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Q
What is negligence?
AIn its most simple definition, it means that someone was careless and as a result of being careless, someone else was injured. Negligence serves as the basis for a personal injury lawsuit. Negligence is any conduct that falls below the recognized standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risks of harm. A person has acted negligently if he or she has departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under the same or similar circumstances. To establish negligence, a plaintiff (the person injured) must be able to prove or demonstrate in court that the defendant (the person being sued) had a duty to the plaintiff, the defendant breached that duty by failing to conform to the required standard of conduct, the defendant’s negligent conduct was the cause of the harm to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff was, in fact, harmed or damaged. For example, the driver of a tractor trailer truck hauling a large piece of machinery owes a duty to other drivers on the freeway to be careful. If the truck driver failed to strap down the machinery and it fell off the truck, landing on a passing car and injuring the driver of the car, a personal injury claim could be made based upon the negligence of the truck driver.
Q
We will fight to protect your legal rights under the law?
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Q
Who Is Responsible When A Person Is Injured
AThe law of personal injury is concerned with determining who may be responsible for your injuries and how much they should be required to pay for your damages. Personal injury is part of the law of torts, the legal term that includes many types of injuries to people and their property. Every tort claim must include four basic elements including duty, breach of duty, damages, and proximate cause. The defendant must have a legal duty toward the plaintiff. The defendant must have violated that legal duty. The plaintiff must have suffered some harm for which the law allows an award of monetary damages. The defendant’s breach of a legal duty must be related to the plaintiff’s injury closely enough to be considered a proximate cause of the injury.

There are a number of principles that apply to the law of torts and personal injury. These principles recognize degrees of fault on the part of the person who causes the injury. In general, the degrees of fault can be described as negligence, intentional fault, and strict liability.

The term negligence is essential to tort law. Everyone is expected to take normal ordinary care to ensure that their action or the actions of others under their control, do not cause anyone harm. If they fall below that standard, and someone is injured or their property damaged, then they become negligent. Negligence does not mean that the person deliberately intended to cause harm; it only means that they did not take reasonable care or they did not act when any reasonable person would have. The degree of care varies with the circumstances of each case. A plaintiff likewise has a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances on his own behalf.

Strict liability means that one does not have to prove negligence to recover damages. In the case of product liability, the law now holds that you do not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent if someone is injured while using a product. They only have to prove the product was defective when it left the hands of the particular seller and that was the proximate cause of the injuries. A lawsuit can be brought against anyone participating in the chain of manufacture for that product, from the manufacturer, to the designer to the retail store.

An “intentional tort” refers to a personal injury caused by a person who has the intent to cause harm. It may also refer to injury caused by willful or reckless conduct. Intentional torts include assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel and slander, etc.

There may be more than one cause of an injury. In Pennsylvania, when the negligent conduct of two or more parties contributes as causes of an injury, each party is generally liable for the total amount of damages.

Q
How Long Do I Have To Hire An Attorney?
AThe law requires that you file a lawsuit within a specified period of time depending on the nature of the claim and the entity that caused your injury. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. Failure to file suit within this time frame prevents you from filing suit at all. In some instances, there are various exceptions to the statutes of limitation that may extend or limit the limitation periods. There may be special claims presentation requirements. For example, if you have a claim against state or local government, you must notify them within six months of the date of the incident. For these reasons, it is important to consult an attorney as early as possible to be sure you don’t miss a crucial deadline.

In Pennsylvania, most actions for personal injury must be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrues. In most cases, the cause of action accrues on the date of the incident, but there may be exceptions when the injury could not have reasonably been discovered until a later date. In such cases, the limitation period does not begin to run until the discovery of the injury is reasonably possible. Wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the date of death.

Q
What Damages Can I Recover?
AYou are entitled to recover for any actual damages that were proximately caused by the wrongful conduct of the defendant. Actual damages refers to the amount of money it would take to fully compensate you and place you in the same position you would have been in had the injury never taken place. You can recover for losses such as costs of reasonable and necessary medical care, property damage, car rental expenses, costs of domestic services, and loss of earnings. The law allows compensation for future medical and care expenses that the claimant can prove will be reasonably necessary to treat the injury. The claim may include income the claimant can prove will probably be lost in the future because of the injuries. Loss of earning capacity is also allowed when the patient proves he or she is less able to earn a living as a result of the injuries.

You are also entitled to non¬economic damages for physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering, physical impairment, inconvenience, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (disruption of your personal relationship with your spouse), etc. There is no definite standard of calculating reasonable compensation for these types of damages other than being just and reasonable in light of the evidence. They are assessed in light of the nature, extent, and length of time the injury lasts.

Sometimes a person is so severely injured that he or she cannot care and support loved ones the way he or she did before the injury. In appropriate circumstances, the law permits damages to be recovered by family members of negligently injured people for the loss of the love, care, affection, companionship, and other pleasures of the family relationship that are lost because of the injury.

Family members can be compensated for the wrongful death of a loved one. These damages may include medical and burial expenses, loss of income that would have supported the family members, and contributions the deceased would have made in the way of comfort, assistance, advice, protection, companionship, etc.
Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for reckless or malicious conduct and deter others from similar conduct. They are only awarded in rare cases.

The Commonwealth’s liability is limited to $250,000 per claimant and $1,000,000 in the aggregate. Where local agencies are not immune, their liability is limited to $500,000 per transaction or occurrence.

Q
How Can I Determine How Much My Claim Is Worth?
AAttorneys are prohibited from promising that they will obtain a certain amount of money for you. For purposes of settlement, a claim is valued upon an estimate of what a jury would likely believe the case to be worth, taking into account the severity of the injury, the effects of the injury on your life and the negligence of the other party. If you were partially at fault for the accident, the amount of damages will be reduced proportionately. Any settlement will be reduced if there appears to be a good chance that the claim will not be successful. Other factors that may reduce the damages include past medical history, pre-existing injuries, and prior claims history.

Considerable compensation may be commanded if your injuries are severe requiring extensive medical treatment, absences from work and permanent injuries. This is especially true if you were a healthy, productive, young worker prior to the accident. That is because an important factor in the value of your claim is the difference between your quality of life before the accident as compared to after the accident.

Q
What Damages Can I Recover?
AYou are entitled to recover for any actual damages that were proximately caused by the wrongful conduct of the defendant. Actual damages refers to the amount of money it would take to fully compensate you and place you in the same position you would have been in had the injury never taken place. You can recover for losses such as costs of reasonable and necessary medical care, property damage, car rental expenses, costs of domestic services, and loss of earnings. The law allows compensation for future medical and care expenses that the claimant can prove will be reasonably necessary to treat the injury. The claim may include income the claimant can prove will probably be lost in the future because of the injuries. Loss of earning capacity is also allowed when the patient proves he or she is less able to earn a living as a result of the injuries.

You are also entitled to non¬economic damages for physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering, physical impairment, inconvenience, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (disruption of your personal relationship with your spouse), etc. There is no definite standard of calculating reasonable compensation for these types of damages other than being just and reasonable in light of the evidence. They are assessed in light of the nature, extent, and length of time the injury lasts.

Sometimes a person is so severely injured that he or she cannot care and support loved ones the way he or she did before the injury. In appropriate circumstances, the law permits damages to be recovered by family members of negligently injured people for the loss of the love, care, affection, companionship, and other pleasures of the family relationship that are lost because of the injury.

Family members can be compensated for the wrongful death of a loved one. These damages may include medical and burial expenses, loss of income that would have supported the family members, and contributions the deceased would have made in the way of comfort, assistance, advice, protection, companionship, etc.
Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for reckless or malicious conduct and deter others from similar conduct. They are only awarded in rare cases.

The Commonwealth’s liability is limited to $250,000 per claimant and $1,000,000 in the aggregate. Where local agencies are not immune, their liability is limited to $500,000 per transaction or occurrence.

Q
What Damages Can Be Recovered For Medical Malpractice?
ALimits on economic and noneconomic damages in Pennsylvania are not limited. The Pennsylvania courts have found such limits to be unconstitutional. Therefore, defendants are potentially liable for all reasonable economic and noneconomic damages that were caused by their medical malpractice. Punitive damages are, however, limited to cases where the defendant is found guilty of willful misconduct or reckless disregard.

As a victim of medical malpractice, you can sue for your injuries and all of the direct consequences of those injuries. Actual damages refers to the amount of money it would take to fully compensate you and place you in the same position you would have been in had the injury never taken place. You can recover your actual economic losses such as the costs of reasonable and necessary medical care, rehabilitative services, costs of domestic services, and loss of earnings. The law allows compensation for future medical and care expenses that the claimant can prove will be reasonably necessary to treat the injury caused by the malpractice. The claim may include income the claimant can prove will probably be lost in the future because of the injuries. Loss of earning capacity is also allowed when the patient proves he or she is less able to earn a living as a result of the injuries caused by the malpractice.

You are also entitled to non­economic damages for physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering, physical impairment, inconvenience, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (disruption of your personal relationship with your spouse), etc. There is no definite standard of calculating reasonable compensation for these types of damages other than being just and reasonable in light of the evidence. They are assessed in light of the nature, extent, and length of time the injury lasts.

Sometimes a person is so severely injured that he or she cannot care and support loved ones the way he or she did before the injury. In appropriate circumstances, the law permits damages to be recovered by family members of negligently injured people for the loss of the love, care, affection, companionship, and other pleasures of the family relationship that are lost because of the injury.

Family members can be compensated for the wrongful death of a loved one. These damages may include medical and burial expenses, loss of income that would have supported the family members, and contributions the deceased would have made in the way of comfort, assistance, advice, protection, companionship, etc.

Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for reckless or malicious conduct and deter others from similar conduct. They are only awarded in rare cases. Punitive damages against physicians may not exceed two times the amount of compensatory damages. Hospitals cannot be held liable for punitive damages unless it knew of and allowed the conduct of its agent that resulted in punitive damages.

The Commonwealth`s liability is limited to $250,000 per claimant and $1,000,000 in the aggregate. Where local agencies are not immune, their liability is limited to $500,000 per transaction or occurrence.

Q
What Happens If I Am Injured In The Course Of Medical Treatment?
A If a medical professional makes an error that results in injury to the patient, the patient may be able to sue the negligent party or parties for monetary damages to compensate him or her for the medical injury. Medical malpractice claims arise when a health care professional or organization provides unskilled or negligent treatment that results in injury to the patient. The underlying basis for a medical malpractice claim is that you sustain an injury as a result of treatment that falls below the accepted standard of medical care for that particular field of professional expertise.

Some examples of medical malpractice include incorrect diagnosis or failure to diagnose, failure to treat, improper treatment, delay in treatment, prescription errors, surgical errors, foreign object left in the body, failure to properly monitor a patient, failure to order necessary tests, birth injuries, rendition of services without informed consent, etc.

Q
Is There A Time Limit In Which I Need To File A Lawsuit For Medical Malpractice?
AThe law requires that you file a lawsuit within a specified period of time depending on the nature of the claim and the entity that caused your injury. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. Failure to file suit within this time frame prevents you from filing suit at all. In some instances, there are various exceptions to the statutes of limitation that may extend or limit the limitation periods. There may be special claims presentation requirements. For example, if you have a claim against state or local government, you must notify them within six months of the date of the incident. For these reasons, it is important to consult an attorney as early as possible to be sure you don`t miss a crucial deadline.

An action for medical malpractice must be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrues. In most cases, the cause of action accrues on the date of the incident, but there may be exceptions when the injury could not have reasonably been discovered until a later date. In such cases, the limitation period does not begin to run until the discovery of the injury is reasonably possible. Wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the date of death. If the claimant is an unemancipated minor at the time the cause of action accrues, the limitation period is tolled until two years after he reaches the age of eighteen.

Q
Does Signing A Consent Form Waive My Rights To File A Lawsuit For Medical Malpractice?
ASigning a consent form in and of itself does not waive your rights. It is possible that the consent form does not contain all of the relevant information that it should or it may have been signed without adequate explanation. Even if you signed a consent form, you did not consent to substandard medical care. A doctor`s failure to meet the acceptable standard of care is not the same as consenting to the normal risks of a procedure.
Q
How Long After An Injury Do I Have To Report It To My Employer?
ATYou should immediately report any injury to your employer. The Pennsylvania Workers` Compensation Act requires an injured worker to notify the employer within 21 days of being injured. You have 120 days to advise your employer of a work injury, or, you have 120 days from the time you become aware that the injury or illness is work-related. If you do not report an injury within this timeframe no compensation will be allowed.
Q
Can my employer request my medical records or history?
AUnder normal circumstances, your employer is not entitled to access your medical records and/or history. However, there are situations in which your employer may validly access your medical history. For instance, some sorts of jobs require that you be in a certain physical and/or mental condition, such as law enforcement jobs, or positions within the military; for these types of jobs, you may have to disclose information about your medical history, and perhaps even undergo a physical or mental examination. Likewise, if your employer is subject to the requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and you request leave pursuant to the FMLA due to a serious medical condition, some states require that you obtain a doctor’s certificate outlining your medical problem and its impact on your ability to work.
Q
Do I have to tell my employer about drugs that my doctor prescribes for me?
AYour employer typically has no right to any of your medical history, including any drugs that your doctor may have prescribed for you. Some state laws do provide that you obtain certification of a serious medical condition from your doctor if you are requesting leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act, but even then, a list of your prescription drugs would not normally be available to your employer. Likewise, the results of any drug testing that you undergo in the workplace, which may reveal the presence of prescription drugs, should be kept confidential, and you should not be disciplined as a result of those findings.
Q
If I Am Injured On The Job Can I Choose The Doctor Who Treats Me?
AInitially, you must see the medical doctor of your companies choosing. You have the right to choose your own doctor, chiropractor or other practitioner of the healing arts 90 days after seeing a company doctor for the first time. You must notify your employer within five days of changing to your own doctor to ensure payment. If your company does not have a group of doctors in place then you may be able to see your own doctor from the start of treatment.
Q
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Am I Entitled To?
AYou are entitled to medical benefits from the first day of injury. Benefits may include: death benefits, specific loss benefits (finger, hand, or certain disfigurements), payment for surgery and other equipment as well as services provided by a doctor or other heath providers.

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