If you’ve ever been injured as a result of someone else’s conduct, you know how stressful it can be. Medical expenses pile up, which become more and more difficult to pay the longer you’re out of work. Fortunately, there is often legal recourse.
By understanding more about personal injury law and what you should do after an accident, you can prepare yourself to get the help you need and deserve. Keep reading for answers to some of the most commonly asked personal injury questions.
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What Kinds of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?
All personal injury lawyers are different and sometimes take on various types of cases, but there’s significant overlap in what kinds of cases and injuries they handle.
The most common types of personal injury cases a lawyer handles include:
Slip and Fall Accidents
If someone slips and falls and is injured, they may be able to file a claim against the responsible party – depending on the circumstances. Not every slip and fall leads to a personal injury claim.
To be able to collect compensation, you typically must show that the property owner or person responsible for the property knew or should have known about the danger, and the danger caused your injuries.
Car accident cases are among the most common types of personal injury claims in the United States. Collisions can lead to severe injuries and even death in many circumstances. To recover compensation after a car crash, you must show that the party responsible for the accident was negligent. This is usually another driver involved in the accident.
The most common way to show negligence is by providing evidence that the other party was speeding, driving while distracted (e.g., texting, eating, talking on the phone, or changing the radio), driving under the influence, or engaged in some other type of dangerous or negligent behavior.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional engages in behavior that is below the standard of expected care. Showing that another medical professional of the same skill and in their situation would have behaved differently according to accepted practices helps to prove negligence and allows you or your loved one to recover compensation for medical malpractice.
The most common types of medical malpractice include incorrect or delayed diagnosis, prescribing the wrong medication, administering the wrong dosage of medication, and mistakes during anesthesia or surgery.
Wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of another person’s negligence or intentional act. Wrongful death can happen in a variety of situations, including car accidents, medical malpractice, slips and falls, workplace accidents, and more.
In Pennsylvania, only the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased person can file a claim for wrongful death and recover damages.
What Kinds of Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Personal Injury Claim?
The compensation and how much you can recover will depend on the specific type of claim, but the most common types of recoverable compensation include the following:
Economic damages include financial losses that are directly attributable to the accident. Examples include medical expenses, like hospital visits, ambulance fees, medication costs, physical therapy, surgery, and anything else needed to treat the injured party.
Other economic damages commonly include lost wages and property damage.
Non-economic damages are losses that are more difficult to quantify and don’t have a monetary value attached to them. Examples include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In some cases, punitive damages may be available as well. The victim will benefit from these types of damages, but they are intended to punish the defendant and deter them and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
What Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
All claims are unique and will be worth different amounts, but there are common factors that affect personal injury claims across the board. The most influential factors include the severity of your injuries and the extent of your losses.
The more severe your injuries and the higher your medical costs, the more likely you are to obtain a higher settlement or verdict.
Additionally, the egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct and their ability to pay can significantly impact whether punitive damages are awarded and in what amount.
How Do I Prove Negligence?
Most personal injury cases must be proven by showing that the responsible party was negligent.
To do this, you must prove the following four elements:
- Duty of care. You must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care to behave in a certain way that would prevent harm from occurring. For example, all drivers on the road have a duty of care to drive cautiously and take actions to prevent causing injuries to others on the road.
- Breach of duty. Next, you must show that this duty was breached. An example would be a driver who is speeding, talking on the phone, or under the influence. All these actions would be clear breaches of duty.
- Causation. You will need to prove that the driver’s negligence caused your injuries. It’s not enough to simply show that the driver was negligent; if they were negligent but their negligence had nothing to do with how the accident occurred, you won’t be successful in a personal injury claim.
- Damages. Finally, you must show that you suffered actual damages and losses related to the accident. This most often includes medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
You can demonstrate each element of negligence by gathering evidence, such as medical records, photos, surveillance videos, eyewitness testimony, and more.
Do You Have Other Questions? Contact Our Harrisburg Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
Personal injury claims can be confusing, but with the right attorney by your side, you can recover the compensation you need to move forward with your life. If you need help or have questions, don’t hesitate to contact our Harrisburg personal injury attorneys at (717) 231-1640 for a free consultation.