Personal injury or tort claims arise from preventable incidents that cause harm. The legal area includes incidents involving purposeful and negligent (unreasonable and reckless) acts as well as strict liability. In every personal injury claim, a plaintiff must establish the defendant’s liability and the damages incurred. Personal injury claims only establish wrongdoing, not criminal guilt. All civil claims take place outside of and sometimes in addition to criminal prosecution.
Every individual who suffers serious and preventable harm as the result of another’s action has the right to take legal action against any and all wrongdoers. The right to a claim extends to every victim in the United States, regardless of immigration status. Personal injury attorneys protect their clients’ rights to seek fair compensation and pursue claims to trial, if necessary.
While no attorney can guarantee a certain outcome, the firm you partner with will impact your results. At Anapol Weiss, our firm offers over 35 years of experience and a full commitment to each client we serve. Schedule a private consultation with one of our attorneys today.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
You won’t find an injury threshold or checklist for pursuing a personal injury claim because every case is different. In general, personal injury attorneys and injured parties choose cases based on a cost-benefit analysis. If the cost of pursuing a claim is greater than potential damages to be paid, taking action may not make sense for the client or the firm.
To determine if hiring a personal injury lawyer makes sense, we highly recommend that you schedule a consultation with a few different attorneys in the area. Based on an initial consultation, you can make an informed decision about pursuing a claim.
Factors that will play a role in the hiring decision may include:
- The type of incident/liability – Some incidents should never happen. For example, let’s say a surgeon operates on the wrong body part. Even if the patient does not suffer severe long term consequences, he or she may choose to pursue a claim based on strict liability to hold the surgeon accountable and prevent the mistake from happening again. If the defendant is liable for wrongdoing, a claim may make sense.
- The severity of the injury – Some injured individuals who suffer from whiplash in a car accident or a concussion from a property hazard may choose not to pursue a claim because the time and money involved just doesn’t make sense. However, even seemingly minor injuries can have long-term and unanticipated consequences. Individuals often pursue claims for severe injuries and injuries that could potentially cause problems over a long period of time. A positive case outcome may support an injured individual’s quality of life into the future.
- The outlook of a claim – If a case will likely recur, a client or firm may choose to pursue the case out of principle. Some product liability, car accident, and premises liability claims (among others) could affect the lives of other people in the future. In these cases, choosing to pursue a case could alter laws, policies, and individual actions for the better.
- The evidence available – To succeed in a claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant bore a duty of care, failed to meet his or her duty, and that his or her actions proximally caused the plaintiff’s injuries. If the evidence available does not support a plaintiff’s claim, pursuing the case may not make sense.
As you can see, deciding to hire an attorney and pursue a claim isn’t always easy. Talk to an attorney to determine if a claim makes sense in your situation.
Contacting the Right Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer
While choosing the first name to appear in a Google search or on a local billboard may tempt you, take the time to speak with a few different attorneys in your area. Hire someone you feel comfortable speaking freely with and who demonstrates a high level of compassion and commitment. A distracted or inaccessible attorney may not provide the right level of care. Consider the following factors as you search for a qualified personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, PA:
- Licensing – To file a claim, the attorney you choose needs to hold a current license in the state where you suffered injury.
- Practice specialties – Most attorneys focus their practices on a certain subset of personal injury law. Ask the attorney about his or her practice areas and any cases similar to yours. An attorney with experience representing certain types of incidents, injuries, or levels of liability may offer better insights into your situation.
- Reputation – The state bar association keeps records on all disciplinary actions taken against licensed attorneys in the state. In addition to disciplinary information, look at online reviews and ask for references from previous clients. Look for attorneys who demonstrate a high level of dedication and accessibility to each client served.
- Trial philosophy – While many personal injury lawsuits settle before reaching trial, formal trials can provide a better case outcome. Find an attorney with extensive experience in both settlements and trials. Each strategy may prove beneficial in different cases. A personal injury attorney should never shy away from pursuing a claim to trial.
- Case approach – Talk to attorneys about their approach to personal injury cases. Do they work closely with a network of experts in the area? Will you have access to the lead attorney in your case or associates? What can you expect as a client of the firm?
- Fee structure – Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. They only accept attorney fees after securing compensation for a client. However, this does not eliminate all fees associated with a claim. Ask for a detailed explanation of possible case fees and payment expectations. An attorney may not offer an exact estimation, but he or she can explain possible costs associated with a type of claim.
Firms design the consultation process to help you and the firm determine fit. Ask as many questions as needed to feel confident in your hiring decision. At Anapol Weiss, we look forward to helping you understand the complexities of personal injury cases. Our attorneys are friendly and strive to offer straightforward information in layman’s terms so you can make an informed decision. We hope you’ll give us an opportunity to show you why many clients in Pennsylvania choose Anapol Weiss over every other personal injury firm in the area.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases involve every type of preventable incident and injury you can imagine. From falling on a slippery floor at a local restaurant to battling the aftereffects of a dangerous drug, personal injury cases can arise from any act of negligence or malice. The attorneys at Anapol Weiss focus their practices on several areas, including:
- Vehicle accidents, including cars, tractor trailers, buses, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicycles
- Construction and manufacturing incidents
- Medical malpractice claims including diagnosis errors, birth injuries, and treatment mistakes
- Insurance bad faith including wrongful claim denial and delays
- Product liability cases including dangerous drugs and defective medical devices
- Premises liability cases including slip and falls, asbestos exposure, and some drownings
- Nursing home neglect and abuse
- Wrongful death claims arising from these incidents
We handle individual claims as well as mass torts involving large groups of individuals. In addition to focusing on incidents and clients, our attorneys also specialize in certain types of injuries, including:
- Burn injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Chemical and toxin exposure
- Medical error injuries
As a firm focused on the most common types of personal injuries, we invite you to speak with us about our ability to take on your claim. Since 1977, our attorneys have successfully pursued claims involving drunk and distracted drivers, unsafe construction practices, poor patient oversight, and more. We take on a select number of clients every year so we can focus our full attention on the successful resolution of each case. Explore our site to learn more about our experience in each practice area.
Pennsylvania Personal Injury Laws of Note
While some mass tort claims may involve several jurisdictions and states, most personal injury claims rely on state laws where the injury took place. In Pennsylvania, every claimant must typically file any personal injury claim within two years starting at the time of injury or when you should have reasonably known about the injury. The statute of limitations may affect your right to file a claim, which is why we advise speaking with an attorney as soon as possible. The date from which the clock starts ticking may vary in different cases. Even if you believe you fall outside the recognized statute of limitations, ask an attorney to determine your ability to file a claim.
Pennsylvania operates under a modified comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases that do not involve strict liability. Under this rule, the courts may reduce the amount of compensation available based on a plaintiff’s degree of fault. Any claimant more than 50% responsible for an accident loses his or her right to seek compensation. A personal injury attorney will play a key role in showcasing the true facts of an event to protect a client’s right to restitution.
Damages Available in Personal Injury Cases
If you choose to move forward with a personal injury claim, the outcome of the case cannot undo the physical, psychological, and financial harm done. It can, however, deliver a sense of closure, justice, and the financial compensation you need to move forward after a serious injury. Depending on the case, the court may award the following types of compensation/damages:
- All medical expenses – From the gas it takes to drive to treatment sessions to costly surgeries, you may receive compensation for any medical expenses directly associated with the incident and injury. Keep all receipts, invoices, and statements related to your injury.
- Lost income and future wages – The court may order the defendant to pay for all lost income associated with the injury as well as your future income earning ability.
- Pain and suffering – While difficulty to relate in financial terms, personal injury claims strive to cover all losses associated with an injury including the experience of pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
- Property damage – In car accident claims, in particular, you may hold the defendant responsible for any personal property damaged during the incident.
- Loss of quality of life – A plaintiff may receive compensation for the lost ability to engage in life in a normal way, to recover completely, or to engage in relationships in a normal way.
- Punitive damages – In cases involving gross negligence or acts of malice, the court may force the defendant to pay punitive damages to punish him or her for wrongdoing.
Calculating total losses plays a key role in the outcome of a case and an individual’s ability to achieve a maximum state of recovery. At Anapol Weiss, we work with a network of experts, including medical specialists and forensic accountants, to determine the true value of a claim. We will do everything we can to ensure an optimal outcome.
Talk to an Anapol Weiss Attorney Today
Personal injury is a complex legal field involving many nuanced statutes and case precedents. If you suffered a serious injury in a preventable incident, you need an attorney who will deliver ethical, committed, and accessible services. The team at Anapol Weiss offers personalized attention and years of experience in both local and national cases. For more information about our approach to personal injury law, contact our Philadelphia, PA office today.