Philadelphia Personal Injury FAQ
If you have experienced a personal injury in Philadelphia, PA, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can help you recover all of your damages after your accident.
The legal team at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC has over 80 years of combined experience helping accident victims recover compensation for their injuries. We’ve recovered millions of dollars on behalf of injured individuals and their families. Our successes have earned us recognition as Super Lawyers and Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
If you are seeking compensation for your injuries, contact our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys for award-winning legal representation. We offer free consultations to potential clients and utilize contingency-fee arrangements for our services.
Learn more about personal injury law with this FAQ by our experienced personal injury lawyers at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law allows a person to file a civil lawsuit in court to recover damages and losses after another party causes them harm.
There are a number of situations where personal injury law may apply:
- Accidental, negligent, or careless behavior
- Intentional acts of harm
- A defective product that causes injury to the user
- A defamatory statement causing harm
In the state of Pennsylvania, you must prove there was a wrongdoer whose negligence or carelessness caused you injury.
Most personal injury cases are based on negligence, which requires proof that:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care
- The party breached this duty
- Their breach caused your accident
- You suffered damages
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have a personal injury case and under what cause of action. Your lawyer will investigate your accident and gather evidence of the other party’s fault.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Suit?
Every personal injury case is different; it can be difficult to predict what compensation you will recover. Your lawyer might tell you the typical payout in cases similar to yours, but no lawyer should make any promises to you regarding the amount of compensation you will receive.
If you suffer an injury, your case will likely contain two possible awards: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover expenses that are directly associated with your injury, such as:
- medical bills,
- medical equipment,
- loss of income,
- mental or physical impairment, and
- replacement of damaged property.
These damages compensate for all your financial losses after an accident, including future medical expenses and future lost income.
Non-economic damages are more personal in nature and more difficult to calculate. They make up for your emotional and psychological losses after an accident. These damages include:
- emotional distress,
- loss of consortium,
- pain and suffering, and
- loss of enjoyment of life.
Rare cases qualify for “punitive damages,” which punish the defendant for egregious conduct.
In most situations, your case can be settled without having to go to court. In situations where court becomes a necessity, the jury will decide whether your claim is deserving of compensation.
The judge can also override the jury’s decision and increase or reduce the amount.
Can I Recover Compensation If I Was Partly at Fault for My Injury?
A variety of factors can affect the amount to which you are entitled, including the question of whether you contributed to the injury.
Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule to address personal injury cases that involve multiple at-fault parties. You can still recover compensation if you are partly at fault for your accident. However, your award will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault.
Moreover, if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, you cannot recover any damages. In other words, your fault must be less than the defendant’s fault.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You can file a claim or lawsuit without a personal injury attorney, but it is rarely a good move. When you represent yourself, you are not given special treatment.
Insurance companies may take you less seriously if you do not have legal representation during your personal injury claim. They may undervalue your claim, minimize the extent of your injuries, and even blame you for your accident — all in an attempt to settle your claim for less than you deserve.
A Philadelphia personal injury attorney will conduct their own investigation into your accident to gather evidence and identify liable parties. Your attorney will handle all negotiations and communications with the insurer and refuse to settle for less than the value of your case.
Here are some other valuable services a personal injury attorney will provide:
- Work with experts to strengthen your claim
- Calculate the full value of your damages
- Keep track of filing deadlines for your injury lawsuit
- Handle the cumbersome administrative tasks that come with an injury claim
- Take your case to court if the insurance company will not offer a fair settlement
When you first contact a personal injury lawyer, they will likely provide you with a free initial consultation. Your lawyer will want to know all the details of your case to determine how best to proceed. During this initial consultation, you should bring with you any relevant documents and information pertaining to your case, such as paperwork, medical reports, insurance information, etc.
Your lawyer will walk you through whether or not you have a case and design the best plan of action going forward. At Zovodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC, we operate on a contingency fee, so you pay nothing unless we secure a win for you.
How Long Do I Have To File a Claim?
Personal injury cases in Philadelphia are subject to certain limitations, including the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. This limit is referred to as “the statute of limitations.” In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years — you have two years from the date of your injury to file a lawsuit.
While there can be exceptions to this statute of limitations, it is always in your best interests to hire an attorney as soon as possible. The longer you wait to file your claim, the less time you have to build a strong case. It takes time to gather and review hospital records and police reports, speak to witnesses, and begin negotiations with the insurance company.
Contact our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys today to get started on your claim.
What if I Was Injured in a Car Accident?
Each driver in Pennsylvania is required to have the following amounts of liability coverage:
- $15,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident
- $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person in an accident
- $5,000 for damage to property of another person
- $5,000 first-party medical expenses per accident
If you were injured in a car accident, you will first make a claim against your own insurance coverage to recover compensation for medical expenses and other out-of-pocket expenses — regardless of who was at fault. If your losses exceed these benefits, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer to recover your damages.
You may also be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit for serious injuries. A lawsuit might result in greater damages than an insurance claim, including non-economic damages
What if I Was Injured While At Work?
Workplace injuries are among the most common sources of preventable injury in the US. They commonly include slip and fall accidents. If you experienced a personal injury at your workplace, there are several steps you should take.
First, you should notify your employer of your injury and file a written report of your accident or injury. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you are unable to return to work and are not being paid in the interim. However, you must report your injury to your employer within 21 days or risk forfeiting your right to benefits.
For most employers in Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory, provided that employees are not covered under other workers’ compensation acts, such as railroad workers and federal employees. If you were injured at work, you should talk to your lawyer to discuss whether you qualify for workers’ compensation.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is any situation in which a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional fails to provide the proper standard of care and injures a patient. Medical malpractice cases may be brought against a hospital, clinic, or any other medical institution.
Medical malpractice claims typically require expert medical testimony to prove that a medical provider violated the relevant standard of care during your medical treatment.
What if I Was Injured Due To a Defective Product?
When it comes to a liability lawsuit concerning a defective product, there are several different factors to consider in Pennsylvania:
- Strict Liability
- Breach of Warranty
Negligence is when a party fails to act reasonably in designing, manufacturing, or marketing their product to consumers. Breaches of warranty refer to situations where a party makes promises about the quality of their product that later turn out to be untrue. Misrepresentation refers to inaccurate statements or claims about the safety or reliability of a product.
Finally, strict liability refers to a manufacturer’s responsibility to safely design, manufacture, and market a product. Suppose a product has a defect in its design, manufacture, or marketing that makes it unreasonably dangerous for use. In these cases, an injured consumer can hold the manufacturer or distributor strictly liable for damages caused by the product.
If a defective or dangerous product injured you, your lawyer will identify the liable parties and hold them responsible under the relevant causes of action.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In the state of Pennsylvania, a wrongful death is defined as any death that occurs due to wrongful actions or negligence. Certain surviving family members can recover damages through a wrongful death claim if another party intentionally or negligently kills their loved one. Eligible claimants typically include spouses, children, or parents of the decedent.
If the decedent has no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the decedent’s personal representative may file a claim for wrongful death on behalf of the estate.
Damages in a wrongful death claim include:
- reasonable hospital, nursing, medical, funeral expenses
- expenses of administration necessitated the death
- Lost wages of the decedent
- Loss of household services/companionship
If you are filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one, you are likely undergoing extreme emotional or physical duress. An experienced attorney will be able to gather evidence and build a case to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC
If you have questions about your personal injury case, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.
Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC will handle your case with compassion and skill. We’ve been recognized among Pennsylvania’s 10 Best Law Firms for Client Satisfaction. We will use our decades of experience and skills to help you recover the money you deserve after your accident in Philadelphia.