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):

  • ATV or four-wheeler accident
  • Auto accident
  • Dangerous and defective product
  • Dog bite
  • Motorcycle accident
  • Slip and fall
  • Truck accident
  • Work-related task

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.

Auto Accident

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.

Dog Bite

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. 

Motorcycle Accident

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

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.

Work-Related Task

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:

  1. 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.

  1. Poor Hygiene

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Unexplained Injuries

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. 

  1. 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:

  1. The nursing home owed the neglected party a duty of care*
  2. The nursing home breached the duty of care (committed negligence)
  3. The negligence resulted in injury or death
  4. 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.