Lawrence County & New Castle Personal Injury Lawyer
Many Pennsylvanians will at some point require the services of a personal injury attorney. Personal injury claims are civil actions between private individuals or companies after one party causes physical injury or economic harm to another. Residents of Lawrence County should familiarize themselves with Pennsylvania’s laws governing personal injury claims and know where to turn when they need legal counsel.
About New Castle and Ellwood City
New Castle is the largest city and county seat of Lawrence County, and Ellwood City is the second largest city in the county that extends into Beaver County. Both cities have rich industrial histories and are a short distance from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Considering the proximity to a major urban zone and the many industrial businesses and operations in the area, residents of Lawrence County should understand the risks of suffering personal injuries in the area. Some of the biggest industries in Lawrence County include automotive assembly and manufacturing, transportation, and logistics.
Some of the most common causes of personal injury claims include workplace injuries involving supervisor or employer negligence, automobile accidents, and common carrier accidents. Many people living in Lawrence County work in New Castle, Ellwood City, or commute to the Pittsburgh area for work. When accidents happen resulting in injuries, injured parties should work quickly to gather the evidence necessary for filing a claim.
Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Personal injury law sounds straightforward at first, and many injured individuals may believe their cases are so obvious and open-and-shut that hiring an attorney would be a needless expense. While some people can successfully manage their own personal injury claims, this is very rare, and an attorney can help an injured client in many ways.
After suffering an injury, the injured person will likely have to manage medical treatment, missed time from work, family concerns, and many other stressors made more difficult by his or her injury. Attempting to manage one’s own personal injury claim on top of all these other responsibilities can quickly become overwhelming. A personal injury attorney can help an injured client by handling the legal concerns, so the client can focus on recovering.
Although a personal injury claim may seem straightforward, the truth is usually the opposite. There are countless issues that can cause problems with a civil action, including legal process deadlines, filing requirements, managing court appearances, and supplying the opposition with required documentation on time. Failing to meet the court’s deadlines and other requirements could lead to a judge dismissing the claim before it even reaches trial. A qualified personal injury attorney will know how to meet the court’s filing requirements and deadlines so the case can proceed unimpeded.
Finally, one of the biggest concerns the average person might have about hiring an attorney is the cost. Legal services typically aren’t cheap, but paying legal fees and winning a case is always preferable to losing out of the gate without representation. The attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. Attorneys at Law offer free case evaluations to new clients, so there are no upfront fees or costs. Our firm typically offers our Ohio and Pennsylvania clients contingency fee billing, meaning that we do not collect legal fees unless we win compensation for our client. If you are still unsure about hiring a lawyer for your personal injury claim in Lawrence County, reach out to the team at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. Attorneys at Law for a free consultation about your claim.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury claim can arise from any event involving one party causing harm to another. While honest mistakes, freak accidents, and unavoidable injuries do happen, the determining factor in personal injury claims is negligent. An injured plaintiff needs to prove the defendant in his or her case was negligent to succeed in a claim. Some of the most common sources of personal injury claims include:
- Car accidents.
- Trucking accidents.
- Defective consumer products.
- Premises liability.
- Dog bite incidents.
- Medical malpractice claims.
- Workplace injuries resulting from employer negligence.
- Daycare or school injuries.
This is not an exhaustive list, and anyone who has suffered physical injury or economic loss due to the actions of another party in Lawrence County should reach out to the attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. Attorneys at Law for a free case evaluation.
Negligence in Personal Injury Claims
Proving negligence in a personal injury case involves proving four elements of negligence:
- Duty. The plaintiff must prove the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care in the given situation. For example, in a personal injury claim resulting from a car accident, the plaintiff must be able to prove the defendant was involved in the accident.
- Breach. Next, the plaintiff must show the court how the defendant breached or failed to meet his or her duty of care in the given situation. Following the car accident example, this could include proving the defendant had been drinking, was texting while driving, speeding, or failed to stop for a red light or stop sign. In most cases, a “breach of duty” pertains to one individual’s or entity’s failing to act in a manner that another reasonable party would in the same situation.
- Causation. Personal injury claims seek to repay victims of negligence directly for their losses. Plaintiffs may only sue for the direct results of a defendant’s negligence, so they must prove their damages resulted from the defendant’s negligence and not some other cause. For example, back injuries are very common in car accidents, so it should be relatively easy for a plaintiff to prove his or her back injury happened from the car accident in question.
- Damage. The plaintiff can only sue if he or she suffered some kind of loss or injury. If a defendant acted negligently, such as running a red light or texting while driving, the plaintiff can only sue if that negligence caused damage or actual harm.
Pennsylvania Personal Injury Laws
Every state has unique laws concerning personal injury claims, and Pennsylvania is no exception. In Pennsylvania, injured plaintiffs have a two-year statute of limitations starting on the date of an injury or the date of discovery of harm to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party.
Some states place caps on the amount of compensation plaintiffs may recover from personal injury claims, but Pennsylvania only caps compensation in cases against the state government at $250,000 or a local government at $500,000. There is no cap when filing a claim against a private individual or business. However, Pennsylvania does have a “choice no fault” statute concerning car accidents. Depending on the type of insurance coverage a driver carries, it may limit his or her ability to sue after an accident. A person who carries no-fault insurance will need to file a claim against his or her own insurance company for compensation but may be able to sue the negligent driver who caused the accident if the injured person suffered great bodily harm.
Finally, Pennsylvania follows a contributory negligence statute. If a plaintiff is partially at fault for the injury-causing incident in question, he or she may still receive compensation as long as the jury finds the plaintiff less than 50% at fault for the incident. The plaintiff’s compensation award drops by his or her fault percentage. For example, a plaintiff found 25% at fault for his or her injuries will lose 25% of the case award. In a $100,000 case, the plaintiff would only receive $75,000.
Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Most personal injury claims involve two types of damages: economic and non-economic. After an injury-causing incident, the injured party can sue for economic losses resulting from the defendant’s negligence including:
Property damage. If the defendant’s actions caused damage to the plaintiff’s personal property, the plaintiff can sue for the cost of repairing or replacing those items. For example, vehicle damage after a car accident or a broken cell phone in a slip and fall case would be property damages.
Lost income. Some injuries may prevent an injured plaintiff from working for an extended time. Severe injuries may leave an injured plaintiff unable to ever work again. Injured plaintiffs can sue for any wages lost during recovery as well as lost future earnings in some cases.
Medical expenses. The plaintiff can sue for any medical expenses resulting from the defendant’s negligence, including hospital bills, surgical costs, ongoing treatment costs, rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical devices, prescriptions, and any other expenses pertaining to medical care.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and vary on a case-by-case basis. The justice system recognizes that the experience of suffering an injury is typically worse for the victim than the economic fallout and therefore allows plaintiffs to sue for their pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages typically seek to compensate injured plaintiffs for their physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by a defendant’s negligence.
There is no set formula for determining how much a plaintiff may seek in pain and suffering damages, but they are typically several times more than the plaintiff’s economic damages. For example, if a plaintiff’s property damages and medical expenses total about $50,000, the plaintiff may seek $150,000 in pain and suffering if his or her injuries were particularly painful or involved difficult recovery. The plaintiff’s attorney will typically advise an appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation to seek based on the facts of the case.
Seek Reliable Legal Representation in Lawrence County
The attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. Attorneys at Law provide every client with the full range of our experience and resources, and explore every possible avenue of compensation in personal injury claims. We understand how difficult it can be to recover after an accident caused by negligence, so allow us to handle your legal concerns while you focus on recovery.
Visit our firm online for more information, or call us today at 1-800-777-4081 for a free consultation about your personal injury claim. We can let you know what to expect from filing a lawsuit and what type of compensation you could receive from your claim.