What is Tort Law?

Tort law is the part of civil law that deals with acts or omissions that violate general social duties and cause harm—such an act or omission is called a “tort,” from words in French and Latin that mean a “wrong” or something “twisted” and unjust. In other words, if someone has wronged you, tort law might be the way to right that wrong.

But that’s a heavy definition, so let’s break it down a little bit.

You probably know you’ve been wronged because you’ve suffered some kind of harm. We usually think of physical injuries, but harm could also mean damage to or loss of property.

When someone wrongs you by not honoring an agreement you have with them, that would generally be a question for contract law, not tort law. Instead, tort law deals with actions or omissions that are wrong because society has generally decided we all have certain duties of how to treat each other even if we haven’t specifically agreed to those rules in a contract. For example, we all have duties not to punch people, steal things, or drive dangerously and cause car accidents. And notice that we usually say “acts or omissions,” because sometimes people do things they should not do, and sometimes they fail to do things they should do.

So tort law differs from contract law on the one hand, but it also differs from criminal law. If someone punches you, steals your property, or drives recklessly, they might be committing both a tort and a crime. But criminal law is about the government holding people accountable for committing wrongs against the public order, which harms society in general. The purpose of tort law is to right wrongs between private parties, mainly by making the wrongdoer compensate the victim of the tort for the injuries and other harm they suffered. The fact that it’s about disputes between private parties (individuals, but also businesses or organizations, or even the government in certain situations, such as poor road design) is what makes it part of “civil law.”

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Things You Should Know About a Drug Recall

Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer – CHAPTER 6

Personal injury lawyers dedicate a great deal of their time to counseling clients through the often painful aftermath of medical malpractice experiences. But what about situations in which medical personnel did not act negligently, yet a healthcare matter still caused suffering when medicine or a medical device was discovered to be defective?

Often, patients don’t realize that their recalled medication—and even over-the-counter remedies—may be to blame for seemingly unrelated injuries and illnesses. This is why it’s imperative for anyone who has been exposed to a defective drug or device that is currently—or has ever been—under recall to seek experienced legal help about the issue.

Today’s blog post, which is the final chapter in our recent series guiding you through when and how to hire a personal injury lawyer, provides a closer look at what consumers need to know about drug recalls, which are frighteningly common today. Compassionate personal injury lawyers are on your side to hold Big Pharma accountable, and we want our friends and neighbors to know how we can help you protect yourself and your loved ones.

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Benefits for People with Disabilities: How Social Security Can Help

Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer – CHAPTER 5

Whether or not you’ve been hurt on the job and have received benefits through Workers’ Compensation—which we covered in our last chapter of Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer—you may not be able to work because of a physical or mental health condition.

Injuries and illnesses prevent significant numbers of Americans every day from returning to jobs they previously performed. And many more have never been able to work due to a disability. Yet these individuals still need to make money to pay for living expenses and bills.

Does this sound like you or someone you care about? The good news is that Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs exist to help individuals receive necessary income even if regular employment is no longer possible or has been totally impossible for health reasons.

Of course, because government entities control these programs, there is a lot of red tape and hoops that claimants must jump through in order to receive benefits. And, ongoing payments can be stopped for a variety of reasons, including administrative errors.

This chapter of our guide focuses specifically on SSD and SSI programs, and how personal injury attorneys can help you resolve problems and fight for the benefits you deserve. Similarly, private disability insurance claims can also be frustratingly complex—we’re not digging into those in today’s post, but our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys here at Westmoreland Injury Lawyers can also help you navigate the world of non-Social Security long term disability insurance.

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Workers’ Compensation: How it Works

Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer – CHAPTER 4

Being hurt at work is many things: emotionally draining, physically painful, and full of confusing forms and paperwork as you seek workers’ compensation (WC) to cover your medical treatment and other costs—and that’s if things are going well. Naturally, as an injured employee, you have a lot of questions about how the WC process works in Pennsylvania, from getting started with a new claim to what types of injuries even qualify to how you can overcome a denial of benefits.

Who has the answers you need at every step? In short, we do—that is, experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys like us here at Westmoreland Injury Lawyers.

Today’s post, which is part of our ongoing series to guide you along the way of searching for—and finding—the best personal injury lawyers, highlights the main things you can expect as you work through the WC process. We’ll link together all of our previous blog posts about workers’ comp topics, as well, to give you a comprehensive overview.

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Things You Must Know About Medical Malpractice

Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer – CHAPTER 3

Doctors take an oath to “do no harm.” Unfortunately, many things can go awry in medical settings that lead to patients experiencing just that—serious harm—after a healthcare provider makes an avoidable mistake or acts negligently.

Medical malpractice is the official term used to describe situations in which patients suffer significant injuries or even untimely death due to professional negligence and improper treatment from medical staff. We trust these individuals to help, not hurt, but malpractice happens more often than many people realize. This is why personal injury lawyers are so needed—especially as healthcare systems continue to consolidate and form powerful entities who will do whatever it takes to protect themselves.

Today’s post in our ongoing series offers valuable information that patients need to know about medical injuries and their rights. Hopefully, you and your loved ones are never victims of medical malpractice, but knowing what qualifies—and how to get help—can make a real difference in whether justice is served under difficult and often painful circumstances.

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What to Know About Auto Injury Settlements

Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer – CHAPTER 2

Car accidents, even when they seem minor, can cause all sorts of pain and suffering for victims. And insurance companies are infamous for treating injuries as less serious than they are. How can you be sure that the steps you’re taking to resolve your accident—beginning just moments after it has occurred—are the right ones that will help you get the compensation you need and deserve?

As part of our ongoing post series, your complete guide to hiring a personal injury attorney is right here on our blog to make your search for the best personal injury lawyers easy and worry-free. Today we’re taking a closer look at auto injury settlements and how you can prevent an auto accident from ruining your life.

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Our Top Tips for Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer – CHAPTER 1

Finding an experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer who can fight for your rights when you’ve been hurt on the job, in an auto accident, or as the result of a medical mistake may seem like an intimidating or overwhelming task. However, with a little preparation and knowing the right questions to ask during an initial consultation, it doesn’t have to be.

As part of our ongoing post series, your complete guide to hiring a personal injury attorney is right here on our blog to make your search for the best personal injury lawyers easy and worry-free. Today we’re bringing you our top tips and questions to ask before and during a consultation with a prospective legal partner so you can get the most out of this conversation and ultimately hire the lawyer that’s right for you and your unique case. Here are your “must-dos.” Continue reading “Our Top Tips for Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer”

Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

When you are hurt in an auto accident, on the job, or as the result of a medical mistake, it’s easy to feel confused or overwhelmed in dealing with the aftermath. You may have expensive healthcare or even regular household bills that you have no idea how you can pay, especially if you are off work and have no paycheck coming in. You may have been unfairly treated by insurance companies, doctors, your employer, or others who should be trustworthy but are only looking out for their own best interests.

This is when you need someone who’s looking out for you – an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you put a nightmarish situation behind you and get you the compensation – and justice –you deserve. We can help you replace lost wages, deal with creditors, and stop bill collectors in addition to fighting back against those who have mistreated you.

Today we’re beginning a new post series here on the blog to show you everything you need to know about when you should hire a personal injury lawyer, including how to find the most experienced and compassionate legal representation right in your local community. We invite you to stop back frequently for updates and to learn more about the services that the best personal injury law firms offer. Continue reading “Your Complete Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer”

How to File for Workers’ Compensation in PA

If you’ve recently been injured on the job, you probably have a lot of questions. And your main concern is likely how to file a claim so you can receive benefits. As we’ve talked about often here on the blog, Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act assures that nearly all workers are covered. Even if your employer does not have workers’ compensation (WC) insurance, you may still qualify for benefits when you’ve been hurt at work.

So, what are the steps involved in filing a WC claim? They’re really not very complicated, but we realize that if you’ve never had a work injury before, you probably don’t know what to do first. Plus, there are several things to remember about deadlines and receiving care, too. Read on for more. Continue reading “How to File for Workers’ Compensation in PA”

Valsartan Drug Recall: What You Need to Know Now

Do you or a loved one take medication for high blood pressure or a heart condition that contains valsartan? Or have you taken valsartan-containing medicine in the past? You could be at risk for certain cancers due to “unexpected impurities” discovered in some of these drugs.

Now the subject of an expanding recall and FDA investigation, valsartan is a generic ingredient contained in medications produced by a long list of drug manufacturers. And, while not all valsartan is being recalled, that originating from Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceuticals (Huahai) in China, has been found to be contaminated by probable carcinogens.

This means that long-term use of medications made with the tainted valsartan may cause cancer, particularly of the liver or colorectal systems, according to medical professionals and researchers. Continue reading “Valsartan Drug Recall: What You Need to Know Now”