How Much is a Personal Injury Case Worth?

In personal injury lawsuits, the person wronged may claim damages based on their injuries that are caused by an accident for which another party is liable. This injured party is the plaintiff and will bring the suit against the person, persons, or organization that caused or contributed to their injuries.

How much a personal injury case is worth comes down to what damages are awarded to the plaintiff, or the person harmed. It also depends on if there is a sustainable claim and if insurance covers part or all of the damages.

Different types of damages may be awarded. Additionally, other factors determine how much a personal injury case is worth based upon the specific facts of the accident and the parties involved. If you are considering whether you may have a personal injury case and want to know how much it may be worth, here is what you need to know.

Introduction to Personal Injury Cases

In personal injury cases, a person has suffered injuries due to the actions of another person or company. If that person or company is found to be at fault or liable for this accident, then there may be an award of damages to cover the expenses and harm caused to the injured party.

The injured party is the plaintiff in these cases. The defendant is the one accused of causing the incident that resulted in harm to the plaintiff. If the defendant is found to be at fault or liable for the injury caused to the plaintiff, then damages may be awarded to the plaintiff to compensate that party for the harm incurred.

These damages may be covered by the defendant or by their insurance company, where applicable.

The Three Key Factors in Determining How Much a Personal Injury Case is Worth

The three main factors in determining how much a personal injury case is worth are: liability, damages, and insurance coverage. For a personal injury case claim to succeed, all three factors need to be present.

Liability

The defendant needs to be found to be a cause of the accident that harmed the injured party. In other words, the defendant needs to be liable. Some key issues that concern liability include whether the injured party was partly at fault, whether there was any waiver of claims for liability, the circumstances in which it occurred, the place that the accident took place, whether the plaintiff’s personal property was damaged, and the relationship between the parties.

State laws vary on whether a personal injury claim may be brought where the injured party was partly at fault. This circumstance may be referred to as contributory negligence. If you are unsure as to whether this applies to you, then contacting an attorney may be best before proceeding with bringing a claim in a personal injury case.

Damages

For a claim to succeed in a personal injury case, there needs to be some sort of damages. The plaintiff must have caused the accident resulting in the damages and injuries incurred by the plaintiff. These are actions for which the defendant must be held liable.

There are some nuisances with damages depending on the claim, the situation, and the applicable state’s law. For example, there are frequently defense claims that the injured party had a pre-existing injury/condition. The defendant may attempt to make an argument that the damages caused were not due to their actions but were instead due to the injured party already having a condition that would cause these damages.

Usually, the standard for this type of claim for defense is whether an average person could have sustained these damages and if the damages were reasonably foreseeable. However, it will depend significantly on the state in which the incident occurred and the specific facts of the situation that caused the accident.

These are many factors that may impact the damages and liabilities of a personal injury claim. It is critical to consult an attorney if you are unsure as to whether other considerations may apply to your situation.

Insurance Coverage

If insurance is involved, then the insurance company may cover some of the damages that the injured party sustained. Depending on the facts of the case, it could be the plaintiff’s insurance or the defendant’s insurance that covers all or part of the costs or damages incurred from the accident.

If there is insurance coverage that will cover a portion of the damages caused to the injured party, then the personal injury case may not be worth as much or may not be worth anything. If insurance covers all of it, then it is highly unlikely that the injured party can bring a claim against the party for which they allege was a cause of the accident that caused them damages. However, an insurance company may want to pursue a claim against the party at fault to recoup their costs.

Types of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Cases

If a personal injury case claim is successful, then there may be an award of damages.

Typically compensatory damages are the type of damages awarded in personal injury cases. These types of awards are meant to restore the injured party to the place that they were in before the accident that caused harm because of the defendant’s actions. In other words, these damages are awarded with the intent to make the plaintiff “whole.”

Some of the common types of compensatory damages may include the following terminology:

  • Reimbursement of medical expenses
  • Payment to cover lost wages that resulted from missed work due to the injuries sustained
  • Cost of repairs or compensation to cover property loss, if applicable, caused by the accident that is the subject of the personal injury lawsuit
  • Monetary compensation to cover pain and suffering that resulted from the accident
  • Loss of spousal enjoyment, which is more commonly referred to as “loss of consortium” for personal injury cases
  • Damages to compensate for the loss of enjoyment of daily activities due to the accident
  • Compensation for emotional distress to reimburse for the psychological harm that the accident caused to the injured party.

Not all of the damages mentioned above will apply to every personal injury case. It will depend on the type of harm caused, the claim brought, and the state in which the accident occurred. For example, some states do not recognize each kind of damage listed, or they may use different terminology or categories. Other states may include more types of damages. Moreover, some states require physical harm or harm to property for there to be a claim for damages pertaining to psychological or loss of enjoyment.

Do You Want to Know How Much Your Personal Injury Case is Worth? Contact an Attorney Today

If you are considering filing a personal injury case against a party that has caused you harm and want to know how much your case is worth, then you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney. The specific facts of your situation can significantly influence and change the value of damages you may be entitled to due to the injuries you incurred because of an accident for which another party is liable. An attorney can help guide you through this process.

To discuss your situation and learn more about how much your personal injury case may be worth, fill out our contact form. One of our attorneys will give you a call to discuss your case and the potential value of bringing a claim in a personal injury case.

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.

Is There A Statute Of Limitations For Filing A Personal Injury Claim in PA?

No matter what type of accident you might have had in which you were injured because of the actions of another person or entity, you might be considering filing a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania. If you decide to file a claim in the civil court system, it is important to understand the statute of limitations that applies to it. At DiCindio Law, we can help people who have been injured by the wrongful or negligent actions of others to file their claims within the limitations period so their rights to recovery might be preserved.

What is a statute of limitations?

Pennsylvania and all other states have statutes of limitations. These are laws that specify a time limit for filing different types of claims. The time within which the claims must be filed is called the limitations period. Claims that are filed outside of the limitations period will be dismissed, meaning that the victims will be prevented from recovering compensation for their losses. This makes knowing the statute of limitations for your particular type of claim important so that you can make certain to comply with it. If you fail to follow the statute of limitations, you may be permanently barred from recovering the damages to which you would otherwise be entitled.

Personal injury statute of limitations in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania statute of limitations for personal injury claims is found at 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5542. Under this law, you have two years to file a personal injury action to recover damages for your injuries or for the wrongful death of your loved one that results from the negligence or wrongful conduct of someone else.

The two-year statute of limitations applies to most types of personal injury claims, including those that are based on negligence and those that are based on intentional conduct. Intentional torts include civil assaults, civil batteries, and other intentional actions.

The clock on the limitations period begins from the date of your injury accident. If you have been injured because of the actions or negligence of someone else, you will have two years to file the civil complaint and other required documents to commence your lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, your lawsuit will be dismissed.

What happens when people miss the deadline?

If you wait to file a lawsuit until more than two years have passed since your accident, the defendant will likely file a motion to dismiss. He or she will explain to the court that you have filed your complaint outside of the limitations period. Unless an exception provides you with more time to file, the court will dismiss your claim. If your claim is dismissed, you will lose your right to ask for an award of damages for your injuries from the court. It will not matter how much you have lost or how significant your injuries might be. It also won’t matter if the defendant’s liability is clear.

This makes the personal injury statute of limitations pivotal when you want to file a formal lawsuit against the responsible party or parties. It is also important when you want to negotiate with the insurance company or the defendant for damages outside of the court process. If the insurance company or defendant knows that you are outside of the two-year statute of limitations, there will be little incentive for a settlement agreement. You will not have any leverage over the defendant to threaten to file a lawsuit against him or her.

Exceptions to the personal injury statute of limitations in Pennsylvania

While the personal injury statute of limitations is strictly enforced in Pennsylvania, there are a few scenarios that might toll the running of the clock and expand the filing deadline period. Some of the examples of exceptions that can modify the limitations period include the following:

  • The injured victim was a minor who was not legally emancipated at the time of the accident that caused his or her injuries. In this situation, the clock won’t begin to run until the injured victim reaches age 18 under 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5533.
  • The defendant is outside of Pennsylvania for more than four months after the accident and before the lawsuit is filed or hides his or her presence in the state by using a fake name under 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5532.

In the case of concealment or absence, the time during which the person was absent or hidden will likely not count against the running of the limitations period.

Lawsuits against the government

If the responsible party in your injury accident is a governmental entity, the limitations period is quite different. For example, if you had a slip and fall injury accident while you were visiting the premises of a government agency, a different statute of limitations applies. Under 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5522, people who intend to file claims against the government must send notices to it within six months of the date that they were injured in the accidents. If you fail to send the required notice, any lawsuit that you might later file against the government will likely be dismissed.

When should you contact an attorney?

The statutes of limitation in Pennsylvania provide hard deadlines within which you must file a formal lawsuit against the negligent or wrongful actors who caused your injuries. While these limitations periods give you an idea of the maximum amount of time that you can wait to file a lawsuit, you should talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurred. Talking to a lawyer early can help you to preserve evidence that could otherwise be lost. In some cases, the government may hold partial liability for an accident, meaning that you might need to file a notice much earlier than the two-year statute of limitations for a personal injury claim.

Contact DiCindio Law today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at (610)430-3535. You can also fill in your information in our online contact form to request a consultation.

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.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. Named as one of The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. – West Chester, Pennsylvania Criminal Defense attorney and sole member of DiCindio Law, LLC – was recently named as one of The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40.

DiCindio Law, LLC is a law firm that focuses the majority of its practice on representing individuals charged with crimes or those injured by the negligence of others in West Chester, Chester County, and the surrounding areas in Pennsylvania.  As the sole member and head of the firm, Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. puts his passion for the law and dedication to his client’s interests into every case he handles.

Michael D. DiCindio Chester County Criminal and Personal Injury Attorney

Michael D. DiCindio – Chester County Criminal and Personal Injury Attorney

“The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 is a professional organization composed of the top trial lawyers from each state or region who are under the age of 40.  Membership into The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 is by invitation only and is extended exclusively to those trial lawyers practicing civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law. Membership is extended solely to the select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile measured by objective and uniformly applied standards in compliance with state bar and national Rule 4-7.”  (Citing the The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 website).

Michae

More information about Attorney Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. and the cases his firm handles can be found on the firm’s website: https://www.dicindiolaw.com