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How Do I Know I Have a Case? And Other Frequently Asked Personal Injury Lawsuit Questions

Highlights:

  • A personal injury case is a legal dispute arising from harm or injury caused by the negligence of another party.
  • Examples of personal injury cases include slip-and-fall accidents, medical malpractice, product failures, workplace injuries, truck accidents, and car accidents.
  • To have a valid case, one must prove that the other party had a duty of care to protect them and neglected to exercise reasonable care, which then directly resulted in the injury.
  • In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years.
  • Three types of damages can be awarded in such cases: economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Imagine you’re walking down a busy city street when suddenly, you trip and fall because of an unmarked, gaping hole in the pavement. You find yourself with a broken wrist and a sprained ankle, requiring immediate medical attention and leading to several weeks off work. As a result, you have substantial medical expenses and lost wages.

This situation is a classic example of a personal injury case, where the negligence of another party—in this case, potentially the city or the property owner—has led to your injury. In such situations, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and suffering, making a personal injury lawsuit a viable course of action.

However, many people do not know about personal injury cases until they find themselves involved in one or need the help of a personal injury lawyer. You could be wondering if you even have the right circumstances to file a personal injury claim or be unaware that you have legal rights when the negligence of another person or party injures you. Even if you’re seeking the help of personal injury attorneys, the whole process can seem overwhelming and uncertain if you do not know the basics of a personal injury lawsuit.

In this blog post, we aim to clarify and answer some of the most frequently asked questions you have regarding personal injury lawsuits. Additionally, we discuss the basics of personal injury law, the litigation process, and other important information surrounding personal injuries so you are well-equipped with the knowledge needed to aid in the fight with your personal injury lawyers for a fair settlement.

What Is A Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury case, also known as a tort claim, is a legal dispute that arises when someone suffers harm or an injury due to another party’s negligence or intentional actions. This type of lawsuit allows the injured party to seek compensation from the liable party through monetary damages for their losses.

What Is Considered A Personal Injury In PA?

In Pennsylvania, a personal injury is any physical or mental harm caused by an accident, intentional act, or negligence of another individual or entity. These cases aim to obtain financial compensation for the injured person.

Examples of common personal injury cases include:

  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Products not working correctly
  • Workplace injuries
  • Truck accidents
  • Car accidents

How Do I Know If I Have A Personal Injury Case?

In most personal injury cases, your legal team of personal injury lawyers must establish that the other party was negligent and that caused your injury. This negligence is established by proving the following:

  • The other party had a duty of care to protect you
  • They neglected to uphold their duty and exercise reasonable care
  • Their negligence of this duty directly resulted in your injury

How Long Do You Have To Make A Personal Injury Claim In Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. This statute means you have two years from the date the accident occurs to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. While there are exceptions to this time limit, it is essential to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you believe you have a case.

What Are The Three 3 Types Of Damages Awarded In A Personal Injury Lawsuit In PA?

In Pennsylvania, three types of damages can be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit and they are economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic Damages

Economic damages, also referred to as monetary compensation, are to compensate the injured people for measurable and tangible financial losses resulting from the injury. These personal injury settlements are generally straightforward to calculate, corresponding to expenses and income loss. Examples of these types of damages are:

  • Medical Treatment Expenses – This is often the most substantial part of these damages. It includes the cost of immediate medical care following the accident. This type of damages also includes future medical costs connected to the injury, such as ongoing care, medications, medical equipment, physiotherapy, and any necessary surgeries.
  • Lost Wages – If your injury has caused you to miss work, you can be compensated for the wages you would have otherwise earned during that period. This also includes loss of earning capacity if the injury has impaired your ability to earn a living in the future.
  • Property Damage – If any of your property, such as a vehicle during a car accident, was damaged due to the accident, the cost of repair or replacement can be included.

It’s important to note that to claim these damages, you must provide concrete evidence, such as receipts from medical bills paid, any medical records, and statements from your employer, among other documents. Keeping a thorough record of all expenses related to your injury alongside your personal injury attorney is crucial.

Non-Economic Damages

close up of clipboard with paperwork that starts to say, “Personal Injury Statement”

Non-economic damages pertain to the abstract or intangible losses that an individual suffers due to an injury. These damages are not easily measurable in monetary terms as they involve subjective assessment. They include:

  • Pain And Suffering – This includes compensation for the physical pain and discomfort that you’ve suffered as a result of the accident, as well as any ongoing pain associated with the injury.
  • Emotional Distress – In addition to the physical problems caused by the incident, severe accidents can often cause significant emotional suffering and impact the injured victim’s mental state. This may include disorders such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life – If your injury prevents you from enjoying day-to-day pursuits like hobbies, exercise, and other recreational activities, you may be entitled to receive “loss of enjoyment” damages.
  • Loss Of Consortium – Loss of consortium refers to the harmful effect on the relationship between a person injured and their spouse or family members, typically arising from a loss of companionship or an inability to maintain a relationship, for example.

These types of damages are more individual and can greatly vary from case to case. It’s important to note that they are typically harder to quantify, and the amount mainly awarded depends on the jury’s discretion.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are awarded in addition to actual damages when the defendant’s behavior is exceptionally malicious or reckless. The primary goal of these damages is not to compensate the injured victims but to punish the defendant and deter similar inappropriate conduct in the future.

Unlike economic and non-financial damages, punitive damages are not tied to the type of injury the plaintiff suffers. Instead, they are connected to the nature and severity of the defendant’s misconduct. For example, a court may award these damages in a car accident case involving drunk driving or fraudulent business practices.

It’s important to note that in Pennsylvania, the courts typically reserve these kinds of damages for only the most egregious cases. This is why having an experienced personal injury attorney or other kind of legal representation to guide you through the process is vital.

If You Need Lawyers For Injuries In Greensburg, PA, Westmoreland Injury Lawyers Is Here To Help

If you need an injury lawyer for your car accident, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, or other personal injury lawsuit in Greensburg, PA, rely on the dedicated representation from our team at Westmoreland Injury Lawyers. Our law firm is backed by experienced injury lawyers who can work to get you the maximum compensation for your significant injury. If you’re wondering if you have a case and would like to chat with an injury lawyer, contact us for a free consultation today!

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