Do I Have a Case?
The laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provide numerous remedies for injured persons to recover from the parties responsible for their injuries. A personal injury lawyer will evaluate the facts of your case and determine whether there is a basis, under the law, for you to file a lawsuit against one or more people or entities like businesses or municipalities.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Every case is different, and many factors contribute to the value of a personal injury claim. These include the nature of your injuries, the egregiousness of the other party’s conduct, their failure to meet their legal obligations, the short- and long-term impact of your injuries, any contributory fault on your part, and other considerations. An experienced trial attorney will assess every aspect of your claim and help you determine the damages to which you may be entitled.
Generally, you can recover economic damages (including your out-of-pocket costs like medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses) and noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, and similar losses). In cases of extremely reckless or shocking conduct, a judge or jury may award punitive damages intended to deter the responsible party from repeating their wrongdoing.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Insurance companies, like other businesses, focus on their bottom lines – not you. An experienced attorney can evaluate the facts of your personal injury case and estimate a fair settlement value. Your lawyer can then make a demand to the insurer that is properly supported by facts, narrative statements, documentary evidence, and medical evidence, submitted in the proper format and directed to the appropriate decision-makers. After negotiating a settlement, an attorney can help you resolve your case fairly or proceed to trial or arbitration. Vigorous, competent representation is the difference between getting pennies on the dollar and getting the compensation you deserve.
How Much Will I Have to Pay an Attorney?
In most cases, personal injury lawyers pursue injured parties’ claims under a “contingency” fee agreement. In such an arrangement, a client does not owe the attorney any legal fees unless the attorney can negotiate a settlement or collect a judgment on their behalf. If the claim is successful, the attorney deducts the litigation costs and takes a percentage for attorney’s fees from the overall amount recovered. When an attorney represents you on a contingent basis, they will prepare a contract setting forth your rights and the representation agreement terms for you to read and sign.
How Do I Prove My Case?
Your lawyer will engage in an investigation (often called “discovery”) to uncover facts and evidence to support your case. This may include interviewing and deposing fact witnesses (people who testify about what they personally know about the facts of your case) and expert witnesses (people with special qualifications useful or necessary to establish your case, such as accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, structural engineers, etc.). The attorney will also request and review documents, videos and photos, telephone records, medical bills, and other records. Your lawyer will also research past legal decisions that support your claims and strengthen your case. By skillfully combining facts and legal authority, a good personal injury lawyer will give you the best possible chance of proving your case to an insurance adjuster, arbitrator, judge, or jury.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you generally have two years after the date an injury occurs to file a lawsuit. However, there are many reasons you should not wait until the last minute to consult an attorney. Claims against a government or municipal agency have shorter deadlines, and some actions require you to file notice much earlier than the two-year statutory period. Waiting until the statute of limitations looms can also make it more challenging to identify parties that may share liability for the occurrence (and potentially contribute compensation for your injuries). As time passes after an incident, witnesses’ memories fade, documentary evidence becomes more difficult to locate, and it can be harder to prove your claim and recover fair compensation. Don’t wait – contact an attorney as soon as possible after an injury.
Do I Need to Worry About What I Post on Social Media?
If you use social media, be aware that everything you post or send can be used as evidence or at least reviewed by the other parties to your litigation or personal injury claim. In general, it is best to maintain as low a profile as possible on your social media accounts any time you are involved in or may become involved in legal matters. Discuss your social media use with your counsel if you have any concerns or questions about recommended use.