When we are injured because of our own careless actions, we may be unhappy, but we grudgingly accept responsibility for our mistakes and move on with our lives. However, when we are injured because of somebody else’s actions, moving forward can seem all but impossible. When we are forced to suffer physical and emotional pain – along with extremely expensive medical costs – it can be extremely difficult to cope. Fortunately for injury victims, it may be unnecessary to shoulder these burdens alone. If you were hurt by someone else, you should consult with our experienced Bucks County personal injury lawyers as soon as possible.
Personal injury claims arise from a wide variety of accidents and incidents. People in Bucks County are hurt by everything from devastating car crashes to slip and fall accidents in local supermarkets. If you want to pursue a lawsuit or work to reach a settlement with an insurance company, you need a law firm dedicated to assisting injured victims no matter how it occurred.
At the Reiff Law Firm, we are dedicated to fighting for victims of serious accidents that are suffering due to the negligent mistakes of another. A serious accident can substantially impact a victim’s life, and we hope to help you get your life back on track. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential lawsuit with a Bucks County, PA personal injury attorney, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940. You may also contact us online.
Common Personal Injury Claims in Bucks County
If you were injured in an accident in Bucks County, there are a few options you can take to receive compensation for your injuries. Some victims may try to recover compensation by filing an insurance claim. However, the policy limits of the negligent individual may not be enough to cover their injuries and other losses. Fortunately, a victim can also pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.
If you need to file a lawsuit to recover damages, the Reiff Law Firm offers legal representation for the following types of personal injury claims.
Uber and Lyft Accidents
Uber and Lyft are large ridesharing companies that operate throughout the United States and many other countries. When an Uber or Lyft accident occurs, there are a number of factors that can help determine the amount of compensation a victim could receive. For example, if an Uber driver causes an accident while transporting a passenger, the passenger could be eligible to recover from the driver and Uber.
Note, however, that the circumstances of the Uber or Lyft accident can also decide the liability of the ridesharing company. It would be wise to contact an attorney concerning your Uber or Lyft accident to help you seek compensation for your injuries.
Amusement Park Accidents
Amusement parks are places where family and friends can have fun on a number of attractions like roller coasters and wave pools. However, if the owners of an amusement park do not perform frequent maintenance on park attractions, there is an increased risk that a visitor could be injured. For example, if a passenger’s rollercoaster seatbelt malfunctions, this is a grave error that could severely injure or kill the passenger. While amusement parks are often a source of family fun, it is important to remember that they could be extremely dangerous.
Premises Liability Claims
Premises liability deals with the duty of property owners to maintain their land. When a Bucks County property owner fails to keep their property free of hazards, there is a possibility that a visitor could be injured on the premises. For example, if a grocery store fails to mop up a spill, they could be liable if a customer slips on the puddle and is injured. Other circumstances that could lead to a premises liability claim include:
- Poor lighting
- Unmarked construction areas
- Pool accidents, especially pool injuries that involve children
- Unsafe staircases and hand railings
- Elevator and escalator accidents
This is not an exhaustive list.
There are many other types of personal injury claims that our firm can litigate on your behalf, from commercial vehicle accidents to workplace accidents. To learn more about when you can file a personal injury lawsuit for your case, continue reading and speak with an experienced Bucks County slip and fall attorney.
Proving Negligence in a Bucks County Personal Injury Case
In most personal injury lawsuits, the injured plaintiff will have to prove that another’s conduct or inaction was negligent to recover compensatory damages.
Elements of Negligence
To establish that another party was negligent, and therefore liable, our Bucks County personal injury attorneys must demonstrate four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
The first step in proving another party was negligent is establishing that they owed the plaintiff a duty of care given the circumstances surrounding the injury. The plaintiff will then have to prove how the defendants’ conduct failed to meet that duty. When someone does not comply with their duty of care, they are said to have breached the duty. This breach must also have caused the injury – simply acting carelessly does not make an individual liable. Finally, the plaintiff must have suffered quantifiable damages, such as medical expenses or severe physical pain.
At its core, proving negligence requires that a plaintiff show a defendant’s action or inaction deviated from what a reasonable person would have done under the same or similar circumstances. What does an attorney or judge mean by reasonable in a personal injury case? The answer depends on the facts of the case.
Duty of Care and Reasonable Conduct in Personal Injury Cases
As stated above, the first element necessary to demonstrate negligence is a duty of care. This duty usually means that a defendant has a responsibility to avoid causing harm to another person. Anyone who operates a vehicle in Bucks County has to exercise reasonable care and caution. Therefore, a driver must obey all traffic rules and regulations and keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition. Duty of care also requires considering other factors, including weather conditions and the flow of traffic.
Under Pennsylvania law, many of the obligations motorists are required to follow have been codified. For instance, the way a driver merges or who has the right of way is clearly defined. If a driver violates a traffic law, they breach the duty of care owed to other motorists and pedestrians.
However, reasonableness is not defined by traffic laws alone. Weather conditions impact road conditions. An icy or snow-covered road presents additional hazardous to drivers. Likewise, sudden storms could dramatically decrease visibility. A reasonable driver would consider these dangerous conditions and drive slower and more cautiously.
Duty of care will be defined differently depending on the type of personal injury case being filed. A business owner has an obligation to keep their property free from known hazards, including acting in a reasonable manner to find and address any problems. If someone is hurt in a slip and fall accident because a business owner failed to keep their premises clear of hazards, they could be held liable for any injuries.
Determining Fault and a Breach of Duty in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
After establishing a duty of care existed, the plaintiff must prove how the defendant violated their obligation. The evidence must show exactly what the defendant did to breach the acceptable standard of care. What is necessary to establish this depends on the particular circumstances of the case.
In a car accident case, a breach of duty could be proven in a number of ways. For example, our Bucks County car accident attorneys could present evidence, such as a citation or police report, that the defendant violated a traffic law. Witness testimony is also persuasive, for example, seeing a driver texting before a collision. The accident scene also provides vital evidence, including the damage the vehicles suffered or skid marks on the road. In some cases, surveillance video from neighboring businesses or homes is available.
Damages Available in a Bucks County Personal Injury Case
The final element in establishing negligence in a personal injury case is proving the plaintiff suffered quantifiable damages. Through a personal injury claim, a plaintiff is able to seek compensatory damages for the harm they endured. This includes economic and non-economic damages
The easiest type of damages to understand is economic losses. If you have medical bills or lost time at work, you have recoverable economic damages. However, your losses are not limited to those two types. Parking fees for a doctor’s appointment are considered economic damages, as are any other expenses you incur because of the injury. Furthermore, you are not only entitled to the wages you have lost; you could recover the income you would have earned if you were not injured. If your injury is severe and you cannot return to work, this could be a significant amount.
A substantial part of the total damages awarded in a personal injury claim could be non-economic damages. While understanding and proving economic damages is usually straightforward, proving non-economic damages presents more of a challenge. These subjective damages include pain, suffering, anxiety, insomnia, and the loss of enjoyment of life. Because everyone is affected differently by an injury, what is required to prove non-economic damages depends on the plaintiff and the case. Typically, our Bucks County personal injury lawyers will turn to expert testimony from a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist to discuss the impact of your injury on your physical and mental well-being. We will also question your treating physician and your friends. Additionally, we will rely on your testimony to describe how your life was before and after the injury.
In some rare cases, a plaintiff could be awarded punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages that are based on the injury and its impact, punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant. If a defendant’s conduct is malicious, intentional, or grossly negligent, punitive damages could be awarded to deter future conduct. When a company or corporation’s conduct endangers and harms someone, punitive damages are a way to ensure that business practices are changed.
Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Bucks County, PA
When pursuing a Bucks County personal injury claim, you should be aware that your claim is subject to the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations determines the amount of time that a person has to file a particular type of lawsuit with a court of law. Note, however, that every case does not share the same filing deadline. The statute of limitations for your claim can vary depending on the circumstances of your case.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the injury. If the plaintiff fails to file their lawsuit within two years, they could lose the opportunity to pursue their claim. Specifically, the court can bar the claim for violating the statute of limitations upon a motion to dismiss from the defendant.
If you are unsure about the statute of limitations for your case, you should not assume how much time you possess. If you are wrong about the filing deadline for your case, this will affect whether you can receive compensation for your injuries. Additionally, a personal injury lawyer may hesitate to accept your claim if the statute of limitations deadline is quickly approaching.
Contact an Experienced Bucks County Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a family member was a victim of an accident, contact an experienced Bucks County personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The Reiff Law Firm is committed to using our legal experience to help victims pursue compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940. You may also contact the firm online.