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.
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 34 years of experience providing aggressive legal representation for those who have endured wrongful injuries in communities throughout Delaware County. Call our Delaware County personal injury lawyers today at (215) 246-9000 to schedule a free case consultation.
Types of Personal Injury Cases We Handle in Delaware County, PA
Being injured is never a pleasant experience. If you or a loved one suffered an caused by a third party’s negligent or reckless behavior, you might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit can help you cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The following are all common types of personal injury cases our attorneys handle for injury victims in Delco:
Car Accident Cases
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Delaware County has a population of over 560,000 residents, making it the fifth most populated county in Pennsylvania. Due to its proximity to Philadelphia, its major roadways, and a high population density of over 3,000 people per square mile, car accidents in Delaware County are extremely common. Some of the largest roads with the highest speed limits are some of the most dangerous roadways in Delco, including the following:
- I-95 (the Schuylkill Expressway)
- I-476 (the Blue Route/Northeast Extension)
- Route 1
- Route 30
- Route 202
In 2012, over 1,300 motor vehicle accident deaths were recorded on Pennsylvania’s highways alone. In 2013, there were 259 deaths from car accidents in Delaware County. In 2015, deaths from crashes in the state decreased slightly to 1,200 deaths. Furthermore, the number of serious injuries caused by crashes also continued its downward trend. However, the overall number of accidents in the state jumped from about 121,000 in 2014, to about 127,000 crashes in 2015
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s 2015 Crash Facts and Statistics report, Delaware County ranks among the top 10 Pennsylvania counties with the highest numbers of traffic crashes. In 2016, Delaware County reported the following accidents:
- 28 fatal crashes
- 2,428 crashes causing injury
- 5,001 total crashes
Car accidents can result in many serious, permanent injuries that can leave their victims with physical disabilities, chronic pain, and endless medical expenses. Some of the most common injuries resulting from car accidents include the following:
- Back and spine injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal injuries
- Neck injuries (e.g., whiplash)
- Traumatic brain injury
If you were the victim of a Delaware County car accident, you may have a strong personal injury case.
Dangerous and Defective Product Cases
Large manufacturers that create household appliances, car parts, and even children’s toys might allow dangerous, defective products to reach store shelves. Many of the injuries caused by these products can be quite severe, especially for products with blades and moving parts. Many toys and electronic devices that use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries even carry a risk of catching fire or exploding while charging.
Defective products can cause serious injuries, including the following:
- Burns from exploding batteries
- Amputation injuries from defective or dangerous home appliances, power tools, or kitchen appliances
- Poisoning, dangerous side effects, and injuries from defective pharmaceuticals or medical devices
- Death or serious injury from automotive defects (tires, seatbelts, exploding airbags, etc.)
You may be able to sue the manufacturer or designer of products based on a few legal theories for defective product cases. First, if the product’s design was too dangerous, you might be able to sue for these design defects. Second, if the specific product you received was improperly made or missing parts, you could sue for manufacturing defects. Lastly, if the product was dangerous in a surprising or unexpected way, you may be able to sue if the manufacturer failed to warn about the product’s hidden dangers. Contact our Delaware County injury attorneys today for a free legal consultation on your product injury case.
Pedestrian accidents are a dangerous problem in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. Unfortunately, when a truck, bus, or car strikes a pedestrian, the injuries are often catastrophic. In many pedestrian accidents involving large trucks, the victims are pulled under the wheels. This may lead to severe crushing injuries, life-long disabilities, or even death. Despite numerous studies showing that underride guards prevent these injuries, trucks and buses are not required to have side guards.
Bikers are also at risk of car accidents. Pennsylvania law treats bikers the same as cars, meaning that they have the right to use the roadway, and other cars need to yield to them like they would any other car. If you were hit while riding a bike, you do not have the protection of airbags and a car around you to help keep you safe. Bike accidents are often fatal or result in serious injuries that require high-value compensation.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and falls are another major category of personal injury cases. In fact, slip and falls are the most common type of premises liability claim. In the winter, when snow and ice accumulate on roads and sidewalks, slip and fall accidents become even more common. However, slip and falls can affect anyone, at any time.
A slip and fall or trip and fall accident can be caused by almost any obstacle, slippery surface, or other hazard. Some common causes of slip and fall accidents include the following:
- Loose wires
- Snow and ice
- Loose railings
- Uneven surfaces
- Unstable surfaces
- Wet surfaces
In many cases, slip and fall accidents could have been prevented if not for the property owner’s negligent maintenance practices. Many towns and cities throughout Delaware County enforce their own property maintenance codes, and if owners violate these codes, they could be liable for causing your personal injury through negligence.
Truck Accident Injuries
Many of the highways in Delaware County are some of the largest transit hubs between the Philadelphia area, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard. This means that tons of freight and cargo are shipped through the area on large trucks, such as 18-wheelers, tractor-trailers, and semi trucks. Many of the trucking companies and truck drivers that own and operate these commercial vehicles violate federal trucking regulations, which could lead to serious truck accidents.
Our attorneys sue trucking companies that have violated federal trucking regulations to get compensation for injured truck accident victims. Many of the commonly violated trucking rules involve the following:
- “Hours of Service” regulations to prevent drowsy truck driving
- Weight limits to prevent overloaded and unstable trucks
- Equipment regulations to ensure safe vehicle operation
- Driver regulations requiring drug testing, clean driving records, and licensing rules
If a trucking company or a truck driver violated any of these rules, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The large legal teams that trucking companies use to protect their drivers and their profits require an equally sophisticated legal team to fight for your compensation. Our attorneys are able to stand up for you against these companies and get you the compensation you deserve.
When a procedure does not go as planned or your condition gets worse, you might initially think that there was nothing that could be done about it. However, many injuries, misdiagnoses, and worsened conditions are actually caused by medical mistakes and errors. In some cases, these issues allow you to file a lawsuit against an individual doctor for their surgical mistakes, anesthesia errors, or misdiagnosis. In other cases, it allows you to sue the hospital for inadequate nursing care or hospital-acquired infections.
Assault and Battery
Intentional injuries can also entitle you to a lawsuit. While many injury cases are based on accidents, assault and battery cases can help you get compensation for injuries you received in a fight or attack. In cases where you were assaulted by a bouncer at a bar or where an Uber or Lyft driver caused you physical injuries, you might be entitled to sue their employer. These cases can often lead to substantial compensation, especially if the establishment where you were assaulted was responsible for hiring a dangerous bouncer or employee that they should have known was likely to injure someone.
Delaware County is home to big employers, with some of the largest being…
- Crozer-Chester Medical Center and other healthcare employers
- Giant Food Stores
- Harrah’s Casino
- Colleges and universities
- Government and public sector employers
According to the Delaware County Commerce Center, some of these employers maintain a workforce of over 5,000 employees. Unfortunately, it so happens that the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks various types of industrial workers – such as those employed by the Boeing plant – in the top 10 most dangerous jobs. This means that Boeing employees are at a higher risk for workplace injuries than many other workers.
To make matters worse, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also cites healthcare workers as having an exceptionally high risk of workplace illness and injury. Due to the high concentrations of bacteria that thrive in medical settings, over 600,000 nurses, orderlies, and healthcare professionals report illness every year. In 2011, the incidence rate of injuries among healthcare workers was four times higher than the national rate.
The bottom line is that some of Delaware County’s largest employers are also the most dangerous. If you have been injured at your place of employment in Delaware County, you may be able to seek compensation.
Proving Fault in an Injury Lawsuit in Delaware County
When you file a lawsuit for injuries, it is important to have the evidence to prove your case. In court, it is the plaintiff’s burden to prove that there was an injury and that the defendant was at fault. The “burden of proof” in a civil lawsuit for injuries is known as a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This means that the plaintiff must prove it is more likely than not that the injury was the defendant’s fault. This is much lower than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden used in criminal cases.
To win your case, there are four elements your lawyer must prove:
- The at-fault party owed you a legal duty.
- The at-fault party breached that duty.
- The breach of duty caused your injuries.
- Your injuries include damages the court can compensate you for.
Typically, the “duty” in a case will be set depending on the relationship between the victim and the defendant. In some cases, such as a doctor-patient relationship, the duty is quite detailed, and proving the duty will be a huge part of the case. In other cases, the duty will simply be a duty to act with reasonable care and skill.
In many cases involving auto accidents or other common injuries, the breach will be clear based on the facts of the accident. For instance, someone who was driving under the influence or who failed to repair a broken handrail that they knew about clearly did something wrong. Often, these facts are enough to consider the defendant negligent.
Issues of causation do not come up in every case. Especially in cases of car accidents or medical malpractice, it is quite clear that the responsible individual caused the injuries. In other cases, there might be necessary facts to build a link between what the defendant did and how the injury occurred.
Lastly, the issue of damages is incredibly important. In some cases, it is obvious that you were indeed injured, especially if you still bear the scars of the injury. However, the court cannot order compensation without knowing how much your injury was worth. This makes it important to produce medical bills, financial statements, and other evidence showing how much the damages are actually worth.
Damages in an Injury Case in Delaware County
Insurance companies might be willing to pay for some damages, depending on the type of accident. Auto insurance, homeowners insurance, medical malpractice insurance, and other liability insurance often covers many injury cases, but the damages paid might not be enough to cover your case.
If you suffered severe injuries, insurance might fall short of paying your full damages. Insurance payouts often have deductibles and limitations that stop them from paying 100% of medical bills and lost wages. Moreover, insurance policies usually do not cover damages for pain and suffering. This means you might need to file a lawsuit to get the compensation you really need.
Your attorney can help assemble relevant evidence and help you calculate the damages in your case. If you suffered medical bills and lost wages because of an injury, it is the at-fault party’s responsibility to cover these damages in full. The at-fault party should also pay for intangible harms like physical pain and mental suffering.
The defendant’s legal team or insurance company might have their own idea about what the case should be worth. Injury victims often get offers to settle cases for low-dollar values that cover only a fraction of their expenses. These parties do not have your best interests in mind, and they do not work for you. It is better to have your own lawyer review the case so they can give you a better idea of what your claim is actually worth. Our attorney can help protect our clients from low settlements and fight to get them fair compensation in a lawsuit.
Work with Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Delaware County, Pennsylvania
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 lawyers 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) 246-9000.