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 may be able to hold them legally accountable for your suffering and healthcare expenses. At the Reiff Law Firm, our personal injury attorneys have been practicing personal injury litigation throughout Pennsylvania for more than three decades. If you have been hurt in Bucks County, a Bucks County personal injury lawyer from the Reiff Law Firm is prepared to help evaluate your case, prepare and submit a claim, and ensure that your legal rights are aggressively protected. In over 35 years of personal injury litigation in Pennsylvania, our highly skilled attorneys have won financial awards for clients in excess of $1 million. For a free legal consultation on your case, call us today at (215) 246-9000.
Types of Personal Injury Cases Handled in Bucks County, PA
Personal injury cases come in many forms. Some of the most common types of personal injury cases our lawyers handle on a regular basis include the following:
- Car Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Pharmaceutical Drug Injury Litigation
- Medical Malpractice
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Premises Liability
- Defective Product Injury
- Auto Defect Injuries
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Wrongful Death
Many of these types of accidents and injuries cause millions of dollars worth of damages each year. A few of these accident types are extremely common, and they are worth discussing individually:
Car Accident Injuries
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), in 2012, there were 11,508,559 registered vehicles in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, comprising the following:
- 7,901,771 passenger vehicles
- 404,409 motorcycles
- 618,762 trucks (under 5,000 pounds)
There are millions of cars, motorcycles, trucks, commercial vehicles, trailers, vans, bicycles, and pedestrians sharing the expansive roadways in Pennsylvania each day.
Bucks County – which has the fourth highest population of all counties in Pennsylvania – encompasses 2.41% of all of the highway mileage in Pennsylvania. With a dense population, extensive roadways, and proximity to Philadelphia, Bucks County has many features that contribute to high rates of car accidents. In fact, PennDOT reports that in 2010, Bucks County had the fourth-highest number of car accidents across all counties. The same year, Bucks County accounted for 5% of all car accidents in the Commonwealth. Bucks County also ranked number fourth for most deaths.
In 2010, Bucks County saw the following accidents:
- 6,094 total crashes
- 43 fatal crashes (resulting in 45 deaths)
- 2,979 injury crashes
Based on these statistics, roughly half of all Bucks County car accidents result in injury. When a motorist’s or pedestrian’s injuries are caused by another driver, the victim may have a case for a personal injury claim.
Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Injuries
Many of the municipalities throughout Bucks County enforce their own local codes for premises maintenance standards. When commercial or residential property owners fail to maintain their premises in line with these regulations, innocent visitors and passersby could be hurt. The property owner might be considered liable for causing injury through negligent maintenance.
If the owner or operator of a property is aware of unsafe or hazardous conditions on that property, they must take reasonable steps to make the premises safe for visitors, patrons, passersby, and residents. If an owner is aware that their property poses a threat to others, yet takes no action to fix the situation, they may be considered liable for injuries caused by those threats or dangers.
The most common types of premises liability cases are slip and fall and trip and fall accidents. Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents can be caused by many conditions on a property, including the following:
- Damaged surfaces
- Icy surfaces
- Slippery surfaces
- Uneven surfaces
- Unsecured wires or cables
- Wet surfaces
According to statistics compiled by OSHA and the CDC, in 2012, there were…
- 219,630 nonfatal slip and falls in the workplace
- 668 fatal slip and falls in the workplace
On an annual basis…
- There are approximately 8.9 million ER visits due to slip and falls
- Fall accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury
Suing for Injuries in a Bucks County Personal Injury Case
When you are injured in an accident, you often have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit can help you seek damages to cover expenses such as hospital bills and lost wages. It can also help pay you for the pain and suffering you experienced.
Many property owners, drivers, and other people who could be held liable for an injury carry insurance. This helps protect them from having to pay damages if they injure someone, and it helps ensure that there is money to pay the victim so their injuries can be covered. Many people rely on insurance to cover their injuries, but this does not always supply the full compensation you need as an injury victim.
Insurance claims for car accidents, injuries on someone else’s premises, or injuries from a defective product might pay for only a portion of the damages you faced for medical bills and lost wages. Generally speaking, insurance claims will not pay for pain and suffering.
When you file your claim in court, you can usually claim any and all damages related to the injury. This opens access to pain and suffering and can help you claim the full value of these damages rather than accepting a reduced payout through insurance, which potentially blocks full compensation or requires deductibles to get paid.
Lawsuits for Serious Injuries in Bucks County, PA
When you work with an attorney to file your case in court, the process can seem slow and complex. Your attorney can guide you through each step of the process and ensure that your rights are protected and your case is being managed in a way that protects your best interest. It is vital to work with a lawyer because the other side is likely to have their own lawyer or an insurance company representing them. Those legal teams often work to shut down claims as quickly and cheaply as possible, and you should have someone working to protect your interests throughout the case.
When your file your case, your lawyer will draft an initial complaint. This lays out the general facts of who was at fault and what injuries and damages they caused. The defendant will get a chance to respond to this complaint, and documents might be filed back and forth. If the case proceeds without settlement, it will move to “discovery.”
During discovery, each side can ask the court to subpoena documents and depositions. Both sides’ lawyers will work to collect evidence and work through the case, sharpening any legal arguments and working to assemble their case for trial. At this point, all of the information will be in the open, and the defendant might make a fair settlement offer. If they do not, we will advise you to continue straight to trial.
If your case goes to trial, it will usually take a few days in court. We will present your case to the jury and argue that the defendant is at fault. Ultimately, the jury – not the judge or the lawyers – will decide who is at fault and how much to order in compensation.
We can work to help protect you from unfair settlement offers and ensure that you understand what your case is worth before you accept or reject anything from the at-fault party.
Proving Who Is at Fault in a Personal Injury Case in Bucks County
Pennsylvania law works on a system of “comparative negligence.” This means that the court is able to assign blame to each party involved in an accident, including the victim. To win an injury claim in Bucks County, this means that you do not need to prove that you were 100% innocent. If you made mistakes or some unsafe decisions, you can still recover compensation from someone else who was more responsible for causing your injuries. As long as you were not more at fault than the defendant, you can still claim compensation.
Courts will assign blame based on the totality of the circumstances of your case. This means looking at all facts from all angles and determining which parties made mistakes or errors in judgment. For instance, a court might decide that a trip and fall on a sidewalk is the homeowner’s fault if the sidewalk was dark and dangerous, even if the victim was looking down at their cell phone when they tripped.
In many cases, there are laws on point that help prove fault, such as the following:
- Traffic laws help show fault in car accident cases.
- Federal trucking regulations help show fault in truck accident cases.
- OSHA standards help show fault in workplace accidents.
- Local ordinances help show fault in premises liability or dangerous property cases.
If there is no law on point, then the defendant will usually be held to a standard of reasonable action. If the at-fault party did something unreasonably dangerous, they could be held responsible for the injuries it caused. This is true even if what they did was not usually illegal. For instance, a homeowner who failed to warn a guest that the hot water comes out of their tap very hot might not have done anything illegal to allow their guests to scald their hands, but this could still be considered negligent.
If the court decides that the defendant was wholly at fault, they will be responsible for all damages you claimed in your case. Any damages you can prove are related to the defendant’s negligence can usually be claimed, including physical therapy, future reduced wages, emotional distress, funeral and burial expenses for a loved one, and other economic and noneconomic damages. If the court finds you partly at fault, your damages will be reduced by the same percentage of fault that you shared. That means that a victim who is found 10% at fault will only receive 90% of the damages they claimed.
Call Our Bucks County Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Consultation
If you or someone you love has been affected by an injury caused by recklessness, malpractice, negligence, or other types of fault, you may be able to seek financial compensation. This can include damages for your medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To speak to an experienced Bucks County personal injury attorney, contact the Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 246-9000. Your case evaluation is guaranteed to be completely free and confidential.