability (for defective products). Under any theory, to be entitled to recover damages, a claimant bears the burden to prove that it is more likely than not that each element of the theory exists in the case.
The Different Kinds of Personal Injury Claims
When people talk about a “personal injury” claim, their mind often conjures up thoughts of a car accident. However, there are numerous other kinds of personal injury claims, such as:
- Premises liability
- Dog bites and pet attacks
- Medical malpractice
- Intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress
- Toxic substance or disease exposure
- Products liability
The Role of Insurance Companies in Personal Injury Claims
As a practical matter, many defendants in personal injury cases do not have the financial resources to pay the damages claimed by a personal injury claimant. Therefore, personal injury claims usually involve insurance companies, particularly in cases involving motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and premises liability accidents. However, because insurance companies are in business to make a profit, they will always look to limit the amount of money they pay out to a personal injury claimant.
Because the courts can take years to resolve a personal injury claim, most claims ultimately settle out of court. In a settlement, the claimant negotiates a financial payment with the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company. Sometimes a settlement can be facilitated through a process known as mediation, where a neutral third party helps the parties come to an agreement. If the parties cannot reach a settlement agreement, the claim will ultimately be resolved in mediation or at trial.
Personal Injury Claimants May Recover Compensation Even When Partially at Fault
Most states use the comparative negligence system, which allows a personal injury claimant to file a claim even if he or she was partially responsible for his or her own injury. However, the claimant’s financial recovery will be reduced by his or her share of fault. So if a claimant is found to be 20 percent responsible for his or her injury and receives a recovery of $100,000, that recovery will be reduced by $20,000 to represent his or her share of fault.
The Importance of Legal Representation
It is important for a personal injury claimant to have an attorney who is experienced in pursuing personal injury claims. Having an attorney is also important because a claimant has a limited period of time in which to file a lawsuit to pursue a personal injury claim. This period of time is known as the statute of limitations. When it expires, the claim will be forever barred from being pursued in court.
Contact a Colmar Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Personal Injury Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. represent clients injured in Newtown, Doylestown, Lansdale, Norristown, and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Call (215) 822-7575 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2605 N. Broad St., Colmar, PA 18915, as well as an office in Newtown, PA.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.