Helping the People of Pittsburgh Who Have Been a Victim of a Motor Vehicle Collision
The aftermath of a personal injury can disrupt your entire life. Motor vehicle collisions, slip-and-fall accidents, defective products, animal attacks, and other incidents can cause traumatic injuries and significant financial hardship. Medical bills and rehabilitation expenses pile up quickly – particularly if you cannot work. If you’ve been harmed by the actions or negligence of someone else, you may be able to recover compensation.
Recovering Compensation for a Personal Injury
Every member of society has a duty to use reasonable care to protect the safety of others. “Reasonable care” means the actions a reasonably prudent person, under the same circumstances, would take or avoid to prevent an unreasonable risk or likelihood of harm. While people do not generally have to help each other, they must take reasonable steps to ensure they do not hurt each other.
Other relationships can create additional, higher duties of care under the law.
- Employers must provide a safe workplace for their employees.
- Animal owners have legal responsibilities to protect others from being injured by their pets.
- Businesses must take steps to protect the safety of their patrons and others who may legally enter their property.
- Drivers must comply with the rules of the road and use reasonable care to operate their vehicles safely.
If you suffer injuries because someone else failed to meet their legal responsibilities, you may be able to pursue legal action.
What to Expect in a Personal Injury Claim
If you have been injured, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Many people wait until they have finished medical treatment to discuss their case with a lawyer, but delays can significantly hurt your recovery.
An attorney will listen to you and review the facts of your case. If you may have a legal claim, your legal team will investigate the circumstances, facts, and legal bases that support your case. Investigating and compiling this information can take weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the situation and your current condition.
If your attorney determines another person may be legally responsible for your damages, they will prepare a demand letter to the other party and their insurance company, with documents supporting your claim. The demand letter requests an amount of money you believe is appropriate compensation for your losses to settle your legal claim.
A demand letter can open the door to settlement negotiations. If that is unsuccessful, your legal team may recommend filing a lawsuit. Your lawyer will prepare a “complaint,” which sets out the legal basis of your claim and the relief or compensation you (the “plaintiff”) are requesting. Once the parties you are suing (the “defendants”) respond to your complaint by filing an “answer,” everyone begins official, on-the-record investigations. This process, called “discovery,” involves written questions and answers between the parties (“interrogatories”), in-person interviews conducted under oath (“depositions”), document requests between the parties and to outside third parties (“subpoenas”). This process generally takes months but may take years in large, complex cases.
Before your case can go to trial before a judge or jury, several court hearings will address issues in your case. Some of these may affect the evidence that can be admitted or which claims you may take to trial. You may decide to engage in alternative dispute resolution proceedings like mediation or arbitration. These out-of-court hearings in front of one or more neutral third parties can help you resolve your case without a trial. If you do not settle, you and your legal team will go to court and present your case before a judge or a jury. At the end of the trial, the factfinder will issue a verdict, stating whether you have successfully proved your case. If so, it will render a judgment for a specific amount of compensation. If you disagree with the court’s decision, it may be possible to appeal to a higher court.
Especially with recent pandemic-related disruptions to the court system, including the suspension of hearings and trials, the entire litigation process can take a long time—months or even years. A skilled attorney can help you determine which course of action will help you best recover the compensation you deserve.
You may be able to recover compensation for many types of damages, including:
- Medical expenses for treating physical injuries like broken bones, lacerations, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), soft tissue injuries, and whiplash.
- Psychological trauma like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity.
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
- Punitive damages.
The amount and types of damages available depend on the facts of your case. An experienced legal team can evaluate your situation and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Do’s & Don’ts
After an accident or personal injury:
- DO seek immediate medical care for your injuries.
- DO collect as much evidence about the occurrence as possible. Write down a narrative, record a video or voice memo, get contact information from witnesses, take photos, and do whatever else you can to preserve a good record of what happened.
- DO make a police report if appropriate and request a copy for yourself.
- DO keep a list of all out-of-pocket expenses and a journal of things that may be relevant to your case (medical care, improvement of physical conditions, etc.).
- DON’T make a statement to an insurance company without consulting an attorney.
- DON’T admit fault for the situation to other parties involved.
- DON’T discuss your case publicly, including on social media.
Free Personal Injury Consultations
If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury and believes someone else may be responsible, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
During your consultation, our experienced personal injury team will advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of your potential claim. We will also discuss the possible options for pursuing compensation for your damages and the potential benefits and costs. We can help you recover what you deserve and get your life back on track.