Delaware County (Delco) Personal Injury Lawyer
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    Delaware County (Delco) Personal Injury Lawyer

    Suffering a serious injury can be a difficult experience. When your injuries are the result of another person’s actions, the physical, emotional, and financial devastation becomes much harder to face.

    A personal injury lawsuit can help cover your medical expenses, ensure that the at-fault party is held accountable, and fix the problems that caused your injuries. Personal injury cases arise from a wide range of accidents and incidents, including car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and premises liability claims. You need a law firm with the staff and resources to handle your type of case.

    For a free case consultation, speak with our personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 709-6940.

    What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

    To understand what a personal injury lawyer is, personal injury lawsuits must be addressed. A personal injury case is a legal dispute that arises when a person, the plaintiff, is harmed because of an injury or accident. Because of their actions, the defendant could be held legally liable for the harm the plaintiff suffered. Depending on the facts of the case, the defendant could be another person, entity, or business. If found responsible, the defendant or their insurance provider will be financially responsible for the plaintiff’s damages, including their medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. The complexity of a case depends on the underlying cause of action, for example, a car accident or a medical malpractice case.

    A personal injury attorney is a lawyer that reviews a personal injury claim and could formalize it by filing a complaint in civil court. An important part of the process is valuing a plaintiff’s damages and evaluating the legal strength of the plaintiff’s case. Typically, a personal injury claim will resolve in two ways: a formal lawsuit or an informal settlement.

    If our Delaware County personal injury lawyers file a lawsuit, it will usually begin with the filing of a complaint in civil court. The complaint will contain the allegations against the defendant, whether it was a reckless driver or a negligent surgeon. To prevail in a lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent. How to prove negligence is discussed in more detail below.

    Many personal injury claims are resolved through a settlement with an insurance company. A settlement could occur early in the process or the parties could agree to settle the case moments before a trial begins. A settlement usually takes the form of negotiations between both parties represented by their attorneys. Even if you think you would rather settle, our Delaware County personal injury attorneys will value your claim so you know if an offer is reasonable. In many cases, an insurance company will be more willing to settle a case the closer it gets to a trial date – especially if our lawyers gather more and more evidence in your favor.

    What are Some Common Injury Lawsuits in Delaware County?

    Personal injury is a broad area of law that deals with various types of claims. The Reiff Law Firm has extensive experience dealing with various complex personal injury claims. Our Delaware County personal injury law firm is ready to listen to the details of your case and determine your legal options. The following is a list of common personal injury lawsuits our firm can handle for you.

    Car and Motorcycle Accidents

    Car accidents are more common than anyone would like. Many accidents are fender-benders, resulting in minor or no injuries. However, when high speeds are involved, or multiple cars collide, the injuries could be catastrophic or deadly. Determining what occurred when an accident involves several vehicles requires specialized investigation. Holding someone liable often means piecing together a chain of several events.

    Motorcycle accidents present a host of challenges. A motorcycle provides very little protection, so an accident victim usually suffers devastating injuries. Furthermore, motorcyclists have a reputation for recklessness that insurance companies and defense attorneys use against them. If you are a cyclist who was hurt in a crash, you need a personal injury attorney who understands the logistical and legal difficulties you are facing.

    Commercial Vehicle Accidents

    A commercial vehicle accident can be defined in a number of ways. For example, if a truck driver operates their vehicle while exhausted and causes a serious crash, this would result in a commercial vehicle accident. Commercial vehicle accidents can also involve other types of vehicles, including buses, tractor-trailers, delivery trucks, and garbage trucks.

    Commercial vehicle accidents are especially dangerous because these vehicles can cause catastrophic damage to a passenger vehicle. As a result, the occupant of a passenger vehicle could sustain severe injuries like broken bones, spinal injuries, and head injuries.

    Construction Accidents

    Construction accidents often leave victims with serious or life-threatening injuries. This is because construction sites contain various types of machinery and equipment that drastically increase the risk of being injured if they are mishandled. For example, a negligently operated forklift is extremely dangerous to others.

    Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

    Doctors are required to provide patients with adequate medical care. However, it is important to note that a simple injury may not be enough to pursue a medical malpractice claim. A plaintiff will have to show how the doctor’s actions violated the standard of medical care. For example, if a victim was injured because they were provided with the incorrect medication, this could be valid grounds for a medical malpractice claim.

    Premises Liability Claims

    Premises liability lawsuits occur when a victim suffers an injury due to the negligence of a landowner. For example, if a grocery store fails to plow snow and ice from its parking lot, it could be held liable when a shopper suffers an injury after slipping on the ice. Other examples of premises liability claims consist of swimming pool accidents, parking lot accidents, and stairwell trip and falls.

    E-Cig Lawsuits

    E-cigarettes are often marketed as devices that can help consumers who wish to quit smoking. However, e-cigarettes can cause a consumer to sustain permanent or even life-threatening injuries. For example, many users of JUUL-flavored e-cigarettes are developing crippling diseases like popcorn lung and many other health complications. Our firm can help you begin a personal injury claim against manufacturers of JUUL and other e-cigs that caused you to develop a serious illness.

    Common Types of Personal Injuries that You Can Recover Compensation for in Delaware County

    Victims can suffer a wide range of personal injuries in Delaware County. Some of these injuries can be life-changing, while others will heal relatively quickly. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you deserve to be compensated by the liable party. The following are the most common personal injuries that our firm sees in Delaware County:

    Spinal Cord Injuries

    A spinal cord injury is one of the most serious personal injuries a person can suffer in Delaware County. A spinal cord injury can be caused by a blow to the head or neck, a fall or car accident, or any other type of traumatic event that damages the spinal cord, resulting in partial or total paralysis.

    Spinal cord injury victims often experience pain, numbness, and tingling in the limbs. The area of skin around the injured area might feel cold, and there could be muscle spasms and loss of bladder control to indicate a spinal injury. Many cases of temporary paralysis usually subside with the appropriate treatment and physical therapy. However, some victims take years to recover fully and should be compensated for any medical treatment their injuries require.

    However, your spinal injury could result from long years at work and develop over time, like a herniated disc in the spine. A disc is located between each bone of your spine and acts as a shock absorber for your spine. When these discs bulge out from under their outer covering, they can press on nearby nerves causing pain and numbness in areas controlled by those nerves.

    Traumatic Brain Injuries

    Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by sudden trauma to the head, causing the brain to move rapidly within the skull and smack the inside walls. This movement can injure brain tissue by tearing blood vessels and causing bleeding within the brain itself, as well as damaging brain cells directly by shearing them apart at their connections with one another. Concussions are one of the most common traumatic brain injuries victims suffer, often occurring in workplace and car accidents.

    Internal Bleeding

    Internal bleeding is one of the most severe personal injuries because it can quickly lead to death if not treated after an accident. Internal bleeding occurs when blood escapes from your circulatory system or internal organs and builds up in the body cavity. Because it is not visible, internal bleeding may not be obvious at first. As the blood accumulates in your body, you will start to feel weak and tired.

    Internal bleeding can occur anywhere in your body, often because of blunt force trauma during an accident. It is important to seek medical attention immediately after an accident because internal bleeding can quickly become life-threatening.

    Broken Bones

    Broken bones are among the most common injuries in Delaware County personal injury cases. Broken bones often occur in car accidents but are common in almost any personal injury case. Even if your fracture is minor, it could still take a significant amount of time to recover. Suppose you have suffered a broken bone due to another person’s negligence or intentional act. In that case, you will likely be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

    Wrongful Death

    If you lose a loved one because of the negligence or recklessness of someone else, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim. If your loved one died because of another person’s actions, such as drunk driving or negligence in the workplace, you might be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for your loss.

    Wrongful death lawsuits differ slightly from standard personal injury claims because they deal with the loss of life rather than just physical injuries. However, a wrongful death claim can help provide compensation for funeral expenses, burial costs, and other related damages that might not be covered by other types of insurance policies on the deceased person’s life.

    How to Prove a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Delaware County

    To prevail in a Delaware County personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff typically needs to show how the defendant’s negligent behavior led to their injuries. This will require the plaintiff to have a fair deal of evidence to support their claim. For example, a plaintiff should have documentation of their injuries and the damage to their vehicle if they filed a car accident lawsuit. A plaintiff must also prove the following four elements in order to establish that the defendant was negligent:

    The Defendant Owed the Plaintiff a Duty of Care

    Duty of care is the legal obligation a defendant owes a plaintiff not to harm them. Determining duty will hinge on the relationship between the parties. For example, a surgeon owes their patient a duty to provide an acceptable standard of medical care. A motorist should safely operate their vehicle, obeying all traffic rules and regulations. In premises liability cases, the duty of care depends on why the plaintiff is on the property. For instance, the duty a retail store manager owes their customers is different from the duty a homeowner owes to a dinner guest.

    The Defendant Breached the Duty of Care

    The next element is showing that the defendant breached their duty. For example, if someone is driving drunk, they are not safely operating their vehicle. Courts will typically define a breach of duty as a defendant deviating from what a reasonable or prudent person would do under the same or similar circumstances. In the case of a drunk driver, a plaintiff could prove a breach with evidence of a breathalyzer test or a citation issued by the police at the accident scene. In medical malpractice cases, expert testimony is required to demonstrate that the healthcare professional’s conduct failed to adhere to the accepted medical standard.

    The Plaintiff Suffered an Injury or Other Losses Due to the Defendant’s Breach

    Poor behavior also does not mean a defendant should be held liable for a plaintiff’s injuries. Our Delaware County personal injury attorneys will have to establish that the defendant’s conduct caused the injury. If you suffered a broken arm because a drunk driver collided with your driver’s side door, causation appears obvious. However, what if the steering system in the defendant’s car failed because of a manufacturing defect? The key is to prove that there were no intervening events that caused your injury.

    The Plaintiff Sustained Injuries and Losses that are Compensable by a Court of Law

    The final element is quantifiable damages. In Pennsylvania, a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is entitled to seek compensatory damages, including economic and non-economic losses. If you required medical care or lost time at work, then you suffered quantifiable damages.

    Evidence Used to Prove Fault in a Delaware County Personal Injury Lawsuit

    Many forms of evidence will often be used to prove your personal injury case. For instance, accident reports are official documents prepared by police officers who respond to car accidents and other incidents. These reports often include diagrams of the accident scene, a list of vehicle damage, contact information for the parties involved, and witness statements.

    Photos and videos are also incredibly helpful in preserving evidence. Feel free to take as many photos as you can of the accident scene and your injuries.

    Eyewitnesses can also be very helpful in establishing fault in a personal injury case. If you were injured in an accident and have witnesses who saw what happened, ask them to write a statement about what they saw and when they saw it. Also, get their contact information so our team can follow up with them later.

    Time Limit to File a Lawsuit After Suffering a Personal Injury in Delaware County

    The time limit to file a lawsuit in Delaware County and throughout Pennsylvania is known as the “statute of limitations” and is contained in 18 Pa.C.S. § 5524(1). However, the statute of limitations varies depending on the type of personal injury lawsuit you are filing. For example, you have two years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit. You might have more time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit if you do not discover your injuries until later. In these situations, victims have two years from the date they discovered their injuries or should have been discovered them.

    It is important to note that you will likely lose your right to sue if you fail to file your lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations. Therefore, getting your case started as soon as possible is crucial to have the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve.

    Damages Available in a Delaware County Personal Injury Case

    Once these elements are proven, a plaintiff can be awarded damages for their injuries and losses. Compensatory damages come in two categories: economic and non-economic.

    Economic damages are your out-of-pocket financial losses. These damages usually include your medical expenses and lost salary. If you will be out of work for an extended period or permanently, you could recover your future lost wages as well. Economic damages are not limited to big–ticket items; you could recover the cost of parking at a doctor’s appointment or the cost of medication to manage your pain. Our office will usually provide receipts, bills, statements, and other documents to support your economic damages.

    Non-economic damages are intangible and more challenging to understand. These are your losses that are not financial in nature. For example, emotional distress and mental anguish would be considered non-economic damages. Some other common harms you could be compensated for include loss of consortium and the loss of enjoyment of life.

    Our Delaware County Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help

    Contact The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 for your free case review with our personal injury attorneys.

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    1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd #501
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
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