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. If you or a family member was injured in an accident, contact an experienced Delaware County personal injury lawyer.
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. At the Reiff Law Firm, our attorneys specialize in complex personal injury litigation. Our goal is to maximize your compensation.
At the Reiff Law Firm, we understand the physical and psychological pain our personal injury clients are coping with. Our legal team’s mission is to help you obtain the justice and financial compensation you deserve. Our seasoned Delaware County personal injury attorneys have over 30 years of experience providing aggressive legal representation for those who have endured wrongful injuries in communities throughout Delaware County. Call the Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 709-6940 to schedule a free case consultation.
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 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 the 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 of 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 the following types of vehicles:
- Delivery trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Delivery trucks like Amazon or UPS
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 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 their 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
- Stairwell trip and falls
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.
There are other types of personal injury claims that our firm is prepared to manage for you. To learn more about pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, continue reading and speak with an experienced Delaware County (Delco) personal injury attorney.
How to Prove a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Delaware County, PA
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 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 the 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 health care 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 does not also 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.
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 harm you could be compensated for include loss of consortium and the loss of enjoyment of life.
Our firm is here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve due to the acts of a negligent individual.
Let Our Trusted Delaware County Personal Injury Attorneys Fight for You
If you or someone you love has been injured because of another party’s negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm have more than three decades of experience fighting for injured victims. For a free, confidential case evaluation with an experienced Delaware County personal injury lawyer, call the Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 709-6940.