Personal Injury Frequently Asked Question and Answers
At Alfred Abel Law, our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys handle accident and injury cases each year. As a result, we know that you need to get answers to frequently asked questions about personal injury when you are considering a possible lawsuit.
Q: How do I know if I have a strong personal injury case?
There are a lot of factors that can influence whether a personal injury lawyer will consider your case a strong one. Every case is different, but there are some factors that increase the likelihood that a case will be successful. Some of those factors include:
- Witnesses that can corroborate your version of events,
- Severity and treatment of the injury
- Whether a negligent party caused your injury.
- Whether there was a news report of the accident, or pictures taken at the scene.
- Whether there was damage to the scene or other property that can be photographed or recorded after the accident
Q: How much do personal injury lawyers charge?
Most personal injury lawyers take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that a lawyer working on a contingency fee basis will receive a percentage of the money you receive as a result of a judgment after trial, or settlement prior to trial. If your personal injury case does not result in financial recovery through a judgment or settlement, you will not be charged for the attorney’s services.
Q: How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania, the deadline or “statute of limitations” (42 Pa. C.S.A. § 5524) to file your lawsuit is two (2) years from the date of the injury or accident. With a few limited exceptions, an injured party that fails to file a lawsuit within that period will no longer be able to pursue legal action to recover damages caused by the accident.
Q: If I am partially at fault in an accident do I have a personal injury case?
If you are injured where your negligence contributed to your injury, in certain states, you may be able to seek recovery. States recognizing comparative negligence, like Pennsylvania, allow you to seek recovery if your negligence was not greater than that causal negligence of the other parties involved. The law provides that any damages you suffered shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence (or fault) attributed to you. (42 Pa. C.S.A. § 5524)
Q: Will I have to go to court in a personal injury case?
While most personal injury cases are settled outside of court, some will proceed to trial in court. If you and your attorney are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company or other parties prior to your trial date, you will need to go to court.
Q: How long does it take to settle a personal injury case?
Generally, once a personal injury case is filed with the court, settlement will be reached within 9 months, but sometimes the cases can take much longer. Each case is unique with many factors impacting the timing of settlement, the most important of which is the length of time you are undergoing medical treatment for your injuries. Once you have completed medical treatment for your injuries, your attorney must obtain all the records of your treatment. Once that is received the attorney will send a demand letter along with supporting documentation (medical records, employment documentation reflecting time loss from work, etc.) to the insurance company of the person responsible for injuring you.
Q: How are personal injury damages determined?
Typically, an insurance company reviews all the information and then seeks to negotiate a settlement amount with your attorney. To reach the best settlement possible, employing strong negotiating strategies and patience is important.
If not settled in the demand stage, a lawsuit will be filed and a trial date is set. Insurance companies will usually make a low-ball offer, but we work hard to help make sure that our clients get the best settlement possible.
Q: What are pain and suffering damages in a personal injury case?
Pain and suffering damages are non-economic damages, which means there is no single set standard for determining its value. The range of pain tolerance and healing ability varies greatly from individual to individual. The matter gets more complicated as pain and suffering can also include psychological distress, which could potentially last for years. Expert testimony is often used to determine the extent of the mental and physical anguish experienced, along with other factors including the victim’s age, existing medical issues, and overall physical condition.
Q: How do I know if I have suffered a serious injury that justifies a personal injury lawsuit?
Pennsylvania law does not contain a strictly literal definition of “serious injury.” Generally, a serious injury is one which will have a long recovery time, or potentially leave long-lasting effects. Some examples of serious injuries include:
- Severe brain injury
- Spinal injuries resulting in paralysis
- Loss of limbs, or permanent crippling of limbs
- Loss of eyesight or other senses
- Permanent damage to bodily organs
- Injuries which would prevent procreation or childbirth, and
- Injuries resulting in permanent disfigurements, such as severe burns and scars.
Personal injury cases can become very complicated. Having a skilled and experienced attorney who will answer personal injury frequently asked questions, as well as guide you every step of the way and represent you effectively in court is vital. In fact, having a good attorney can be the difference between a successful case where you get all the compensation you deserve, and an unsuccessful case that leaves you responsible for your medical bills and other consequences without financial aid.
About Alfred Abel Law Offices
The attorneys at Alfred Abel Law Offices are dedicated to providing our clients in Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas with practical and effective legal advice. With more than 30 years as a practicing personal injury attorney, Alfred Abel, Esq. has the necessary expertise and skills to meet the diverse needs of clients all types of personal injury cases – whether car accidents, slip and fall or other types of physical injuries caused by another party. Contact us at 215-517-8300 for more information or to schedule your free consultation.