The field of personal injury law encompasses numerous types of claims and lawsuits, such as car accident claims, premises liability claims, wrongful death claims, and medical malpractice claims. But which types of cases are most common in the Philadelphia region? To answer that question, the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm will examine statewide and county-specific statistics reflecting auto accidents and other common causes of death, injury, and hospitalization. Some of the data may surprise you.
Major Types of Personal Injury Claims and Lawsuits
Before we look at data specific to Philadelphia or Pennsylvania, let’s start with a brief overview of some of the types of injuries and accidents that frequently give rise to personal injury claims nationwide.
- Auto Accidents – Many auto accident claims arise from crashes involving cars, trucks, and SUVs. Though less common, commercial vehicle accidents, such as accidents involving school buses, charter buses, or semi-trailers, are more likely to result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities due to the immense power of the vehicles involved. Motorcycle accidents are less common than car accidents, but have higher rates of death and injury, largely due to the fact that motorcyclists lack significant protection in the event of a crash.
- Medical Malpractice – Medical malpractice claims arise when a patient is harmed by an avoidable error made by a healthcare professional, such as a surgeon, nurse, anesthetist, or OB-GYN. Depending on the situation, medical malpractice can involve delayed diagnoses, birth injuries, surgical errors, medication errors, or other causes of patient injury.
- Premises Liability – When an individual is injured on another person’s property – for example, slipping on a puddle of spilled juice in a grocery store – it is called a premises liability claim. The most common type of premises liability claim is a slip and fall accident or trip and fall accident, often caused by broken flooring, inadequate lighting, inadequate removal of snow and ice, or other forms of negligent property maintenance, leading to serious hazards.
- Product Liability – When a person is injured by a defective product, it is known as a “product liability” claim. Examples of major product liability lawsuits in the media over the past several years include the Takata airbag recall, GM ignition switch recall and grill accidents.
- Wrongful Death – When negligence causes an avoidable accident which leads to the death of the victim, it is known as “wrongful death.” Wrongful death cases are related to, but distinct from, survival actions. When successful, a survival action allows for recovery of compensation that the victim could have recovered had he or she survived the accident. By comparison, a wrongful death lawsuit focuses on compensating the losses sustained by the victim’s beneficiaries.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all possible personal injury matters. Other, less common types of cases, for instance, involve amusement park accidents, construction accidents, swimming pool accidents, train accidents, plane crashes, famous tourist attraction accidents, and accidents that occur on or due to public transportation vehicles.
Philadelphia Injury Statistics: Common Causes of Hospitalization
The Pennsylvania Department of Health releases annual reports containing Pennsylvania injury statistics. These reports include county-focused data, allowing our Philadelphia car accident lawyers to examine common causes of hospitalization specific to the Philadelphia region. While not all injury victims go on to file claims, many choose to explore their options with an experienced attorney.
According to the 2014 hospitalized injury profile, which is the most recent data available, 20,175 people were hospitalized in Philadelphia County that year. Approximately three quarters of these hospitalizations – a total of 15,532 – were for unintentional injuries. Additionally, a total of 1,774 cases were caused by assault.
The report goes into detail breaking down various reasons for hospitalization in Philadelphia County. Falls were the leading cause of injury by a wide margin, accounting for 7,668 out of 20,175 hospitalizations (approximately 38%). You should immediately contact an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall injury attorney if you or a loved one was hurt in an accidental fall.
Other hospitalization causes, or types of patients, noted in the report included:
- Struck by/against Objects – 858
- Auto Accidents, Occupants – 590
- Gun-Related Injuries (Including BB guns) – 532
- Lacerations and Puncture Wounds – 517
- Auto Accidents, Pedestrians – 359
- Auto Accidents, Motorcyclists – 162
- Fires – 114
- Auto Accidents, Bicyclists – 82
- Accidents Involving Machinery – 50
Most of these injuries – 19,669 out of 20,175 (97.5%) – were nonfatal. Sadly, more than 500 resulted in death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are the fourth leading cause of death nationwide, accounting for 146,571 fatalities in 2016. In 2013, the CDC ranked Pennsylvania twenty-second in the country for accidental deaths.
A significant portion of these unintentional injury fatalities are related to vehicular accidents. In 2016, for example, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reported 129,395 traffic crashes, 1,088 of which were fatal. These crashes caused nearly 1,200 deaths in Pennsylvania during 2016. Of all counties in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County had the second-highest percentage of crashes (9.4%), and the highest percentage of fatal crashes (8.5%). Philadelphia County also accounted for a high number of nonfatal injury crashes: a total of 8,809 (14.7%).
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help if You Were Hurt in an Accident
If you or a loved one suffered an unintentional injury that occurred in the Philadelphia area, it may be appropriate to speak with a premises liability lawyer, medical malpractice attorney, or product liability lawyer, depending on the nature of the accident. The skilled and aggressive personal injury attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm have decades of combined experience handling a wide array of claims and lawsuits, ranging from bone fractures and soft tissue injuries to catastrophic brain injuries, and can fight to recover compensation if you were harmed by the negligence of another. To arrange a free legal consultation concerning a car accident, slip and fall accident, or other type of accident, contact our law offices at (215) 246-9000 today. We handle cases statewide.