Personal Injury Law in Pennsylvania

Were you hurt due to another’s negligence in Pennsylvania? If so, it may have far-reaching consequences such as a loss of wages or extensive medical treatment. Personal injury law allows an injured person to get damages if the responsible person acted recklessly. A personal injury attorney in Pennsylvania can help navigate the lawsuit to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law in Pennsylvania relates to the legal process of getting compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. These cases involve one party, the plaintiff, trying to seek financial compensation for expenses incurred and money lost as a result of the defendant’s reckless behavior. These cases involve both parties’ insurance companies and may even settle before proceeding to litigation.

Examples of Personal Injury Claims in Pennsylvania

Some personal injury claims are more common than others. However, almost any incident that ends with a physical or mental injury could qualify, depending on the circumstances.

A few of the most common personal injury claims are:

  • Car Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Dog Bites
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Burn Injuries

Most Common Injuries in Pennsylvania 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health notes that falls consistently rank as the most common cause of injury in the state. In 2014, there were 64,014 hospitalizations from falls. Typically older individuals represent the highest rate of injury. Traffic incidents hospitalized 9,240 individuals in the same year, nearly a 25 percent decrease since 2010. Of the 15,714 traumatic brain injuries recorded in 2014, such as skull fractures and concussions, about three-fourths came as the result of traffic incidents. There were 112,936 hospitalizations recorded in 2014 for all unintentional injuries, a 12% decrease since 2010.

Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

Once you determine that you wish to proceed forward with a personal injury action in Pennsylvania

A lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed with the court and served on the defendant. The complaint alleges your assertion as the plaintiff that the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in damage to your body or mental state. As the process proceeds forward, you may have to go through depositions, independent medical evaluations and document production. This discovery process is lengthy and ends in either settlement or a court appearance.

Cases alleging severe damages are handled by a Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. A personal injury case against a state entity will be handled by a Commonwealth Court, a specialized court that is unique to Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Personal Injury Settlement

With most personal injury cases, insurance companies and injured parties prefer settlement negotiations rather than going to court for a trial. You may wonder how much you should seek in your settlement and factors that impact the final amount.

The severity of injury and the resulting cost of immediate medical treatment will play a significant role in determining settlement size. In 2019 alone, hospital charges in the state totaled $5.7 billion for fall injury treatment and nearly $775 million for motor vehicle crashes. This equates to a charge of $49,455 and $62,646 per patient on average respectively, according to Pennsylvania hospital discharge figures. This data serves as a rough guide and not a settlement guarantee. A legal representative will be able to take treatment costs and additional burdens stemming from your injuries to fashion an amount that accurately reflects the extent of your losses.

If the other party has insurance, the insurance company likely wants to settle out of court to avoid leaving the final settlement decision to a jury. Settlements benefit injured parties as much as they do insurance companies. This is because accepting a settlement means you receive compensation sooner rather than later. Also, by going to court in PA, that means you risk not receiving any compensation at all.

Damage Awards in Pennsylvania

If your Pennsylvania personal injury lawsuit goes before a judge or jury, your legal team will be ready with a request for damages. In personal injury cases, there are three types of damage awards a court may order the defendant to pay to compensate you for the damage he or she inflicted.

Special compensatory damages reimburse you for things such as lost income, medical bills and insurance deductibles. You submit receipts proving these losses.

General compensatory damages are subjective. If you receive special compensatory damages, you may also collect general damages. If your injury was particularly painful, you might request that the judge order the defendant compensate you for the pain and anguish.

Punitive damages are the most rare and are up to the court. The judge or jury may determine that the defendant’s negligence was particularly heinous and the resulting injury to you was equally horrific. 

There are some limits concerning the amount of damages you may recover in Pennsylvania depending on the defendant in your case. Damage amounts in cases involving state government entities such as the Commonwealth are capped at $250,000. There is a $500,000 limit in cases concerning local agencies, such as a public school district. In medical malpractice cases, punitive damages are limited to twice the compensatory damages amount.

Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law?

The injured party may have a set amount of time to file suit for a personal injury case. State law establishes statutes of limitation. Commonly, the plaintiff’s injury or discovery of the injury begins the statute of limitations. However, the latter factor is trickier, as the plaintiff will have to prove when the injury was first realized.

In Pennsylvania, individuals have only two years to file a personal injury claim. This time limit begins at age 18 for individuals who were minors when suffering the injury.

We recommend you speak with a personal injury lawyer for this matter. Don’t wait too long and miss out on receiving the compensation you deserve for your injury. 

Work With an Experienced Pennsylvania Lawyer

Pursue a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania against the responsible person if you are dealing with an injury caused by someone else. One of our experienced lawyers can help you navigate your personal injury claim.  We can even help you connect with an attorney across Pennsylvania state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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