A personal injury case is a legal dispute that occurs when one party endures an injury due to the negligence of another. The goal of filing a personal injury lawsuit is to recover compensation for the alternate party’s wrongful act that is responsible for the injury.
In Philadelphia, if you are filing a personal injury claim, the statute of limitations states you have two years from the time of the incident to file your claim against the negligent party. It is important to note that Pennsylvania abides by the Modified Comparative Negligence doctrine which states that you may recover financial compensation from another party who is found negligent only if you are less than 50% responsible for what happened. If you feel like you’ve experience negligence due to another party and are looking to file a claim, there are a few steps to follow to ensure you complete the claims process correctly.
1. File a Complaint
The first step in a personal injury case is for your personal injury lawyer to file a complaint on your behalf stating:
- Who you are
- Who was responsible for the incident
- A description of what happen
- A description of your injuries
Your lawyer may also include more detailed information regarding the negligent party and their place of work. The formal complaint may also include information about where the incident took place and name anyone else would was involved in the act.
2. Wait for a Response from the Defendant
There is a set amount of time the defendant and their lawyer have to respond to your complaint.
3. Discovery Period
During this time, both parties will:
- Collect statements from each other
- Each party will give their recorded testimonies of the event under oath
- Documents will be exchanged between parties that relate to the incident
- If needed, an expert witness will be questioned
4. Settle or Go to Court
Each case is different and some parties will want to settle quickly to avoid more time and effort in court. On the other hand, other cases will include a party who turns down their initial financial offer and wants to proceed to court. If there is not a fair settlement amount that both parties can agree to, the case will be taken to court where a judge and jury will determine who is at fault and how much money that party must pay the other.
In personal injury cases, there are many different damages you may recover compensation for including economic and non-economic damages. Depending on your case, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages (past and future)
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Emotional distress
- Property damage
- Loss of companionship
If you feel like you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another person, you are able to individually file your own personal injury lawsuit. It is recommended to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure each step is completed so that your case has the highest chance of success. With a professional on your team, you are more likely to receive a fair settlement due to the experience and knowledge possessed by an attorney educated in the field.