Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law
When you are injured in an accident, the impact on your life often goes beyond the initial shock. The effects you feel from an injury often extend beyond physical or property damage, and causing you a great deal of stress and financial suffering as well. Understanding how you may pursue financial recovery under Pennsylvania law can help lead you to a path to “make you whole” again.
Personal injury claims depend on a number of factors such as the extent of your injuries and damages, where and how the injury occurred, and who caused the injury. Every state has its own personal injury laws. If you are injured in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Allentown, finding an experienced local attorney can help you navigate the complexities unique to Pennsylvania injury law.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations
Every state has their own statutes of limitation that sets forth the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after you are injured. After this time period is over, you lose the ability to file your claim and recover for your losses.
For most personal injury claims, Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations typically gives two years to file your lawsuit. However, you may wish to consult with an attorney to see if you are eligible for any exceptions to this statute.
Liability for Injuries in Pennsylvania
Establishing fault, or proving liability, plays a critical role in personal injury claims. Pennsylvania injury law recognizes a number of injury claims, and each type of claim has its own elements to determine fault so you can be compensated for your losses.
Negligence Claims in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law requires people and businesses to follow a duty of care and to conduct themselves in a reasonable manner. You may have a negligence claim if someone breaches their duty by acting unreasonably, causes your injuries, and as a result you suffer injury. Negligence claims are often filed as a result of a car accident or injuries sustained while on the property of another person or business.
Pennsylvania uses a modified comparative negligence approach, which factors in any fault your own actions may have contributed to your injuries. Under this approach, you can still bring a claim as long as you are 50% or less at fault and you can recover damages in proportion to your percentage of fault. On the other hand, if you are over this 50% threshold then recovering any damages is prohibited.
Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania injury law instills a higher duty of reasonable care for healthcare providers. Under the law, a Medical malpractice claim would allow you to hold a medical professional responsible for damages you suffered from their negligence. These cases can be extremely complex and involve millions of dollars worth of damages, so retaining an experienced medical malpractice attorney is crucial.
Strict Liability in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania allows you to bring certain claims under a theory of strict liability, meaning that you can hold a person liable for damages without having to prove fault or negligence.
For injuries caused by a defective product or warning label, Pennsylvania law allows you to bring a products liability claim against any company in the chain of manufacturing to recover damages.
Strict liability can also be used for injuries from dog bites, as Pennsylvania law uses the “one bite” rule. This means regardless of an animal’s behavior in the past, the owner can be held responsible for the damages from your injuries.
Damages for Pennsylvania Injury Claims
There are various types of damages you can recover depending on the type of claim you have and who the claim is against. Attorneys are ethically prohibited from promising a specific dollar recovery amount, but they can help you determine the damages you are eligible for and work to ensure you are fairly compensated.
- Economic damages cover losses such as medical bills, property property, lost wages, or other expenses and the law does not impose any cap on these damages.
- Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of companionship in wrongful death claims with no damage cap as well.
- Punitive damages can be sought to punish the person who injured you, but these damages may be limited based on the type of claim you have.
When you are bringing a claim against your local government, damages are capped at $500,000. For claims against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you may seek up to $250,000 for punitive damages.
Hiring a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney
You may opt for trying to handle your claim on your own in small claims court for less serious damages under $8,000 or for injuries from an auto accident by dealing directly with the insurance companies.
However, if you are dissatisfied with a settlement offer or the insurance companies disagree on who was at fault for the accident, you might wish to move forward with litigation and end up needing to hire an attorney after all.
Claims involving serious injuries and significant financial losses make hiring a knowledgeable injury attorney even more important. These cases can be complex to litigate as they often involve extensive research, finding expert witnesses, and multiple court appearances. Having an experienced advocate on your side can help you build a strong case and improve your chances of a strong financial result.