I Slipped and Fell at a Store. What’s My Next Step?

If you slipped and fell at a store, you may be eligible for monetary compensation. However, in order to get it, you’ll need to prove that the business’s conditions caused your injuries. This process is challenging, and if you don’t navigate it optimally, you could be putting your emotional, financial, and physical well-being at risk.

To ensure you get compensated for your injuries, it’s essential that you hire an attorney who has extensive experience with slip and fall cases. If you’re in need of guidance after an accident, Erie Injury is here to outline the next steps in the process.

What is a Slip and Fall Accident?

A slip and fall accident is a type of personal injury that occurs on another person or entity’s property. In this situation, a victim, through no fault of their own, slips or trips and, as a result, falls.

These kinds of accidents account for over one million emergency room visits each year in the US. Additionally, slip and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and occupational injury for those aged 55 and over.

When seeking compensation, slip and fall cases are some of the most challenging types of personal injury cases to win. Liability is not automatic, and for a person or a business to be found liable for your injuries, a judge or jury needs to find them negligent. The right lawyer will work expeditiously to speak to witnesses, preserve evidence, and obtain security camera footage to build a strong case.

Seek Medical Care Immediately

Whether you can clearly see your injuries or they’re more internal, it’s critical that you seek medical care immediately. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been hurt, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. During a traumatic accident, your body releases adrenaline/epinephrine that could temporarily mask your pain. Furthermore, documentation from a doctor will be helpful in later steps.

Be diligent about keeping track of your doctor’s bills or other accident-related expenses, including any absences from work. An attorney will use these receipts and work documentation when determining a proper settlement amount.

Survey the Scene

If you or someone you’re with is safely able to examine your surroundings and identify what caused you to fall, do it and document it with a photo while you’re still at the scene. Be on the lookout for:

  • Broken stairs or handrails
  • Bunched up carpeting
  • Icy parking lots and sidewalks
  • Spills on the floor
  • Uneven flooring or pavement
  • Wet floors

Depending on the severity of your injuries, documenting the issue may not be an option. If you were unable to photograph what happened, write down as much as you can as soon as you’re safe and able—the more detailed, the better.

Contact an Attorney

After a slip and fall accident, the property owner’s insurance company will attempt to contact you. We strongly encourage you to not talk to the insurance adjuster without an attorney. Insurance companies will try to use your statement to deny liability for your fall.

Ultimately, the sooner your hire an attorney, the faster you can win your case. Be sure to find one who has ample experience handling slip and fall cases.

Request Security Camera Footage

It might amaze you how easily you can acquire security footage from a scene. And, the number of security cameras is only increasing. In fact, from 2015 to 2018, the number of installed surveillance cameras grew nearly 50 percent, from 47 to 70 million, in the United States.

Video can provide supporting evidence that there were dangerous conditions that the store owner should have known about. Moral of the story: Even if you don’t think the store has security cameras, ask anyways. If there’s footage available, having it could be the difference between winning and losing your case.

Find Witnesses

If you fell in the store, it’s likely that somebody saw the incident. If there were people around, get their contact information. If they allow it, you might also want to get a quick statement at the scene rather than trying to track them down again later as witness accounts can be vital to the process of verifying the incident. If you’ve hired an attorney, they’ll likely want to get a recorded or written statement from each person who saw the accident.

File an Official Incident Report

A paper trail is always helpful when it comes to a slip and fall accident. If the store has a system to do so, file a complaint or send a letter with the help of an attorney. In this communication, you should provide proof of negligence on the store’s part. You may want to include photos of the environment where you slipped and fell.

A claims adjuster will call you shortly after you file this claim. When they do, do not provide a statement upon request. Instead, contact your lawyer immediately, and they’ll contact the insurance company on your behalf.

Get Back on Your Feet

Slip and fall accidents can be scary, and it’s hard to know what to do when one occurs. After seeking medical attention, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience working on slip and falls to help ensure your injuries are covered. Contact an attorney at Erie Injury today if you’ve recently had a slip and fall accident and need help getting compensated for your injuries.

What Types of Personal Injuries Does Your Firm Handle?

Law firms come in all sizes, practice types, and legal focuses. To ensure more effective representation, the attorneys at Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Larger (Erie Injury) focus on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security Disability cases.

From car accidents to product liability claims, we’re your go-to source when someone or something hurt you and you need representation. If you or a family member has suffered a personal injury, read on to learn more about Erie Injury’s services, the benefits of working with focused firm, and our core values.

About Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Larger (ErieInjury.com)

Since 1985, we’ve been helping victims in Northwestern Pennsylvania seek compensation for their injuries. Our dedication to our clients has allowed our firm to solidify its place as a regional leader.

To ensure the best service and highest probability of recovery for our clients, we focus on only three case types: personal injuries, workers’ compensation, and Social Security Disability. The reason we chose these three areas is because injuries often overlap more than one of those case types. Rather than send clients to multiple attorneys, Erie Injury can handle it all in-house. While there are so many ways injuries may occur, here are some of the most frequent types of cases we work on:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

If it transports people or goods and hurts you or a loved one in the process, chances are good this case will fall under a motor vehicle/auto accident. At Erie Injury, we find compensation for people recovering from injuries caused by vehicles:

2.2 million people a year suffer from injuries related to car accidents. In Pennsylvania alone, there are more than 100,000 crashes a year. If you suspect another driver’s negligence caused your injuries, we strongly urge you to speak with a lawyer before speaking with a claims adjuster. Beyond typical vehicle collisions, Erie Injury frequently works on:

  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Hit-and-runs
  • Uninsured & underinsured driver cases
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents

Wrongful Death

There are few, if any, events in life more difficult than losing a loved one. When a family member dies because of a person or company’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, this situation is called a wrongful death. In the case of wrongful death, our attorneys will help your family get the compensation to which you are entitled under Pennsylvania law, which may include:

– Estate administration expenses
– Funeral expenses
– Loss of the family relationship
– Lost earnings and wages
– Lost future earning capacity
– Medical bills
– Pain and suffering
– Punitive damages

Please know that Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations typically requires you to file a wrongful death suit within two years of a family member’s death. Therefore, it’s essential to act quickly and hire an attorney who focuses on wrongful death cases.

Work-Related Accidents

If you’re injured at work in Pennsylvania, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier should pay for your medical bills and lost wages. Unfortunately, hiring a lawyer is often necessary to make sure you are compensated fairly. While it’s challenging to think about what to do after you’ve been injured, it’s vital that you:

  • Report your work injury to your supervisor
  • File an incident report within 120 days
  • Receive medical treatment
  • Document everything
  • Find out how much your weekly benefits will be
  • Find an attorney

Even if you’re currently receiving workman’s comp, it’s possible you’re being underpaid. If you’ve been injured on the job and you can’t go back, make sure you find representation.

Product Liability

Every year, millions of people are injured by dangerous and defective products. Whether these injuries occur at home or work, it’s critical to contact an experienced injury attorney. For more than 30 years, the experts at Erie Injury have been handling defective product litigation cases. From crushed limbs to severe burns, we’ve dealt with a wide range of cases.

Product liability cases can be highly complex. Moreover, manufacturers often spend exorbitant amounts of money paying their lawyers to prevent being held liable for any damages. For these reasons, it’s critical to find a seasoned attorney who fights for you.

Slip and Falls

Whether ice and snow or slippery floors caused you harm, Erie Injury is well-equipped to handle slip-and-fall accidents. Much like in an auto accident, it’s critical that you contact a lawyer before you speak to an insurance adjuster. Insurance companies will try to minimize payouts as much as possible and could use your statements against you.

In conjunction with slip-and-falls, we also handle trip-and-falls. These cases typically occur when someone trips and falls because of uneven sidewalks, broken pavement, or dangerous stairs.

To create a comprehensive case, we’ll review local and uniform building codes, hire engineers, and speak with witnesses who might have previously reported the dangerous condition to the owners of the premises.

Dog Bites

Yes, they’re cute, but they can also be a source of serious injury. Dog bites often result in lacerations that require stitches and could leave permanent scarring. Yet, many people don’t realize that you can make a claim against the dog owner via their Homeowner’s Insurance to cover your injuries.

However, in Pennsylvania, liability for dog bites is not guaranteed. You need to prove negligence. Therefore, it’s helpful to hire an attorney who focuses in these types of injuries.

Attorneys with Core Values

As industry, technology, and law become increasingly complex, the axiom “a jack-of-all-trades is a master of none” continues to ring true. With a precise focus, we’re optimized to provide our clients with unrivaled guidance and better outcomes.

We serve people of all races, genders, sexual identities, religious backgrounds, body types, and socioeconomic statuses. However, we do not help drunk drivers. Furthermore, we do not represent insurance companies. By focusing our services and following our core beliefs, we ensure the best possible case for clients.

At Erie Injury, we strive to help people who can’t afford to hire an attorney. To make good on this goal, our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning we only charge a fee if we obtain a settlement or money judgment for our clients. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you earn a recovery for your injury, please reach out today.

6 Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident

Slip and fall accidents aren’t something you plan for, so it’s hard to know what to do next when one happens. Though the force of the initial impact can be difficult to shake, it’s important to remember that your physical, emotional, and financial well-being might be at stake, and you’ll want to act accordingly. In this post, Erie Injury, Erie, Pennsylvania’s slip and fall personal injury attorneys, explain everything you need to know after a fall to ensure you’re compensated fairly.

What is a Slip and Fall Accident?

Slip and fall accidents are a type of personal injury that occurs on another person or entity’s property in which a person slips or trips and, as a result, falls. Common causes of slip and falls include:

  • Wet floors
  • Broken stairs or handrails
  • Spills on the floor
  • Icy parking lots and sidewalks

In the United States, slip and falls account for over one million emergency room visits each year. What’s more, slip and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and the leading cause of occupational injury for those aged 55 and over.

After a slip and fall accident, the property owner’s insurance company will quickly attempt to contact you in hopes of getting a recorded statement. Do not talk to the insurance adjuster without an attorney. Insurance companies will try to use your statement to deny liability for your fall. Instead, follow these steps immediately after the incident, and contact a lawyer as soon as you’re able.

Seek Medical Attention

After a fall, your health and safety should be your number one priority. Even if you don’t seem to be hurt, a thorough check-up with a doctor will ensure no minor bumps and bruises turn into a more severe injury down the line. Plus, your physician will document any resulting ailments, which will provide the necessary proof of injury your lawyer will need during the settlement process.

Inspect the Scene and Determine Why You Fell

When you’re able and safe, take a look around the scene to determine what exactly caused you to fall. Pay close attention to environmental conditions such as ice or snow build-up, obstacles left by a landlord or an employee of the premise, loose floorboards, uneven carpet, or any other potentially dangerous condition that could have caused you to fall. Once you’ve identified the area of concern, photograph it thoroughly.

If possible, try to determine how long the dangerous condition was present on the property. The longer the circumstance persisted, the more likely your fall resulted from negligent ownership.

Identify Witnesses

Witnesses can be a crucial component for verifying events. Look for any bystanders in the vicinity who may have seen you fall, and, at minimum, get their contact information. However, it’s important to remember that your fall isn’t as important to the witness as it is to you. Therefore, if the witness is willing, it can be helpful for your attorney to get a recorded or written statement shortly thereafter. The reason being, they’re more likely to remember essential details just after the fall happened, and it’ll save you the hassle of trying to track them down as the case progresses.

Document the Accident

Proper documentation provides the proof you need to show negligence on the property owner’s part, so you must take the time to record as much of the incident as possible.

Take photos of what caused you to fall and be sure to take a few pictures of your resulting injuries. Additionally, try to secure any available video footage from security cameras in or around the property.

Keep a written record for your own purposes, including the date, time, and location of the fall. Note what you were doing right before the fall happened, and keep track of any witnesses or other people you spoke with when the incident occurred. Taking these steps as you go will ensure you don’t leave out any critical details that could help bolster your settlement or otherwise solidify your case.

Of course, keep track of any doctor’s bills or other accident-related expenses, including absence from work. Your attorney will use all of this information when determining a proper settlement amount.

*Bonus Tip: Stay off social media. While it might feel like an instinct to appeal to your networks for a kind ear and supportive advice, any statement you make on the internet can be used against you later. One comment about feeling alright or “just tripping” could result in a negative outcome for your case.

Make an Official Report

Before you leave the scene, file an official report with the property owner or manager. It’s ok to be vague in the initial filing, but you’ll want to include enough detail that indicates the possible severity of your injuries without adding any embellishments.

Filing a report before you leave the premises shows that you take the accident seriously. Of course, this report will likely prompt the property owner to enter a claim with their insurance company. A claims adjuster will then call you requesting a statement. It’s critical that you don’t answer this phone call. Instead, contact a lawyer immediately, and they’ll deal directly with the insurance company for you.

Find an Attorney

It’s vital to hire a personal injury lawyer expeditiously, as evidence needs to be preserved, and the property owner’s insurance company needs to be put on notice.

In Pennsylvania, property owners, including commercial property, apartments, and single-family homes, are required to maintain a safe environment for residents and visitors. When a slip and fall happens, you must prove the other party was negligent for your damages to be covered.

However, know that insurance companies and property owners will work hard to make sure they’re not held accountable for the accident. Hiring an attorney who specializes in slip and fall accidents is essential as the court is less likely to settle in your favor when a lawyer isn’t present.

Get the Help You Need

Slip and falls are scary, and it’s hard to know exactly what to do when they occur. After seeking medical attention, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer who focuses on slip and falls to help ensure your injuries are covered. If you’ve recently had a slip and fall accident and need help understanding your rights, contact an attorney at Erie Injury today.

4 Reasons You Should Never Talk to a Claims Adjuster After an Auto Accident

If you’ve been in an auto accident, you’re likely wading through the waters of uncertainty, worry, and doubt. And while it’s tempting to think of your car insurance as your lifeboat, the reality can be quite different. Before you talk to a claims adjuster, make you have a lawyer by your side. By doing so, you’ll save time, money, and a whole lot of heartache.

In this post, the experts at Erie Injury, Erie’s premier car accident lawyers, lay out everything you need to know about claims adjusters, why you should have a lawyer before you talk to one. Additionally, we’ve included a few tips to ensure the best possible outcome of your accident.

What is a Claims Adjuster?

Claims adjusters are employees of insurance companies tasked with investigating accidents, determining fault, and settling claims. Whether you got into a minor fender bender or someone totaled your car, a claims adjuster will likely become involved. However, it’s essential to realize that claims adjusters are usually trying to settle in favor of the insurance company for which they work.

Sometimes referred to as claims handlers, claims specialists, or claims analysts, these adjusters try to understand who and what was involved and who may be responsible for damages incurred. However, because claims adjusters work for insurance companies, they are typically trained to find ways of minimizing payouts.

After an accident, claims adjusters will assess vehicle damage, take photos of their findings, interview passengers and witnesses, and gather police records and hospital reports. To calculate a settlement amount, they’ll then consider any cost incurred from medical expenses, time off work, vehicle damage, and personal pain and suffering.

Of course, this process is laden with pitfalls. Be sure your case is settled fairly and that a claims adjuster cannot use the following tactics against you by hiring a lawyer before beginning these conversations. Here’s why:

  1. They’ll Try to Find Holes in Your Story

After you file a claim with an insurance company, the claims adjuster assigned to the case will likely call you, and fast. But it’s not in your best interest to answer that call right away. Instead, call a lawyer first and have them contact the insurance company.

Car accidents are stressful, and the added pressure of answering an adjuster’s questions thoroughly and honestly can be a lot to handle. However, if your first point of contact is a lawyer, you’ll have time to better understand your own losses, ensure your physical health and safety, and think talk through the resulting damages.

  1. They’ll Try to Record Your Statement

Though sticking to your story is an essential step in ensuring your claim is processed fairly, a recorded statement could rope you into damaging inconsistency down the road. If you make the mistake of speaking to an adjuster personally, they’ll ask if they can record your initial statement, and most people are inclined to agree. A lawyer, however, would handle that initial call and determine if it is appropriate and advantageous to have the claims adjuster record it. Either way, your lawyer may choose to deliver an agreed-upon statement that is not damaging to you and can be altered later if more details are recalled.

*Bonus Tip: Share Photos and Videos of the Accident

Your first step after an accident should be to ensure that you and the others involved are safe from further harm and are uninjured. If anyone has been hurt, seek medical attention immediately. Afterward, use your mobile phone to snap a few pictures of the incident. If you don’t have your phone with you, or if it was damaged in the accident, consider asking a witness to take photos for you.

Of course, photos of the vehicle and resulting damages can be essential, but don’t forget to document the entirety of the scene. Look for any indicators of normal traffic flow (stop signs, traffic lights, merge points, etc.) that may have been violated and caused the accident to happen. Be sure to check for any traffic cameras or, if in a parking lot, building cameras that the insurance companies might use to pull footage of the accident.

When you feel confident that everything has been photographed or videoed, send the footage to your lawyer. They’ll determine which images might benefit your case and which could be potentially damaging.

  1. They’ll  Downplay Your Injuries or Damages

Claims adjusters will often approach you in a friendly manner, making you feel a false sense of security. What can seem like a casual conversation with a helpful person might actually be a chance to get you to say your damages or injuries weren’t that serious. This kind of minor misstep can minimize payouts for damages or even result in a complete rejection of your claim.

Similarly, a claims adjuster will try to entice you to share irrelevant information about past injuries or damages to your vehicle. Doing so could give them an opening to disregard large portions of your case on the grounds of preexisting conditions or past auto accidents. However, if your lawyer has all relevant information and documentation, they’ll know what to share with the insurance company and what could damage your case.

  1. They’ll Offer You an Unfair Settlement

As an adjuster prepares to settle your claim, they’ll make an offer based on the information gathered throughout the process. Your lawyer will have an idea of how much the accident has cost you and will be able to ensure the settlement offer covers your losses accordingly.

Keep in mind, you’re also eligible for personal loss and suffering compensation, and having an attorney help you negotiate that amount is crucial for a fair settlement. A lawyer will conduct an investigation separate from the claims adjuster’s and work with (or against, if necessary) the insurance company to reach maximum compensation for you.

*Bonus Tip: Document Your Losses Diligently

If you have to pay for any injuries or damages out of pocket upfront, be sure to keep receipts and reports that specify the exact reasoning for the spending. For example, if you need your car to travel for work and need it repaired before the claim is settled, you could be eligible for compensation for those repairs. Additionally, if you have any emergency room admittance fees or other medical expenses, be sure to save those bills and submit them to your lawyer as part of your claim.

Should the accident result in any extended time off from work, document your absence and the pay you’ve missed as a result. Lost wages can all be claimed as a loss from the accident, and you could be eligible for full reimbursement. If you’re continuing to miss time from work, future wage loss can be a large portion of your settlement that an attorney can help demonstrate by hiring expert witnesses.

Let the Pros Handle Your Case

Auto accidents are stressful, and knowing exactly how to handle them the moment they happen can pile on even more worry. When an incident occurs, you want to call someone you can trust, and an professional such as those at Erie Injury can help make sure your damages are covered and that you aren’t incurring any additional expenses.

Contact our office today if you’ve been in an accident and need help navigating what happens next!

What to Do After a Personal Injury Accident?

The experience of an injury can be frightening, confusing, and physically and mentally traumatizing. Whether you were in a car accident, slipped and fell, or were involved in any other kind of accident, receiving medical attention should always be the first step. However, it’s essential to know what happens after the emergency room or doctor’s visit.

If you’re searching for an answer about what to do after you’re injured, Erie Injury, Erie, Pennsylvania’s go-to law firm for personal injury cases, has you covered. We’ll discuss the most common personal injuries, the personal injury claim process, and where to go for help.

The Most Common Personal Injury Accidents

There are nearly endless ways for a person to get injured. That said, there are certainly a few scenarios that stand out by frequency. Some of the most common injuries include:

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2.2 million people annually suffer from injuries related to car accidents. In Pennsylvania alone, there are more than 100,000 crashes a year.

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for over 8 million hospital and emergency room visits. Slip and falls, where someone falls due to a slip, occur over 1 million times annually. Moreover, slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.

In conjunction with slips and falls, the most common workplace injuries are exposure to harmful substances or environments and overexertion. According to the Bureau of Labor, private industry employers report around 2.7 million workplace injuries annually.

While every person’s injury is unique, there are some best practices you’ll want to follow after you’ve been injured:

  • Seek medical attention
  • Document your injury
  • Find an injury lawyer
  • Settle or file a lawsuit with the help of an attorney
  • Negotiate and mediate (if needed)
  • Go to trial (if needed)

Seek Medical Attention

Your health, safety, and wellbeing always need to be your first priority. Seek medical attention immediately and call the police, fire department, and emergency medical service (EMS) if needed. In addition to keeping you safe, this part of the process is also vital to ensure there is documentation of your injury. Keep all of your medical bills, police reports, and other notes for future reference.

Document Your Injury

Memories get less accurate as time passes. Therefore, in conjunction with police reports and doctor’s notes, you should take the time to create your own account of what happened. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may not be able to gather information from others that were at the scene. However, if possible, get witness information, and, if you’re in an automobile accident, it’s essential you get the following information from the other driver:

  • Address
  • Insurance info
  • License number
  • License plate
  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Take pictures!

Also, consider if there is any evidence available that may be helpful in a court case. Photos and videos serve as excellent pieces of evidence, so don’t be afraid to capture as much of the scene as you can.

Find an Injury Lawyer

You should find a personal injury lawyer to represent you to ensure you’re compensated fully for your injury. Be sure to give your lawyer any documents from your doctor’s visits, police reports, and your own account of the situation. These records of the accident will be valuable if there is a lawsuit.

If you’re unsure if you need a lawyer, consider the severity of your injuries, who is at fault, and any insurance complications. If your injuries are severe, alcohol was involved, legal liability is uncertain, claims were denied, and/or the injury has caused you financial hardship, it’s a smart idea to reach out for help. Even if you don’t think your injuries are that severe, it’s best to run your facts by a lawyer first before trying to handle it on your own. You never know what an attorney can do for you unless you ask.

Your lawyer will help you file a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim is a legal dispute that arises when a person or business has caused harm to someone and may be legally responsible for the resulting damages.

We recommend searching for a lawyer who works on a contingency fee, as our firm does. Doing so eliminates the need for upfront costs as the fee only applies in the case of recovery, meaning the lawyer will get a percent of the awarded funds, but you won’t be charged for their services if you aren’t awarded money in the settlement or verdict.

Settle or File a Lawsuit

Personal injury claims often settle before your lawyer files a lawsuit. However, when parties can’t agree, the claim needs to go into litigation. 

Negotiate and Mediate

A filed personal injury lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to go to court. In fact, many cases settle without ever going to trial. However, there are instances where parties are simply unable to reach an agreement on their own, in which case they may consider mediation.

Go to Trial

Unfortunately, negotiation and mediation don’t always work. In this scenario, your case will go to trial, where a judge or jury decides the outcome of the personal injury lawsuit. Should the court rule in your favor, you could be entitled to compensation.

Get Help When You Need It

Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Whether you’re dealing with mounting medical expenses or lost income, the impact of personal injuries can cause significant financial hardships. If you or a family member has suffered injuries due to another individual or business, contact the personal injury lawyers at Erie Injury.

What is the Personal Injury Claim Process?

Be it at home, at work, or on the road, accidents can happen anywhere. Between medical expenses and lost income, personal injuries can cause myriad financial hardships. However, if a person or business’s negligent or reckless conduct caused your injury, you may be entitled to compensation.

While on the path to re-establishing your financial and physical wellbeing, you’ll likely go through the personal injury claim process. To guide your way, Erie Injury, a leading law firm specializing in personal injury, is here to help. In this post, we’ll review the personal injury claim process, how it works, and what you can expect.

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

To help you understand what a personal injury claim is, it’s important to understand what constitutes a personal injury. As defined by Cornell Law School, personal injuries include every variety of injury to a person’s body, emotions, or reputation, as contradistinguished from injury to property rights.

Accordingly, a personal injury claim, often referred to as a personal injury case or personal injury lawsuit, is a legal dispute that arises when a person or business has caused harm to someone and may be legally responsible for the resulting damages.

There are three main grounds on which a person can initiate a personal injury claim:

  1. Negligence: Failure to behave with care
  2. Strict Liability: Individuals or businesses are responsible for an action.
  3. Intentional Wrongs: Individuals committed a wrongful act intentionally

It’s vital to realize that personal injury claims don’t just arise from bodily harm. People can file a lawsuit if an individual or business damages their mental wellbeing or reputation. To help you discern between the two, consider a few examples:

Bodily HarmNon-Bodily Harm
Assault
Automobile accidents
Medical malpractice
Product defect accidents 
Workplace accidents
Defamation
False detention, arrest, or imprisonment
Intentional infliction of emotional distress
Invasion of privacy
Malicious prosecution

If a plaintiff (the party who brings legal action) is successful, the defendant’s (the party being sued) insurance company (or through personal means) will award money to compensate for injuries. This compensation typically covers:

  • Lost wages 
  • Medical expenses
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering

The Personal Injury Claim Process

The personal injury claim process is complicated to navigate. The claimant must be mindful of the statute of limitations—the appropriate timeframe in which a lawsuit must be filed. Furthermore, a detailed understanding of past rulings is essential to a fair settlement. The steps you should expect to take include, but are not limited to:

  • Seeking medical attention
  • Documenting your accident
  • Finding an injury lawyer
  • Settling or Filing a lawsuit
  • Negotiating and Mediating
  • Going to Trial

Seeking Medical Attention

If you’re injured, your first priority is to seek medical attention. Doing so is essential to your physical wellbeing and your potential future settlement. Be sure to keep all of your medical bills and records on file to ensure your claim is accurately documented and settled appropriately.

Documenting Your Accident

Most people’s memories get less accurate as time passes after an event. For this reason, it’s a good idea to take notes about your accident while it’s still fresh in your mind. If there is any evidence available, be sure to collect and preserve it.

Finding an Injury Lawyer

Next, you’ll need to find a personal injury lawyer to represent you. Whether your case gets resolved through an informal settlement or you need to go to civil court, a lawyer can help ensure you’re compensated fully. From the discovery phase (where both the plaintiff and defendant’s lawyers gather evidence) to the conclusion of the trial, they’ll help keep you informed through the entire process.

When you find your lawyer, be prepared to be interviewed about your accident. They’ll review what happened, your medical treatment, and your injuries. Ideally, you’ll have these records on hand so nothing is overlooked or mishandled.

Settling or Filing a Lawsuit

Many minor personal injury claims settle before a lawsuit is filed. However, if parties can’t come to an agreement, a claim will need to transition into litigation. During this phase, your lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.

Negotiating and Mediating 

In many cases, both parties are able to negotiate to potentially settle without going to trial. However, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own, they might consider participating in a mediation, a process wherein a third-party mediator helps to resolve the case. Settling before trial can save valuable time and money, so it’s frequently worth considering. That said, sometimes a deal cannot be made.

Going to Trial

In some cases, negotiation and mediation don’t work. When no settlement is reached, the case goes to trial. Here, a judge or jury decides the outcome of the personal injury lawsuit. If the court rules in your favor, your lawyer will then assist you in collecting compensation. In some cases, a defendant may file a post-trial motion or appeal to determine whether there was an error in the ruling.

Don’t Go Through the Process Alone

The legal system is complicated and when it comes to personal injuries, being expeditious is critical. If you or a family member has suffered injuries due to another individual or business, contact the personal injury lawyers at Erie Injury. All of our lawyers work on a contingency fee, meaning there is no fee unless there is a recovery in your case!

Distracted Driving Accident Statistics and Prevention

PennDOT reports that there were 104,475 traffic crashes on Pennsylvania roads in 2020, killing more than 1,000 people and injuring more than 61,000. This equates to three people fatally injured each day, and one death every eight hours.

Distracted driving is a big factor in many of these fatal motor vehicle crashes. 

The NHTSA reports that in 2019, more than 3,000 people were killed in fatal distracted driving accidents, making it the cause of nearly 9 percent of all crash fatalities that year in the U.S. 

What qualifies as distracted driving?

Distracted is defined by the NHTSA as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”

Texting and driving is the biggest distraction and has the most potential for fatalities. Taking five seconds to send or read a text while driving at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.  

Dangers of distracted driving

It only takes a split second of driving distracted to permanently ruin someone’s life—including your own. From an injury there is no possibility of recovering from, to a fatality, the decision to drive distracted can be catastrophic. 

Teenagers and young adults are the most likely to engage in distracted driving. The CDC reports that 25 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were young adults aged 20–29, and drivers aged 15-19 were even more likely to be distracted than drivers aged 20 and older.

What should you do if you are injured by a distracted driver?

If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver in Pennsylvania, you might be entitled to punitive damages in addition to compensation. Our team of car accident attorneys represents car accident victims of distracted drivers and people who text while driving. We can help you recover your lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. Call our Pennsylvania Car Accident Law Firm for a free consultation at 814-452-6232.

Do’s and Don’ts for When You’re Injured at Work

Getting injured at work is stressful. For one, you’re hurt. Two, you’ll need to go through the paperwork-laden process of reporting your injury. And three, you’ll have to avoid the many pitfalls that can limit your workers’ compensation.

Whether you slipped on a wet floor or strained a muscle lifting a heavy item, you need to take the proper steps to ensure compensation for your injury. In this blog post, Erie Injury, your go-to lawyers for effective personal injury representation, outlines what actions you should and should not take when injured on the job.

A Quick Look at Workplace Injuries

Accidents occur on the job more often than you might think. The National Safety Council (NSC) stated a workplace injury occurs every seven seconds, which tallies up to a  total of 88,500 individual injuries a week—that’s 4,600,000 injuries a year!

Of course, some industries such as emergency services, transportation, and manufacturing come with a higher risk of injury. Although proper training and guidance help minimize workplace injuries, accidents still happen. The most common injuries are:

  1. Overexertion (33.54%)
  2. Contact with objects and equipment (26%)
  3. Slips, trips, and falls (25.8%)

What You Should Do

When you’re injured on the job, it’s critical to follow specific guidelines in order to maintain and protect your workers’ compensation benefits. If you have an accident at work:

  1. Receive Immediate Medical Attention (And Keep Records)

If a person or object has severely injured you on the job, do not attempt to move as it can cause further injury and pain. Instead, call 911 to receive immediate medical care or have someone call for you. Follow your doctor’s orders after receiving medical attention and establish whether you have sustained any permanent injuries.

During this process, it is imperative that you keep documentation of your medical records, including receipts and bills. If you do not see a doctor, proving that you were injured is significantly more difficult. It may also create unwanted issues and processing delays with insurance companies.

Gather Witnesses

Asking witnesses on the scene to help corroborate your injury claim will help you in your fight to receive proper compensation. You should ask for the witness’s name, address, and phone number so that the insurance agency may contact them if necessary.

  1. Report Your Injury

Once you have received medical care, report your injury to your supervisor as soon as you are able. However, you should refrain from providing extraneous details regarding your physical health and mental/emotional state. Often, because we’re scared and confused during the time of an injury, our actual account of the situation may be different than what happened in reality. 

So, when contacting your supervisor, simply inform them of the incident, including the date, time, and exact location. If you can, keep a written account of this report. 

Speak to an Attorney 

After seeking medical attention and reporting your injury, consult and hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case. An ​​attorney will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve by reviewing all of your documents as well as the laws that pertain to your incident. 

What You Shouldn’t Do

When it comes to reporting a personal injury, certain actions you can take may hinder your claim. Here is what you shouldn’t do after getting hurt at work:

  1. Give a Recorded Statement

Insurance companies seek out recorded statements in order to find any faults in your claim. The problem is, people are often confused about what actually occurred when they were injured. For this reason, avoid giving a recorded statement until the facts are straightened out and you’ve talked to a lawyer and medical professional.

Furthermore, do not discuss the details of your accident with those who are not involved in your case. If you do, make sure to have a lawyer present. He/She/They will prevent you from falling into early settlement traps set by insurance companies. 

  1. Sign a Medical Release

If an insurance company asks you to sign a medical release, your answer should be no. While pre-existing conditions can be a cause, oftentimes they have nothing to do with a workplace injury. If you sign a medical release form, insurance companies may attempt to argue that your work-related injury is due to your prior injury or pre-existing condition.

At the same time, hiding your injuries may harm your case. How you choose to disclose your prior injuries can make or break your case, which is why you should hire and speak to an attorney for guidance. 

In short, insurance companies will use any information they find in your records to lower your settlement or deny your claim. You are not required to sign a blanket medical authorization form to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

  1. Accept Premature Settlements

Personal injury lawyers will see that you obtain a fair injury settlement, which is why it’s crucial to hire one. If you settle too early and without a lawyer, it is unlikely that you will get the compensation to which you are entitled. An experienced attorney knows what your case is worth and how to maximize your case’s value.

Your Personal Injury Lawyers 

Whether you’ve been injured by work equipment or have fallen on the job, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The attorneys at Erie Injury will assist you in making the most out of your case by thoroughly investigating your claim at no cost to you. Call 814-452-6232 for a free consultation, or visit our contact page for more information!

Safe Driving Tips for Winter

The wintery weather has officially arrived. Whether we’re traveling in a heavy, sleeting rain, snow or slippery ice, driving in these conditions can be treacherous—and even deadly.

According to the US DOT, more than 20,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021 alone (January – June), which is an 18.4% increase since 2020. It is the largest number of auto accident fatalities reported since 2006. 

Beyond these tragic fatalities, around three million people in the U.S. are injured annually in an auto accident. Two million of them experience permanent, life-altering injuries.

While you can’t control other cars and their drivers, there are some precautions you can take and tips you should follow to ensure you stay safe out on the roads this winter – and all year.

Slow Down

If you are unable to avoid driving in extreme weather conditions, be sure you go slow. The NHTSA reports that in the past twenty years, “speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. In 2019, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities.”

A car driving at a slow rate of speed is much easier to control than a car driving at a high rate of speed – especially on snow-covered, icy roads. In addition to slowing down, it’s also important to be aware of how close you are to the car in front of you. Keep more distance between you in case you need to stop quickly. Leave your house earlier, so you have more time to get where you need to go. 

Plan Your Route

In addition to leaving earlier, be sure to also check the weather and current road conditions. Plan your trip accordingly. If you’re embarking on a long car trip, be sure to get familiar with the directions beforehand. Let friends/family know when you anticipate arriving.

Check The Tires

Cold temperatures affect tire pressure, causing it to drop. In preparation for driving this winter, be sure to fill your car’s tires with the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure. This can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or the label on the driver’s side door frame. 

It’s a good idea to inspect your tires monthly – and before long road trips. Be sure to check each tire’s age, tire pressure and any damage, including cracks, bumps, punctures, etc. If you find any damage or cause for concern, head to your nearest tire service. 

Winter Car Kit

In addition to a full tank of gas and antifreeze, consider preparing a “winter car kit” to keep in your trunk in case you do have an emergency while driving in the snow. Items that could be helpful include:

  • Jumper cables 
  • Blankets and hand warmers
  • Extra mittens, socks and hats
  • Bottled water
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Flashlight and batteries 
  • First-aid kit
  • Snow shovel
  • Road flares or reflective warning triangles

Avoid Distracted Driving

It’s never a good idea to drive while distracted—that includes texting, eating, talking on your phone and driving impaired. Coupled with wintery weather, distracted driving can be a recipe for disaster. Be sure to always wear your seat belt and make sure your passengers are buckled as well.

Emergency Tips

  • Stay focused. Pay attention to your own body and well-being, your passengers, your car, and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t overexert yourself. 
  • Stay in your car. If your vehicle does get stuck in the snow, you should stay in it. Not only does it provide shelter from the weather, it makes it easier for first responders to locate you. If possible, tie a bright piece of fabric to your car’s antenna and keep your interior lights on. 
  • Keep the exhaust pipe clear. A blocked exhaust pipe can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • Stay calm, stay warm. Use blankets, jackets or anything you have available to keep your body warm inside your vehicle. 

When Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you or someone you know was hurt in an accident, you might be wondering if you should hire a personal injury lawyer. Depending on the severity of your injuries, who is at fault, and any insurance complications—along with a variety of other factors—chances are good it’s worth reaching out to one. 

Erie Injury, your go-to attorneys for personal injury, car accidents, and workers’ compensation, is here to help. In this post, we’ll cut through the chaos and discover what you need, several situations that may call for a personal injury lawyer, and what you can do to recover mentally, physically, and financially.

An Overview of Accidents

According to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts, the United States experienced 173,040 preventable deaths, 48.3 million injuries, and $1,097.9 billion in costs in 2019. Within those thousands of deaths and millions of injuries, there are a wide variety of circumstances that may have called for the involvement of a personal injury lawyer. 

  1. You’re Suffering From Severe Injuries

When it comes to being injured in an accident, minor aches and pains may be a symptom of more severe issues. For instance, a bruise could actually be a broken rib, while a backache could signify a herniated disk.

Some injuries can turn out to be worse than what your primary care provider initially thinks, making it crucial to get a second opinion. You never want to settle your own case without consulting with a personal injury attorney.

If you hire a personal injury lawyer, they will rightfully deter you from prematurely settling a case until you are aware of the full extent of your injuries. A lawyer will also inform you of pain and suffering damages that you may be entitled to claim during a case, such as the following:

  • Physical Injuries
  • Medical Treatments and Prognosis
  • Emotional and Mental Pain
  • Employment Leave of Absence

Your lawyer will use a number of documents and records to help demonstrate the full value of your case:

  • Medical Bills, Records, and Prognosis
  • Witness Testimonies (e.g., friends, family members, third-parties)
  • Photos of Your Injuries
  • Psychiatric Records
  1. Alcohol Was Involved

The Dram Shop Law/Liquor Liability in Pennsylvania states that the establishment or licensed individual who serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person may be responsible for injuries and damages. Alcohol consumption can lead to the occurrence of a number of different tragedies:

  • Drunk Driving Accidents
  • Car accidents
  • Boating Accidents
  • Drownings
  • Bar Fights
  • Slip-and-Fall Incidents

If you have suffered injuries by the actions of an individual under the influence, a personal injury lawyer will be able to walk you through your case.

  1. You Don’t Know Who’s at Fault

Legal liability—or fault—refers to who is responsible for the accident or injury that has occurred. While the court ultimately determines legal liability, a personal injury lawyer will investigate all the parties at fault in order to properly present your case. Even if responsibility for an accident or injury is unclear, you should hire a personal injury lawyer to help perform an investigation. 

Liability is most often determined by:

  • Negligent Acts (absence of executing reasonable care)
  • Failure to Comply With the Law
  • Product Defectiveness
  • Routine Maintenance (e.g., properties, buildings)
  1. There Are Insurance Complications 

If the insurance company denies your claim, you may feel as if you’re left to navigate your finances and injuries on your own. However, with a personal injury lawyer, that isn’t the case. More often than not, insurance companies deny claims due to uncertainty regarding liability. Your lawyer may effectively help you dispute the insurance company’s decision. 

There are several other reasons for claim denial with insurance companies, such as:

  • Failure to File a Timely Claim
  • You’re Not Represented by a Lawyer 
  • Absence of Proper Investigation
  • Claim Exceeds Your Coverage Limits
  • Failure to Receive Immediate Medical Attention
  • You Committed Fraud

Insurance complications do not begin and end at claim denial. Complications can also take the form of payment or response delay, low settlement offers, and reluctance to negotiate.

  1. Potential for a Large Payout

Specific cases and claims can result in significant settlements before they reach a court and become a lawsuit. A skilled personal injury leverages his or her reputation, skills, and knowledge of the law to help encourage the defendant to offer a fair settlement before litigation is necessary. That said, a skilled personal injury attorney is similarly prepared to reject an unfair settlement, file suit, and try the case in Court, if necessary. 

Choose Erie Injury

If you’re struggling with a case and need assistance with an auto accident, personal injury, a work injury, or even Social Security disability benefits, the attorneys at Erie Injury are here to help.

We have a seasoned team of attorneys available, and you only pay if we win your case. Don’t let uncertainty or finances stop you from pursuing a personal injury claim. Call us today at 1-800-999-0750 or visit us at one of our three locations for a free case evaluation.