Did you know that Philadelphia was the first city in the U.S. to open a courthouse for complex mass tort claims? If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by another party and that person or group is being particularly difficult, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Pennsylvania has a unique set of laws that only an experienced and local attorney can handle, like a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer. Filing a personal injury claim should be easy if you know the facts and have the right representation. Doing a little research before finding an attorney can be beneficial and can help you get a better understanding of what it means to file a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations
In Pennsylvania, a personal injury action must be filed within two years of the date that the injury occurred. Pennsylvania does have a “discovery rule” that in certain circumstances allows an extension for the time of filing a personal injury case. Under the discover rule, the statute of limitations begins to run at the time the plaintiff knows – or should have known- that he or she was injured and it was a result of another’s negligence.
Comparative Negligence in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has a comparative negligence law that can be found in the general assembly statute §7102. This law states that each party in a negligence claim is assigned to a percentage of fault. Pennsylvania follows a 51 percent comparative negligence rule. As a result, if you are found over 50 percent at fault for an accident, you are automatically unable to seek compensation for any damages.
Keeping these percentages in mind can be an important part of your personal injury case. The degree of fault directly correlates with how much compensation you are due. For example, if you are deemed to hold 30 percent of the fault, you will be entitled to only 70 percent of the award settlement.
Recoverable Damages in Pennsylvania
Damages in personal injury cases are intended to help bring the victim back to his or her original state prior to the incident or accident. Sadly, some victims may never be able to recover all the losses but having an idea of what can be recoverable is helpful when filing your personal injury claim. Damages are divided into several different categories, which can overlap. Below are the different types of compensation in a personal injury case:
This is often referred to as “actual damages” this can encompass any monetary losses such as:
- Medical expenses
- Repairing personal property
- Funeral costs
- Loss of earnings
- This category refers to losses that can’t be readily assigned a dollar value but are still a crucial part of recoverable damages in any personal injury case:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of a marital relationship or companionship
Compensatory damages reimburse the plaintiff for harms caused by the defendant. This category takes its name from the fact that they are awarded solely for the purpose of compensating the plaintiff. For a better idea of what this means, see the list below:
- Loss of marital relationship
- Loss of earnings
- Medical bills
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant and used to deter others from engaging in similar conduct. These types of damages are only awarded in certain circumstances in which the defendant’s conduct is exceptionally malicious.
How Much Will a Personal Injury Attorney in Pennsylvania Cost?
Most attorneys who believe a case has merit will take your case without payment up front and take it on a contingency basis. Contingency fees on average are between 25 and 40 percent. Additionally, if your case is settled before the case goes to trial, you will be charged a percentage as well. Some attorneys may also charge an hourly or flat fee for services. Pennsylvania does not impose caps on compensatory damages for injury or wrongful death cases and the only exception to this is against commonwealth parties or local agencies such as a school district.
If you have any additional questions regarding the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit in the state Pennsylvania or need assistance finding the right lawyer to represent you, contact us at i-lawsuit.com today.