7 Types of Personal Injury Cases
Injuries and accidents are scary, and can often lead to weeks, months, or even years of hardships for the affected party. If you’re unsure of whether you’ve recently suffered a personal injury, this article can help.
In it, Erie Injury outlines seven main types of personal injuries. Keep reading to learn more about what a personal injury is and the types of cases that our lawyers can help you with.
What is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is any kind of harm to a person’s body, emotional state, or reputation. Most commonly, personal injuries are based on negligence, the failure to act with a reasonable degree of prudence that another person in a similar situation may have exercised.
The plaintiff (the injured party) must prove that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff and that the defendant’s failure to follow that duty, often through a negligent act, caused the plaintiff to suffer a damage such as a personal injury.
Compensable damages for a personal injury claim may include:
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Physical injury
- Property damage
When harm is proved, the plaintiff is awarded a settlement directly proportional to the damage caused. The type of case may also impact how much compensation is allowed, so it’s important to understand the essentials of each personal injury case.
7 Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases can be brought from damages caused in various situations. If you’ve been injured, no matter the cause, contact a lawyer at Erie Injury today.
Keep in mind, the other party’s insurance company or defense team will immediately begin working to alleviate any fault from their client. Therefore, you must get quality representation on your side to protect yourself from further harm, financial or otherwise. The team at Erie Injury has experience handling personal injury cases pertaining to:
1. Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Accidents
Immediately following a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, insurance adjusters will try to contact you to collect a recorded statement. It’s critical that you don’t answer their calls right away and instead get in touch with a trusted vehicle accident lawyer. They’ll work directly with the insurance companies to ensure you get fair compensation.
Particularly if you’ve been injured, there could be more coverage available than just vehicle repairs and medical bills. Your lawyer will help you determine the maximum amount you’re owed and will work diligently on your behalf to ensure adequate compensation.
2. ATV and Four-Wheeler Accidents
Though they can certainly make for a fun outdoor activity, ATV and four-wheeler accidents can have seriously damaging consequences. After an accident, it’s essential to preserve any evidence which could help prove negligence. Even a solo accident could be proof of a damaged or defective product, so you’ll want to contact a lawyer right away so they can help build a case in your favor.
3. Workers’ Compensation
If you’re injured at work in Pennsylvania, you’re entitled to have your medical bills and lost wages paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, you’ll want to hire a lawyer to ensure you get the full benefit. At Erie Injury, we understand that missing work due to an injury can leave you financially vulnerable. Therefore, we never charge a fee unless we recover your losses.
4. Wrongful Death
Losing a loved one is never easy. What’s more, grieving an untimely death can leave you feeling angry, frustrated, and confused. If someone you know and love was killed due to the negligence or recklessness of another person or company, then you’ve suffered a wrongful death.
While you’re working on getting the deceased’s affairs in order, the insurance companies will likely try to take advantage of your emotions by getting you to settle early and for a lesser amount than you’re entitled to. Under Pennsylvania law, you may be owed compensation for:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills
- Estate administrative expenses
- Lost earnings and wages
- Lost future earnings capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Consortium—compensation for the loss of association or companionship
- Punitive damages
Be sure to contact a lawyer immediately following the death of your loved one to ensure your losses are repaid in full.
5. Dog Bites
It’s hard not to love a cute and friendly dog, but a poorly-trained or negligently-supervised dog can lash out at adults and children, issuing a bite that can lead to serious injury. Many people don’t realize dog bites can be covered by the handler’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance and end up forfeiting their right to coverage for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To ensure your damages are paid out in full, you’ll need to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
*Pro-Tip: Dog bites commonly occur when a friend or relative’s dog bites you or someone else in your family. Of course, most people don’t want to sue their loved ones, but it might be necessary to ensure you aren’t facing an undue burden as a result of someone else’s negligence. The lawyers at Erie Injury have experience with amicable negotiations and settlements pertaining to dog bites, so be sure to contact our office immediately if you need help settling a case quickly and with minimal additional heartache for those involved.
6. Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Slip-and-falls are one of the most commonly reported accidents and can often result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. You could be entitled to compensation if you slipped on a wet floor, lost balance on a broken handrail, or fell in an icy parking lot.
Preserving evidence of the accident is essential for proving your case, so be sure to contact a lawyer immediately following a slip-and-fall. They’ll offer assistance in gathering witness testimony, inspecting the property, searching for security cameras, and handling communication with the insurance company.
7. Product Liability
Dangerous and defective products injure thousands of Pennsylvanians every year. If you’ve been injured by a consumer good, contact a lawyer at Erie Injury immediately. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are required to offer safe products, and proving intentional recklessness, negligence, or harm is complex. Having a trusted lawyer by your side will make the whole process easier, so you can focus on recovering while they focus on compensating for your damages.
Choosing the Right Lawyer for Your Needs
Above all else, it’s essential to have a lawyer you can trust to ensure you’re being taken care of. At Erie Injury, we proudly represent clients from all walks of life to help recover damages from nearly every type of personal injury. If you’ve been injured, no matter the cause, contact our offices today for a free consultation. Additionally, please visit our blog to learn more about the kinds of cases we typically represent.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are many reasons why you may need to find legal representation, from automotive accidents to damage caused by defective products. If you’re the victim of an injury, you may be wondering if it’s time to hire a lawyer. To help you determine what’s right for you, Erie Injury highlights the various situations in which a lawyer can help recover damages and ensure you’re fully compensated for your time, pain, and troubles.
What Kind of Injuries Demand Legal Help?
In the eyes of the law, a personal injury is more complicated than one might assume. Typically, courts base a personal injury on “negligence.” Negligence is an individual’s failure to act as a “reasonable person.”
Accordingly, a personal injury is any form of harm to a person’s body, emotions, or reputation due to the unreasonable actions of another. While some cases are straightforward and can be settled appropriately between the two parties, others are more complex and demand the victim show ample proof to win the case. Therefore, you’ll want to contact a lawyer if you’ve recently suffered an injury due to a(n):
All-terrain Vehicle (ATV) Accident
A study published by Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Clinical Pediatrics found that emergency departments treat more than 11,000 people for nonfatal ATV-related head and neck injuries annually.
If you’ve been in an ATV accident, you should contact an experienced ATV accident attorney as soon as possible. ATV accident attorneys will help you determine if you should make an injury claim against the driver’s insurance, a landowner’s homeowner’s insurance, or the vehicle manufacturer.
There are nearly 7 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes annually in the United States. Roughly 2 million of these crashes result in injury. If you’re seeking a fair settlement, you need to do more than talk to your insurance company. You need a lawyer by your side.
Do not discuss the case with an insurance adjuster. They’ll likely contact you for a recorded statement, which could then be used against you to settle for a lesser amount. A lawyer should handle all communication with insurance providers, so be sure to get in touch immediately following an accident.
Dangerous and Defective Product
According to the National Safety Council, emergency rooms treated 11.7 million people for injuries sustained from consumer products in 2021. Most of these injuries involved everyday products such as televisions, household cleaners, appliances, and furniture.
Sadly, many of these product injuries hurt young children and older adults. If you or a loved one has experienced an injury due to a dangerous or defective product, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer. Product liability cases are some of the most challenging to navigate successfully.
While they’re certainly cute and cuddly, dogs can cause serious injury. In fact, there are a staggering 4.5 million reported dog bites in the United States each year. Of the people bitten, nearly 1 in 5 require medical attention.
If someone else’s dog has injured you, you can make a claim against their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies. With the help of a personal injury lawyer, you can be fully compensated for any lost wages and medical bills as well as pain, suffering, and scarring. However, having an attorney is critical as you’ll need to prove negligence on the dog owner’s part.
They’re fun and fast and come with a sense of freedom, but motorcycles are also dangerous. While they only account for 3 percent of all registered vehicles, motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, 18 percent of all occupant fatalities, and 4 percent of all occupant injuries.
If you’ve been in a motorcycle crash, you should find a personal injury lawyer experienced in motorcycle accidents. Reason being, due to the severity of the injuries, insurance adjusters are more aggressive and try to uncover ways to blame the biker.
Slip and Fall
Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, making them the leading cause of ER visits. If you’ve been in a slip and fall accident:
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Survey the scene
- Request security footage
- Find witnesses
- File an official incident report
Because slip and falls are some of the most complex personal injury cases to win, you’ll also want to contact an attorney who specializes in these cases. Remember, you’ll need to prove that the person or business was acting negligently. Doing so is exceptionally challenging if you don’t have someone speaking to witnesses, preserving evidence, and obtaining security camera footage.
Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. Whether you were behind the wheel of a truck or hit by one, it’s essential to hire a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. They’ll help you preserve critical evidence (maintenance logs, driving logs, etc.) and interview the necessary witnesses before they’re uncontactable. That’s why, after a trucking accident, you need an attorney immediately.
Further, if you are a truck driver and were injured in an accident, you may also have a trucking accident workers’ compensation claim.
There are nearly 3 million work-related injuries that occur each year. If you’ve been hurt on the job, you’re entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, your employer’s insurance company will likely find ways to reduce their costs as much as possible. To ensure you’re compensated fairly, we highly recommend you:
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Report your injury
- Continue reviewing pay stubs to ensure your workers’ comp insurance is paying you
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible
If your claim was denied, the insurance company halts payments, or the insurance company says you need to return to work before you’re ready, you must consider seeking legal representation.
Get the Help You Need
If you’ve been injured in Erie, Pennsylvania, or the surrounding region, you need to find a personal injury lawyer to ensure fair compensation. Whether you’ve been in an automobile accident or were bitten by a dog, the attorneys at Erie Injury are ready to help you. Call our office for a free consultation at 814-452-6232.
Nursing Home Negligence: What It Is and How to Prove It
Having to send a loved one to a nursing facility is often a difficult choice for those involved. The decision gets more challenging when you realize that a staggering 95 percent of nursing home residents have experienced or witnessed neglect.
To protect your aging family members, you must understand what to watch for to ensure they’re getting the care they deserve. In this post, Erie Injury explains everything you need to know about nursing home negligence and how to prove your case.
*Pro-Tip: If you suspect a loved one is the victim of nursing home negligence, contact a lawyer immediately. They’ll help make the situation better for the person receiving negligent care and ensure damages and losses are repaid in full.
What is Nursing Home Negligence?
Nursing home negligence is a form of medical malpractice in which the staff’s neglect of residents results in injury or death. In general, nursing home negligence claims are brought against the home itself, doctors, staff, or other parties directly involved in the care of patients.
Common examples of negligence in a nursing home include:
- Leaving a resident with limited mobility in the same position for hours at a time
- Leaving a resident in their room with no outside stimulation for hours at a time
- Not addressing medical issues such as bed sores or new illnesses when they arise
- Neglecting to change clothing or bedding regularly
- Not providing basic hygiene to the residents
- Not providing adequate nutrition and hydration
For patients with a limited ability to move or speak, proving negligence can be difficult. However, there are some signs you’ll want to watch for that may indicate that your loved one is not receiving proper care.
Signs of Negligence in Nursing Home Patients
If you’ve recently visited a friend or family member in a nursing home and suspect they may not be getting the care they need, contact a lawyer right away. They’ll help you prove your case while working to improve the situation for the person receiving care.
Though neglect is sometimes very apparent—massive bed sores that have not been documented or treated, poor hygiene, etc.—some signs of negligence are more challenging to notice and, therefore, harder to address. The next time you visit your loved one in a nursing facility, be on the lookout for:
Loss or Lack of Mobility
High-quality nursing homes often have policies and programs designed to keep residents active. If you notice your loved one’s physical condition is deteriorating quickly, they may not be getting the physical stimulation necessary to maintain their bodily health.
From brushing their teeth to regular bathing, older adults typically need assistance maintaining proper hygiene. Particularly in understaffed nursing homes, personal hygiene is the first standard of care to become lacking. Pay special attention to the hair, clothes, and nails for any signs of neglect.
New Psychological Problems
Though it’s not uncommon for people in nursing homes to lose some of their mental faculties, a rapid deterioration could indicate neglect. New emotional issues such as fear of staff, anger, anxiety, and depression may indicate negligent care.
Rapid Weight Loss
Residents of neglectful nursing homes will often show signs of malnutrition due to inadequate food and water consumption. Be on the lookout for signs of malnourishment, including low body temperature, hair loss, or papery skin.
Accidents happen, and they are nearly impossible to prevent in a nursing facility. However, the staff should document serious injuries such as broken bones, bed sores, bruises, and more. Unreported injuries could, therefore, indicate neglect, so be sure to check with a doctor or nurse to determine if new ailments you notice are appropriately documented.
Unsanitary Living Conditions
Bodily hygiene is an obvious indicator of nursing home neglect. But a dirty room, unchanged bedding, pests, and mold can also be signs of negligence. The next time you visit, consider the facility as a whole. If it isn’t somewhere you feel you could live comfortably, the same is inevitably true for your loved one.
Of course, being aware of negligence is only half the battle. You’ll need to work with a lawyer and an accompanying team of experts to prove negligence and successfully win your case.
Proving Nursing Home Negligence
If you suspect a loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect, your first step should be to call 911. They’ll help you get the immediate attention needed to ensure the physical safety of the nursing home residents. To see your case through, you’ll need to hire a lawyer to help prove negligence.
In the state of Pennsylvania, the party claiming negligence (the plaintiff) must prove four elements for the case to be found in their favor. More specifically, plaintiffs must prove that:
- The nursing home owed the neglected party a duty of care*
- The nursing home breached the duty of care (committed negligence)
- The negligence resulted in injury or death
- Damages were incurred (economic and non-economic) as a result of the negligence
Pennsylvania requires plaintiffs to obtain a special certificate of merit from a medical professional stating that they reviewed the case and believe the home was negligent. Additionally, the document must indicate that the nursing home breached the standard duty of care.
*Duty of care is the legal obligation imposed on an individual or institution that requires them to act according to predetermined standards of reasonable care. In a nursing home facility, reasonable care typically includes, but is not limited to, providing adequate nutrition and hydration, administering medications, making reasonable accommodations for comfort, and providing opportunities for entertainment and engagement.
Get the Help You Need to Win Your Case
If you suspect a loved one has fallen victim to nursing home neglect, your primary focus should be the health and well-being of the person affected. Therefore, you’ll want to hire a lawyer who can handle the legal process for you. Contact Erie Injury today for a free consultation, or visit our website to learn more about how we handle personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
Everything You Need to Know About Motorcycle Insurance
Without the protection of seatbelts, doors, and a roof, motorcycles are, unsurprisingly, far more dangerous than cars. In fact, motorcycles have a fatal crash rate of roughly 60 percent, whereas fatalities in car crashes is only about 15 percent.
If you own a motorcycle or are considering buying one, you need to understand the basics of insuring your bike. Moreover, you need to be sure that your insurance coverage protects you from undue liability in the event of an accident. In this post, Erie Injury discusses the basics of motorcycle insurance, the different types of coverage and add-ons, and how to keep yourself protected in the event of a crash.
Motorcycle Insurance Basics
As with other types of vehicle insurance, motorcycle insurance provides financial protection in the event of an accident, theft, or other damages.
The insurance cost depends on various factors, including coverage options, riding history, type of bike, and driver’s age. Keep in mind that the more coverage you pay for upfront, the more protected you are in the event of an accident. Don’t let monthly payment costs deter you from keeping you and your bike fully protected, and remember to contact a lawyer immediately following an accident to ensure you’re getting the proper amount owed to you.
Most states in the U.S. require you to ride with a minimum amount of liability coverage. It helps cover damages to other vehicles and objects, injuries to drivers and passengers, and any lawsuits that may be filed as the result of an accident.
Though liability coverage is the only required insurance for motorcycle riders in most states, various additional coverage options can keep you financially protected in the event of an accident. You’ll want to consider:
- Comprehensive Coverage
Comprehensive coverage protects against any events beyond your immediate control, including theft, vandalism, windshield damage, fire, acts of nature, and more. It’s typically required for bikes that are being financed or leased.
- Collision Coverage
Like comprehensive coverage, collision insurance is often required by your lender. It will protect you if you’re in an accident with another vehicle or object or if you crash your bike on the road without third-party involvement.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) help pay for damages if you’re involved in an accident with someone lacking adequate insurance to cover the cost of the accident.
*Pro-Tip: If you’ve been in an accident and the at-fault driver is underinsured, be sure to contact a lawyer right away. They’ll help determine what additional assets and insurance the other party has, which could be the difference between partial and total coverage for your resulting damages.
It’s critical that you work with a lawyer immediately following an accident to better understand your insurance plan and that of the at-fault driver. They’ll help you handle the difficult conversations between insurance companies to ensure maximum coverage and a minimal financial burden.
What to do After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents are scary, and knowing how to handle them can lead to many unanswered questions. Your first step should, of course, be to ensure the safety of you and anyone else involved. When everyone is out of harm’s way, contact a lawyer immediately so they can get working on your case and contact all relevant parties, such as insurance companies and law enforcement.
The other party’s insurance company will likely try to contact you right away. Do not speak with them. They’ll likely try to get a recorded statement, and what you say could result in a dismissal of your case. Let your lawyer handle all communication to ensure you aren’t saying anything you shouldn’t.
Take photos of your bike and your injuries. If you need medical attention, be sure to save your hospital and doctor bills, as well as any written reports from your attending physician. Additionally, keep any receipts from the damages you covered if you take your motorcycle for repairs before settling your case. Your lawyer will include them when negotiating a settlement amount with the other party involved.
Don’t Go Through It Alone
Owning a motorcycle is exciting, but you’ll want to ensure you take all necessary precautions to keep yourself safe. Having a comprehensive insurance policy and an educated lawyer on standby is critical for comfortably cruising through town on two wheels.
If you’ve recently been in a crash on your bike, you’ll want to work with an experienced injury lawyer like those at Erie Injury. They’ll help you understand your insurance policy, handle all communication with the insurance companies, and help you win the settlement you deserve.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Losing a loved one is devastating, and the resulting grief may leave you feeling sad, angry, and confused. Moreover, if the death resulted from negligence, misconduct, or another unlawful action, you may wonder whether you and the other survivors are entitled to compensation for your suffering.
To put it simply, you probably are.
In this post, Erie Injury discusses everything you need to know about a wrongful death lawsuit and the most common kinds of cases.
Understanding Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is a civil claim against a person or company for causing the death of another due to negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing. Typically, the claim is brought by the deceased’s survivors, such as the person handling the estate, a family member, or a loved one.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one and another person or company is legally at fault, you could be entitled to compensation for your loss. The at-fault party’s insurance company might want to settle the case quickly, usually under the impression that they want to help you “put the situation behind you.” However, it’s most often an attempt to settle the case for less than what you’re actually owed.
Contact a lawyer with experience in wrongful death lawsuits before dealing with any insurance companies. Your lawyer will handle all communication and help ensure you get what you’re entitled to for your pain and suffering. They’ll also help build your claim with the proof necessary to win your case so you can focus on healing with your loved ones.
What Must Be Proven?
For you and your legal team to prove wrongful death, you first must demonstrate:
- A death has occurred
- The death was a result of preventable circumstances, including but not limited to negligent or reckless driving, use of a defective product, or a slip-and-fall accident
- The deceased survivors have experienced pain and suffering as a result of the death, including financial loss and personal bereavement
- An appointed person is acting as the representative of the estate
It’s critical that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible following a wrongful death to ensure your damages are returned to you in full.
Wrongful Death Damages
A wrongful death lawsuit can help you and your loved ones recover more costs than funeral expenses and medical bills. In fact, Pennsylvania law might also entitle you to the following:
- Estate administration expenses
- Lost earnings and wages from a personal bereavement period
- Lost future earning potential of the deceased
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a familial relationship and companionship, also known as consortium
- Punitive damages
As with most lawsuits, very few wrongful death cases are settled in a trial before a jury. Instead, the lawyers from both parties will often negotiate a settlement to avoid the massive expense brought on by trials. A lawyer will typically negotiate better terms of the deal than you can on your own, so be sure to contact a lawyer to ensure you’re fully compensated.
Common Wrongful Death Cases
There are many instances in which a wrongful death lawsuit is applicable. Often, wrongful death cases can be brought for the same reasons as a personal injury case. There are, however, some wrongful death lawsuits that most people commonly file, including:
If a doctor misdiagnoses a patient, provides inadequate care, or otherwise behaves negligently and causes the person to die, survivors may be able to file a wrongful death suit. These situations are often hard to prove, so you’ll need to work with a lawyer to properly build your case.
If a person dies in an automobile accident and the at-fault party was found to be driving negligently or recklessly, a wrongful death suit can be filed. Negligent driving may be proven if the driver is found to have been failing to exercise due care, intoxicated behind the wheel, disobeying traffic laws, texting while driving, or otherwise failing to act carefully.
*Pro-Tip: Wrongful death lawsuits aren’t typically brought for cases of a fatal workplace injury. Instead, they’re most commonly handled by the workers’ compensation system. If a loved one has recently died due to an accident in the workplace, be sure to hire a lawyer with experience in workers’ compensation cases in your state to discuss your case.
Let Someone You Trust Help See You Through
The grieving process is a long, arduous journey. To make the journey easier, you’ll want a trusted, compassionate lawyer to help you through your grief and ensure you’re well taken care of on the other side.
At Erie Injury, we’ll work through your situation with delicacy and care, ensuring you feel comfortable and supported the whole way through. If you’d like to learn more about what compensation you may be entitled to after a wrongful death, contact our office today for a free consultation.
How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you should hire a lawyer to help you understand your case and what you may be entitled to. Especially if the incident caused you to seek medical treatment, miss work, or experience mental and emotional hardships, you could be owed compensation for your damages.
However, hiring the right lawyer to help win your case can be challenging. With so many legal services and areas of practice available, it can be overwhelming to sift through the options to determine exactly what you need. But keep in mind, if you want to win your case, you need a lawyer.
At Erie Injury, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys can provide you with the representation you need to win a fair settlement. In this post, we’ll define a personal injury, the kinds of cases we cover, and how to find the best law team for your specific needs.
What is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is any variety of harm done to a person’s body, emotions, or reputation. Personal injury law is governed under the umbrella of tort law, which protects those who have been injured by another person as a result of negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing.
Most personal injuries are based on “negligence,” which is the failure to act with a level of ordinary prudence that another person in a similar situation may have exercised.
In any of these instances, winning a case depends on proving harm or damages—whether physical or emotional—occurred due to the injurious action. Common examples of harm include:
- Physical injury, such as trauma or broken bones
- Lost Wages
- Medical bills
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
When harm is proved, the plaintiff is awarded a settlement relevant to the amount of damage caused. Compensable losses include medical bills, lost wages, mental and emotional distress, travel expenses, household assistance, and pain and suffering.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Though harm can result from any number of situations, personal injury claims typically fall under several distinct categories that ultimately dictate how your case will be handled. Erie Injury’s team of lawyers has experience handling cases related to:
- ATV accidents
- Car accidents
- Dog bites
- Motorcycle accidents
- Product liability
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Truck accidents
- Workers’ compensation
- Wrongful death
Because Erie Injury focuses on personal liability cases, we are well equipped to find the nuances in your case that other attorneys often miss. Diligence is critical when the other party has also hired legal representation, as they’ll be working hard to ensure their client isn’t responsible for your damages.
Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Case
It’s possible to settle a personal injury case on your own, but doing so is a disservice to yourself and those who love you. You may not know precisely what you and anyone who depends on you are entitled to by law, so you’ll want to connect with an attorney immediately following a personal injury. They’ll help you understand what kind of compensation you may be eligible for. When looking for a high-quality lawyer, you’ll want to follow a few best practices to ensure you’re getting quality legal representation.
Ask for Referrals and Read Reviews
Parsing through your injury and any resulting damages is a challenging, often emotional experience, so you’ll want to ensure you’re working with someone you trust explicitly. Ask friends and family for referrals to firms they’ve used in the past, and meet with lawyers that will offer you a free consultation before signing you on as a client.
Moreover, spend time reading reviews, paying particular attention to the types of cases a firm typically handles. You’ll want to select the firm with the most experience handling the case you’re facing. During your consultation, ask how many referrals the firm typically gets from other firms. Ideally, you’ll want to work with someone trusted enough in the field that other attorneys recommend their services.
Seek Someone with Experience
Law firms—and the lawyers who practice within them—tend to either generalize or focus in a particular area of law. While a general practitioner may help provide you with competent counsel, you’ll want to seek an attorney focusing on personal injuries to give yourself the best chance of winning your case.
Lawyers who focus are more likely to know the ins and outs of how the legal system applies to your specific situation. They can find the necessary nuances, details, and loopholes to win you the largest settlement or verdict possible. Don’t be shy about asking for a lawyer’s success rate.
Go with Your Gut
Personal injury cases can be long and arduous, so you’ll want to ensure you’re navigating the process with someone you trust. Choose a personal injury lawyer you feel comfortable with and who you genuinely believe has your best interest at heart. Avoid those who expect payments upfront, and instead, choose someone who won’t slap you with legal fees unless they win the coverage for you.
Consult with an Expert
Finding the right personal injury lawyer for your case can be difficult, but doing so is an essential step in winning your case. If you’re ready to consult with an experienced attorney, contact Erie Injury today. You can also visit our website to learn more about the cases we handle and what to expect throughout your claim process.
Understanding Your PA Workers’ Compensation Claim
On-the-job injuries and illnesses are common. In Pennsylvania in 2020, 147,918 reportable injuries occurred in the workplace. However, only 8,801 people filed workers’ compensation claims to get the settlements they deserve.
If you’ve been injured at work in Pennsylvania, you’re potentially entitled to monetary coverage for medical bills and lost wages paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. But you’ll need to hire a lawyer to ensure you’re treated fairly and in accordance with the law.
Properly navigating a workers’ compensation claim can be challenging, but armed with the proper knowledge and a trusted lawyer, you can win your case and receive the payouts you’re entitled to. In this post, Erie Injury defines workers’ compensation and outlines the claim process so you can stay informed and win your case.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation
In Pennsylvania, workers’ compensation, often referred to as workers’ comp, is a government-mandated program that benefits workers who have fallen ill or suffered injuries on the job. State laws demand that employees provide coverage for medical care, disability, rehabilitation services, and death benefits for those who have been injured or killed at work. Payouts are directly related to your injury’s affect on one’s ability to work and the worker’s wage rate at the time of the incident.
With most private-sector workplaces, a workers’ compensation claim can be settled, but only if you’ve hired a lawyer to help win your case. Your legal team can help ensure all medical bills are accounted for, lost wages are correctly calculated, and you aren’t strapped with any unforeseen expenses after an incident.
Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
Though the severity of your injuries might determine how you move through the workers’ compensation claim process, there are a few best practices you should aim to follow. If you’ve been injured on the job, you’ll want to:
File an Incident Report
In Pennsylvania, injured workers must report the incident to their employers within 120 days. Failing to do so can result in a dismissal of your case, and you won’t be compensated for any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result. Be sure to report all injuries to a supervisor as soon as you can safely do so.
Get Medical Treatment
Though it might be tempting to power through a harmful accident at work, you’re much better off seeking proper medical care to have your injuries assessed. Without medical records, it’s nearly impossible to prove you sustained any damage at all. Even if you filed an internal report with a supervisor, you’ll want a medical professional to corroborate your story with appropriate documentation. Doing so will build the evidence you need for full compensation.
Know Your Rights
When you file an internal report documenting the accident and the resulting injuries, your employer will likely send you to a specific doctor in your area that’s covered under the company’s insurance. While this is standard in the first 90 days after an injury, you have the right to see any doctor you wish after the initial 90-day period.
There are certain circumstances under which you might be eligible to choose your own doctor from the beginning. As such, you’ll want to connect with a lawyer to ensure you’re receiving the best treatment available and that your employer will pay for all resulting bills.
Talk with a Lawyer Before You Settle
Particularly if your employer believes your injury to be minor, they may try to settle your case internally, and fast. Don’t let a workers’ compensation claims adjuster talk you into settling before you speak with a lawyer. They’ll try to minimize your injuries to reduce the payout they’re responsible for, and, as a result, you could wind up paying your medical expenses out-of-pocket and losing wages.
Depending on your age and the severity of your injuries, you might be considering filing for additional benefits such as Social Security Disability or Social Security Retirement. If this applies to you, contact a lawyer immediately. The timeline in which you file can seriously impact whether or not you receive compensation. A lawyer can ensure your case isn’t dismissed and your employer can’t claim a “voluntary withdraw” from the workforce.
Let a Lawyer Help You Settle
Workers’ compensation cases can be complicated, and if you don’t follow appropriate practices and maintain timely action, you could be risking serious financial loss. At Erie Injury, we’re well suited to help you navigate your claim and win your case. Contact our office today for a free consultation, or browse our library of resources to learn more about the legal process.
Types of Vehicle Accidents and How to Handle Them
Every day, Pennsylvania drivers report an average of 286 car crashes, roughly 12 occurring every hour. Of these, 44,957 accidents every year result in bodily injury, and a staggering 58,458 collisions cause some amount of property damage.
If you’ve recently been involved in an auto accident, know that you’re not alone. Though dealing with a crash can seem daunting, having a trusted lawyer by your side helps ensure your damages are covered, and you’re not saddled with undue liability.
In this post, Erie Injury, a go-to law firm in Erie, Pennsylvania, outlines everything you need to know to win your crash case.
What is a Vehicle Accident?
Vehicle accidents are instances in which a motorized vehicle collides with another car, a pedestrian, or a piece of property. In Pennsylvania, an accident is considered a crash if any injury or fatality occurs or if one or more vehicles require towing from the scene.
From accidents involving uninsured drivers to collisions with tractor-trailers, a host of situation-specific occurrences will ultimately determine how a case is settled. With so many moving parts, you must hire a lawyer immediately following the accident to ensure you’re getting a fair settlement. At a minimum, you’ll want to contact a law office that offers a free consultation to better understand the specifics of your case.
Whether you were in a car, truck, or boating accident, it’s critical that you understand the basics of what to expect from your case.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, know that many variables can impact whether or not you have a potential case. However, you could be eligible for compensation if the resulting damages have caused you setbacks—lost wages, physical therapy, rental car fees, etc.
Car accidents happen in many ways, and the type of accident alone may be enough to determine who was at fault. Common types of car accidents that typically result in damages include, but are not limited to:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Side-impact collisions
- Sideswipe accidents
- Single-vehicle accidents
- Multi-vehicle accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Blindspot accidents
- Low-speed accidents
- Merging accidents
Car accidents are never simple. Even when a party admits fault, their insurance company is not likely to make things simple. Difficult insurance adjusters are even more prevalent when your case involves one of the following:
In Pennsylvania in 2020, drunk-driving was responsible for 6,565 crashes, 293 of which resulted in death. As entirely preventable and largely disastrous accidents, drunk driving crashes don’t follow typical insurance and legal policies when finding fault and settling cases.
Whether you have a full or limited tort auto insurance plan—the policy that determines whether all damages or only some are covered in an accident—all harm that comes from a drunk driving accident is potentially eligible for compensation.
Keep in mind: the at-fault driver’s insurance company will fight hard not to pay the full amount you’re eligible for. Therefore, you’ll want to hire a lawyer to ensure your settlement is fair.
Hit-and-Run or Uninsured Drivers
A hit-and-run accident or a collision with an uninsured driver might feel like a lost cause. However, if you immediately hire a lawyer and file a police report, you could be eligible for compensation from your own insurance company. A lawyer can help you dissect your insurance policy to determine if you have uninsured motorist benefits. If you do, they’ll ensure you can cash in at the fullest amount possible.
If you’re in an accident with an insured driver, but their policy doesn’t cover the extent of your damages, there could be more compensation available to you. Contact a lawyer right away so they can perform asset and other insurance checks on the at-fault driver. Additionally, you could be eligible for payouts from your own insurance company if you have underinsured motorist coverage.
Pedestrians and Bicycles
As a pedestrian or cyclist, you’re eligible for compensation if you’re hit by a car. Regardless of what kind of insurance you carry, you aren’t bound by a limited tort policy. And because the payouts from these cases can be substantial, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will work hard to lessen the payout. Contact a lawyer immediately following an accident to ensure you get your full settlement.
Due to their massive size, accidents involving tractor-trailers are devasting, often even fatal. The long driving hours, varying road conditions, and immensely heavy loads can seriously impact how the case is settled.
Often, truck accidents rely heavily on witness accounts and circumstantial evidence. Contact a lawyer immediately to ensure your side of the story is told accurately.
Boating accidents are often serious, so hiring a lawyer will be crucial in ensuring you and your loved ones are protected from further harm. Moreover, open water is still subject to rules and regulations, so a lawyer can help you understand precisely when the fault occurred.
Because boat accidents often leave little evidence, witnesses are crucial to a fair settlement. Your lawyer can help you obtain critical information from those at the scene to ensure your case is settled fairly.
Let a Lawyer Win Your Case
No matter what type of vehicle accident you’re in, having a lawyer will help you win your case. You can rest easy knowing your case is being handled so you can focus on healing yourself and your loved ones.
If you have questions about a recent accident, contact our office today for a free consultation. You can also visit our blog for more information about car accident and personal injury cases.
Everything You Need to Know About Product Liability
From cancer-causing tobacco products to vehicular gas tank explosions, faulty products have the potential to cause severe damage. In fact, in 2019, the median settlement amount for product liability cases was nearly $7.5 million.
If you’ve recently suffered an injury due to a defective product, you’re probably wondering what kind of compensation you may be entitled to. Your first step should be to ensure your physical health is taken care of, so be sure to see a medical professional to properly assess, care for, and document your injuries. You’ll then want to contact a product liability lawyer to be sure your case is settled fairly.
Erie Injury has a team of lawyers ready to help you take on your product liability case. In this post, we’ll define product liability, look at the various kinds of claims, and highlight what you can expect throughout the process.
What is Product Liability?
Product liability is the legal liability a manufacturer, distributor, or anyone else in the product supply chain incurs for producing and/or selling a faulty product. Possible actors include designers, suppliers and manufacturers of parts, individuals and businesses involved in product assembly, wholesalers, and retail owners.
The consequences of delivering unsafe products can be severe, putting consumers at risk of undue harm. Though damages vary on a case-by-case basis, there are a few common injuries that are often the result of a defective product, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
If you’ve suffered any of these or other injuries and believe it resulted from a damaged or unsafe product, contact a product liability lawyer immediately. You may have been using a product that was designed, manufactured, or labeled incorrectly and could be eligible for compensation.
Design Defect Claim
A design defect claim alleges that a product was designed in a way that made it unsafe for use or otherwise ineffective. Typically, a design defect means that the product is considered dangerous when it cannot be used as intended without causing harm.
Common examples of design defects include:
- Toys made for children with small parts that could easily be detached and swallowed
- Vehicles with faulty airbags, brakes, or gas tanks
- Electrical products that electrocute the user
Of course, not all faulty products are subject to product liability laws. User errors can occur, which is why product liability law demands the plaintiff—the party filing the lawsuit—prove the product malfunctioned as a result of a design flaw. For this reason, you’ll want to work with a lawyer to be sure your case is handled appropriately.
Manufacturing Defect Claim
Unlike design defects, manufacturing defect claims assert that improper manufacturing of a product caused harm. These types of lawsuits usually happen when there are errors in production or quality control.
Manufacturing defects may occur when:
- The wrong material was used during the product construction phase
- Broken pieces and parts were built into the product
- Components and parts were unintentionally left out of the manufacturing process
A manufacturing defect claim is typically a straightforward case. Reason being, the cause of the harm can generally be traced or seen. However, if the product comes to further damage due to the initial flaw, it may be harder to prove. Contact a lawyer to help you properly document the issue and resulting damages.
Warning or Labeling Defect Claim
Products that are designed and manufactured correctly but do not adequately warn users about the potential dangers of use could be subject to labeling defect claims. In fact, in 2002, a major tobacco company was sued for $28 billion after a woman who used their products was diagnosed with lung cancer. Because the company didn’t label its products with a carcinogens warning, the suit was settled in favor of the claimant.
Keep in mind, manufacturers should be doing the necessary research to ensure their products are not unsafe for consumers to use. That said, they cannot claim that they “didn’t know” their product might cause harm and therefore didn’t label it as such. Before reporting a labeling defect, be sure to contact a lawyer so the manufacturer can’t talk you out of your claim.
File a Defective Product Report
When you contact a manufacturer or seller about a defective product, they’ll likely ask you to immediately return the product to them so they may further investigate. Though it sounds like a reasonable ask, it’s probably a tactic to get the evidence out of your hands and into theirs.
If you’ve suffered an injury or other damages due to a defective product, contact a lawyer immediately. They’ll liaise between you and the manufacturer or retailer to settle your case fairly.
Ensure Your Product Liability Case is Settled with You in Mind
Product liability cases can be challenging to navigate. Depending on the type of product and claim, you might be responsible for showing evidence of the defect. Contact a product liability lawyer today to ensure your case is handled correctly, and your damages are covered in full.
What is Full and Limited Tort?
When you’re shopping around for a car insurance policy that fits your lifestyle and your budget, there are a lot of different coverage options that can impact your decision-making. Though many of the available options may seem like unnecessary costs upfront, your choices can have serious consequences if you get into an auto accident down the line.
Tort policies can seem complex initially, but understanding how they’re used and what they cover is essential for ensuring you’re appropriately compensated in the event of a car accident. In this post, Erie Injury lays out everything you need to know about full and limited tort policies.
Understanding Tort Law and Coverages
Before you can decide what type of car insurance policy is best for you, it’s critical to understand the basics of tort law. Tort law is the legislation that protects and compensates people who have been injured by an act of negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing. It also covers those who have been harmed by unsafe or defective products.
A tort, then, is an act or omission that causes injury or harm to another person or persons in a way that suggests some amount of liability. Typically, torts are separated into three distinct categories:
- Intentional torts: suggests purposeful wrongdoing that causes harm or injury to a person or their property
- Negligent torts: harm caused by a failure to follow rules and procedures that have been put in place to prevent or reduce instances of injury
- Strict liability torts: direct harm caused by the use of a defective or malfunctioning product
Tort insurance is a popular system of auto coverage and spans 38 states, including Pennsylvania. Within this system, at-fault drivers are responsible for paying damages and medical costs for the other party via their liability coverage. Depending on the policy, damages covered under tort law can include:
- Vehicle damage
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Potential future costs
Tort policies run counter to the no-fault system, which requires drivers to purchase insurance for themselves and any passengers in the car. Additionally, drivers who carry no-fault policies must hold liability coverage for any damages done to other drivers, their passengers, or vehicles.
What is Full Tort Coverage?
In Pennsylvania, full tort coverage means that, if injured in an accident, you can sue the at-fault driver for all damages, including non-monetary ones. Typically, full tort comes with the additional option to sue for pain and suffering.
Of course, extended coverage means a slightly higher monthly premium, but not by much. With a six-month policy, full tort ranges from an additional $80 – $115 spread over the course of that period. That said, the monthly difference in cost is actually just a few dollars.
Though it can seem enticing to forgo full tort coverage in favor of a lower monthly premium, you could be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars in the case of a serious car accident.
How is ‘Pain and Suffering’ Calculated?
Pain and suffering—the legal term for physical and emotional stress caused by an injury—is calculated by a lawyer after an accident to ensure fair compensation. There are two main ways to calculate pain and suffering; the multiple method and the per diem method.
- Multiple method: After all medical bills are finalized, the total dollar amount is multiplied by a factor of 1.5-5. This range leaves space to account for the nuances of the accident, including the degree to which the other party was at fault, severity of injuries, and more.
- Per diem method: This kind of calculation assigns a dollar amount to each day a person is injured and multiples that amount by the number of days the injuries persist.
In these instances, having a lawyer work through your case is essential for ensuring fair coverage. Insurance companies will work hard to deny pain and suffering compensation, so having a seasoned professional by your side can help make sure you don’t fall victim to an unfair payout.
What is Limited Tort Coverage?
Limited tort coverage generally does not allow an injured person to sue for pain and suffering. Instead, drivers can only sue for pain and suffering if the sustained injuries or harm were severe. Some examples of when limited tort would likely cover pain and suffering include:
- Permanent disfigurement
- Serious impairment of bodily function(s)
Essentially, limited tort only covers money lost as a direct result of the accident. In this situation, both parties’ legal teams and insurance companies diligently track funds to come up with the exact repayment plan. Settlements typically result in an exchange of exact dollar amounts relative to any medical bills or vehicle damages.
Which Option is Best for Me?
Though it may be tempting to opt for limited tort coverage and save yourself a few dollars on your monthly auto insurance premium, you could be losing out on tens of thousands of dollars (if not more) in the long run.
Full tort coverage is the only way to ensure you are compensated at the highest possible amount in the event of a car accident. Particularly, if you care for any dependents, are the primary source of income in your household, or undergo serious emotional damages as a result of an accident, full tort coverage can ensure that you are adequately paid to relieve some of the undue burdens.
Consult a Tort Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact a lawyer immediately to better understand your policy coverage and what options are available to you. Hiring a trusted professional will not only give you the peace of mind that the compensation you’ll receive is fair, but it will give you the freedom to focus on healing while we handle your case.