Whether you are driving your car, in a retail store, or simply walking on someone else’s property, accidents can unfortunately occur anywhere at just about any moment. If the accident results in a serious or catastrophic injury they can be physically, financially, and emotionally damaging. Questions that you need help answering, such as who pays for my medical bills, who is responsible for my pain and suffering, how is my lost income going to be addressed and more will need to be addressed. These are the types questions that a Bucks County, PA personal injury lawyer should be able to help you with.
If you suffered a physical injury because someone else acted negligently, you may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit with help from a seasoned attorney. Once retained, a qualified Bucks County, Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer can work tirelessly on your behalf to collect evidence of liability, get you the appropriate medical care, detail the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the accident and injury, demonstrate the economic injuries sustained and costs associated with your damages, and pursue compensation for all your losses through a settlement or verdict.
Establishing Defendant Negligence
The principle of legal negligence is central to every personal injury case in Bucks County, PA as it is allows someone to be held financially responsible for harm they did not mean to cause. Even if someone has no intention of injuring anyone else, they could still bear liability for someone else’s injuries if they fulfill all the criteria of legal negligence:
- A duty of care existed between them and the person they injured
- By acting in a reckless or careless way, they violated that duty of care
- As a direct consequence of that duty being breached, an accident occurred
- That accident resulted directly in compensable losses
While these elements are generally consistent across all personal injury cases, the specific ways in which they are defined can vary. For instance, medical professionals owe different duties of care to patients than motor vehicle operators owe to other drivers, and what might constitute an unreasonable breach of duty in one situation might be considered reasonable behavior in another. Seeking help from a Bucks County personal injury attorney could be crucial to determining these details and constructing an effective case for civil compensation.
Types of Injury Claims
There are a variety of instances that could give rise to a civil claim. However, the most common include:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle wrecks
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Faulty products
- Nursing home neglect and abuse
- Wrongful death
It is important for Bucks County residents to work with a local attorney with experience handling a variety of personal injury suits.
What Kinds of Personal Damages Could Be Recovered?
As long as negligence results in at least one physical injury that required the victim to pay for professional medical care, that injured individual can pursue compensation for both the costs of that particular injury as well as any other losses their accident directly caused. Beyond medical expenses, damages a local injury lawyer can help a plaintiff factor into their claim may include:
- Wage loss from time missed at work
- Loss of capacity to earn income in the future
- Property damage, including car repair bills and replacement costs
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish, including loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life
- The impact of permanent disfigurement or disability stemming
Under certain circumstances, a plaintiff in a civil claim can make a case for punitive damages. Unlike compensatory economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages do not aim to compensate the injured party for their losses. Rather, these damages serve to punish the defendant for egregious wrongdoing and discourage further misconduct. For instance, if the defendant in a vehicle wreck claim had been texting while driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, punitive damages may be available.
However, various legal roadblocks may impede a plaintiff’s fight for compensation if they are not prepared to combat them. For example, 42 Pennsylvania Statutes §7102 allows a court to reduce a plaintiff’s final damage award by whatever percentage of fault they bear for their own accident.
Statute of Limitations
Another potential barrier to recovery is the statute of limitations. The 42 P.S. §5524 sets a filing deadline of two years after a personal injury occurs by which a prospective plaintiff must file suit. Notably, there are potential exceptions to this deadline. For instance, if a child is the injured party, the statute of limitations does not begin until the minor reaches 18 years of age.
It is extremely important to be aware of the statute of limitations when filing a civil action as failure to meet the required deadline could result in a case being dismissed. In other words, the claimant can be barred from financial recovery. Additionally, since defendant’s and their insurance company are aware of this legal deadline as well, they can reject settlement negotiations if the deadline has expired. Help from legal counsel is often essential to effectively navigate around these and other obstacles in the civil litigation process.
Consider Speaking with a Bucks County, Pennsylvania Personal Injury Attorney
No personal injury should be taken lightly, but those resulting in significant or life-altering harm may justify legal action. Filing a civil lawsuit can allow you to recover financially for every form of harm an accident caused you to suffer, but can be hard to achieve successfully without guidance and support from a qualified legal professional.
If you were hurt in an accident, you should strongly consider talking to a Bucks County personal injury lawyer about your legal options. Our experienced legal team could help you gather and preserve vital evidence, contact witnesses, negotiate a fair settlement, or if necessary, represent your best interests at trial. Contact our team of Bucks County, PA trial lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.