How Damages Are Assessed In A Personal Injury Case

How Damages Are Assessed In A Personal Injury Case

Most people who are seriously injured in accidents in Pennsylvania because of the negligence of others have questions about the amount of money that they might recover in a lawsuit. Figuring out the value of your claim is not something that a personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you during your first appointment. Determining the damages of a personal injury case will take some investigation and time. At DiCindio Law, we can explain how damages are determined and provide you with guidance throughout your case.

Why it takes time to determine the value of a personal injury claim

The value of your personal injury claim cannot be determined until you have received medical treatment and learn about the extent of your injuries and the likelihood that you will fully recover from them. You might need to receive medical care for several months, making it difficult to determine the precise value of your claim.

Recovering damages in a personal injury lawsuit can take from many months to several years. Whenever you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, you should talk to an experienced injury lawyer at DiCindio Law. We can work to help you recover the maximum damages to which you should be entitled. Your lawyer can also help you to assess the damages and what you might expect from your case.

Compensatory damages in personal injury cases

Compensatory damages in personal injury cases are monetary amounts that are meant to compensate victims for their losses that they have suffered because of their accidents.
These damages are designed to make injured victims financially whole. However, placing a value on the compensatory damages can be hard. While economic losses are fairly straightforward to calculate, noneconomic losses can be more difficult to value. Your economic losses include the actual pecuniary losses that you have suffered. Your noneconomic losses are damages that are awarded for such things as pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, and other intangible losses.

Some of the common types of damages that you might recover in a personal injury lawsuit include the following:

  • Past, current, and future anticipated medical costs
  • Past wage losses and future anticipated losses of income
  • Property losses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish/emotional trauma
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life

In most cases, your medical expenses will be calculated after your treatment is finished. However, if you require ongoing care, your lawyer might work with a medical expert to calculate the costs of your ongoing treatment for the future. Your attorney will need your medical records to determine the extent of your injuries and the medical bills that you have received for your treatment. You must seek medical care as soon as possible after your accident and follow all of the treatment recommendations that you are given. If you wait to get medical treatment or fail to follow through with your doctor’s treatment recommendations, your ability to recover damages might be harmed.

Your attorney will also seek to recover the lost wages that you have suffered because of your accident and injuries. For example, if you were forced to miss weeks or months of work because of your injuries, the wages that you lost are recoverable. If your injuries prevent you from returning to your job at the same capacity or limit your ability to earn an income in the future, your attorney will also try to recover your future anticipated lost wages.

If your vehicle was totaled in a car accident that was the fault of the other driver, you should receive compensation for the value of your vehicle. Victims whose vehicles are totaled are typically offered the blue book values for their cars.

If your injuries are severe, you might recover damages for your physical pain and the suffering that you have experienced because of your injuries. Hiring a lawyer to collect physical pain and suffering damages is important. If you try to seek them on your own, you are unlikely to receive what you should be paid.

A personal injury lawyer will want you to see a doctor and continue receiving treatment before he or she can figure out how much money to ask for from the insurance company. Once your lawyer has calculated the value of your claim, he or she will send a demand letter to the insurance company to ask for a fair amount.

Why it is important to hire a personal injury lawyer for your injury case

Getting help from an experienced personal injury lawyer at DiCindio Law after your accident is important. It can be difficult to determine how much your case is worth without help. The insurance company might send you an early settlement offer that is much lower than the true value of your claim. A lawyer understands the tactics that are used by insurance companies when they attempt to reduce the amounts that they have to pay to accident victims. Michael DiCindio at DiCindio Law can fully investigate your case and determine the worth of your claim. Contact the DiCindio Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535.

How Long Does a Slip-and-Fall Case Take to Settle_

How Long Does a Slip-and-Fall Case Take to Settle?

Suffering serious injuries because of slipping and falling while visiting the property of someone else in Pennsylvania can devastate your life. When your injuries were caused by the negligent actions of the property owner, you might wonder how long a claim might take. Slip-and-fall accident claims can be complex, and each case is different. An attorney at DiCindio Law can evaluate your claim and explain its merits to you. He can also explain the process and the length of time that your claim might take to reach a settlement agreement or to go through a trial.

What factors affect the length of the claims process in Pennsylvania?

Many different factors can impact the lengths of the claims process after a slip-and-fall accident in Pennsylvania. The most important factors that can have an impact on the length of the process include the following:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • How long it will take for you to recover
  • The strength of your evidence showing the property owner’s liability
  • The willingness of the responsible party to negotiate a settlement agreement
  • Whether your negligence also contributed to the accident

Working with a slip-and-fall accident lawyer at DiCindio Law can help you to understand what to expect throughout the claims process. Your lawyer can handle all of the details for you so that you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries.

The extent and severity of injuries in slip-and-fall accidents

Slip-and-fall accidents that lead to extensive and severe injuries can take longer to resolve than accidents that result in minor injuries. Cases involving severe injuries that are expected to last a long time take longer to resolve because of the greater sums of money that will be involved. At-fault parties who stand to have to pay large sums to the victims to compensate them are likelier to vigorously defend against the claims. If your injuries are severe, it might also take more time for you to reach your maximum level of medical improvement or to receive a prognosis. These are necessary for calculating your medical expenses and your future anticipated costs of care.

The consequences of common slip-and-fall accident injuries

While slip-and-fall accidents can result in many different injuries, some types of injuries are common in these accidents. Fractures are a common type of injury that can happen in a slip-and-fall accident because of direct trauma from a hard surface or the victim bracing himself or herself during the fall.

Many victims suffer sprains and strains to their ligaments, muscles, and soft tissues. These types of injuries might require extensive rehabilitation to regain mobility.

Traumatic brain injuries can leave victims with lifelong injuries, depending on their severity. TBIs can range from concussions to major conditions that permanently alter the lives of the victims and their families. Victims can also suffer spinal cord injuries in slip-and-fall accidents. Spinal cord damage can cause permanent partial or total paralysis. If you have suffered these serious types of injuries, your claim might take longer because of the amount of compensation that might be involved.

Understanding premises liability

Slip-and-fall accident claims are negligence claims that involve premises liability. Property owners and operators must maintain their premises in reasonably safe and hazard-free conditions for the people who are lawfully present, including guests, people who are on the premises for business purposes, and customers.

To prove an owner’s premises liability, you will be required to prove that the owner created the dangerous condition that led to your accident. You will also need to prove that the property owner either knew about the condition or should have known about it because of the length of time that it had existed. You will need to show that the property owner failed to take steps to correct the problem or to warn about its existence. Causation is another element of a premises liability claim. You will have to show that the property owner’s breach of the duty of care caused your accident, injuries, and financial harm.

The duty of care is a legal responsibility that commercial, residential, and governmental property owners owe to people who are legally present on their premises. Property owners and operators must keep their premises safe and free of hazards for guests. For example, they must keep their walkways, staircases, and handrails in good condition, promptly clean spills, post warning signs, and proactively inspect their properties to discover any dangerous conditions that might arise.

A breach of the duty of care occurs when a property owner fails to uphold his or her responsibilities. For example, a property owner might breach the duty by putting off repairs or ignoring spills.

Even if you can show that the owner breached the duty of care, you will not be able to recover compensation unless you can show that the breach caused your accident and injuries. Finally, you must show that you suffered actual harm, including injuries and financial losses.

If you have strong evidence linking the actions or inactions of the liable party to your injuries, it will be likelier for you to negotiate a fair settlement before going to trial. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate your claim to help you to build a strong case of liability.

Settling a slip-and-fall accident claim

Many slip-and-fall claims are resolved through settlement agreements without ever going to trial. Your lawyer will work as hard as possible to negotiate a fair settlement for you. Settling your claim is advantageous because it allows you to avoid the risk of trial. When you go to trial, there is no guarantee of what a jury might do. Settling your case also makes the process faster and spares you the expense of a trial.

What damages are recoverable in a slip-and-fall case?

Your lawyer will not be able to give you a precise value until a thorough investigation is completed. Typically, the following types of damages might be recoverable, however:

  • Economic losses such as your medical expenses and income losses
  • Noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering damages, disfigurement, scarring, disability, and others

Your lawyer at DiCindio Law can help you to understand the value of your claim after investigating it. If we are unable to reach a settlement agreement, we will fight for your rights to compensation through the litigation process.

Get help today

After suffering injuries in a slip-and-fall accident, you need to act quickly to preserve your rights. Contact DiCindio law today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535.

What Do I Need To Know About Slip And Fall / Premises Liability?

Hazardous conditions on a property can sometimes occur without warning. For example, a sinkhole could suddenly open and cause an accident without the property owner knowing about the potential danger. In other cases, property owners may be aware of a danger and choose to ignore it. When a property owner knows about a dangerous condition or should have known about its existence, the property owner may be liable to pay damages under a theory called premises liability. In most cases, premises liability involves negligence, which occurs when someone engages in a careless act or negligently fails to act. When a property owner fails to correct dangerous conditions on his or her property that he or she knew about or should have known about, resulting in injuries to people who were lawfully present, the victims may be able to recover damages for their losses. DiCindio Law might be able to help injured victims to recover the compensation to which they should be entitled.

Dangerous property conditions

When someone is injured while visiting the property of another, it does not automatically mean that the owner was negligent. The property might have a dangerous condition, but the condition alone does not mean that the owner was negligent. Instead, the property owner may be liable when he or she failed to exercise reasonable care to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition or to correct a known hazard that existed.

Slip and fall accidents

One of the most common types of cases involving premises liability is a slip and fall accident. These cases are also difficult to prove and will require an investigation of the circumstances that occurred to determine legal liability.

Some dangerous conditions that can lead to slip and fall accidents include the following:

  • Tripping over objects and falling
  • Poor lighting
  • Narrow staircases
  • Fallen merchandise
  • Slick floors
  • Uneven floors
  • Torn carpets
  • Broken or uneven sidewalks
  • Potholes in parking lots

Some common types of injuries that occur in slip and fall accidents include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Strains and sprains
  • Bruising
  • Lacerations
  • Spinal injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries

Because of how common they are, some people might think that slip and fall accidents are minor. However, many people who are injured in slip and fall accidents suffer severe injuries that come with exorbitant costs. In some cases, slip and fall accidents can result in deaths and lead to the basis for wrongful death lawsuits.

The status of the injured victim

Property owners and operators have different duties of care to people who are present on their properties that depend on the statuses of the visitors. There are three statuses that are recognized under the premises liability law of Pennsylvania, including invitees, licensees, and trespassers.

Invitees are people who are invited to the premises for business reasons. For example, a business that is open to the public has invited shoppers to enter for the benefit of the business’s owner. Other visitors such as firemen, garbage collectors, and others are deemed as invitees under the law. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees and must correct for known hazards and inspect for unknown hazards. They must warn visitors of any hazards that are discovered and take action to correct them.

Licensees are people who enter the property with the owner’s implied or express permission. For example, if you are invited to go to a friend’s house for dinner, you would be deemed to be a licensee. An owner’s permission includes any conduct that leads the visitor to believe that the owner will allow them to enter. In addition to social guests, others who have this status include meter readers. Property owners must correct known hazards that exist on their property for licensees who visit.

Property owners owe the least duty of care to trespassers. These are people who come onto the property of someone else without express or implied permission. Property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers to correct known or unknown dangers on their properties. However, they may be liable if they deliberately set traps with the intent to injure trespassers.

Children have special protections under Pennsylvania law, including trespassing children. Property owners must take care to remediate dangerous conditions that could attract children such as swimming pools, ponds, mines, wells, and other dangerous conditions that might attract children who do not understand the risk. For example, people should erect fences with locking gates around their swimming pools to prevent children from entering them.

Insurance considerations

Before a premises liability lawsuit will be filed, it will be important to figure out whether the defendant has the financial ability to pay damages. If he or she does not, filing a lawsuit might not be worthwhile. However, in most cases, the defendants will have a homeowner’s insurance policy or a business’s general liability policy. A personal injury lawyer at DiCindio law will investigate to identify all of the potential recovery sources.

Your attorney will then look at the policy limits of the existing policy to determine whether they are sufficient to cover the claim. There may be different limits contained in the policy for different types of damages. Any claims that exceed the policy limits will have to be collected from other sources.

The insurance company’s duty to defend

Insurance companies must indemnify and defend their insureds against legal liability up to the policy limits. The duty to defend includes covering the legal costs involved with defending the claim. The duty to indemnify means the insurance company is responsible for paying monetary awards from judgments against the insured. In most cases, the insurance company will hire a defense lawyer and will engage in settlement negotiations. The companies are required to act in good faith in settlement negotiations and lawsuits.

Accidents in the workplace

Slip and fall accidents that happen at work fall under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act and the workplace safety laws of the state of Pennsylvania. People who are injured at work may be entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

Contact DiCindio Law

If you have been injured by a dangerous condition while you were lawfully present on the property of another, you may have legal rights. Contact DiCindio Law to learn about your potential claim by filling out our online contact form or calling us at (610) 430-3535.

Limited Tort and Full Tort

Under Pennsylvania law, there are two main types of insurance coverage for motor vehicles.  First, is called “limited tort” and the second “full tort.”  The main difference between limited tort and full tort is that when one has a limited tort policy, if they are injured in a car accident by the negligence of another person they are only entitled to recover for economic damages (i.e. – out of pocket expenses).  Under a full tort policy one injured in the same manner would be able to recover non-economic damages (i.e. – pain and suffering, etc.). While full tort policies are typically more expensive it is obvious why you may wish to pay the higher premium for this coverage in the event of a car accident.

Car Accident Attorney West Chester

Car Accident Attorney West Chester

While an individual cannot seek recovery for non-economic damages for injuries suffered in a car accident under a limited tort policy the law permits them to do so in the event that the injury they suffered was falls within the definition of “serious injury.”  The law defines serious injury as injuries of one or more impaired body functions; and whether that impairment of a body function was serious.  In determining whether the impairment of a body function was “serious” there are factors that are to be considered such as the extent of the impairment, the particular body function impaired, the length of time the impairment lasted, the treatment required to correct the impairment, and any other relevant factors.

It is important to hire a skilled and experienced personal injury/car accident attorney when you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident.  Contact Mike DiCindio and DiCindio Law, LLC to discuss your case today.