It could happen to anyone. Accidents could happen while you are driving with your family, visiting the doctor’s office, or even shopping at the mall. If you or a loved one is injured by another person’s negligence, you deserve compensation.
While you deserve compensation if another party caused your injury, filing a claim or lawsuit can be very difficult. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Erie at Berger and Green today to learn how to preserve your legal rights and recover compensation. If you are an innocent victim, you should not be left paying for expensive medical procedures on your own.
Give us a call to schedule your free consultation today: 412-661-1400.
Common Causes of Personal Injury Claims
Just about any type of accident can lead to a personal injury claim. The most common types of accidents we see include:
- Car Accidents: These types of accidents can happen between two vehicles or one car and a bicyclist, motorcyclist, or pedestrian.
- Premises Liability Accidents: Property owners have a duty to keep their premises free of dangerous conditions. Store owners, restaurant owners, and even private citizens have a duty to keep their property free of snow and ice accumulation, standing water, slippery waxes, uneven flooring, and debris on walkways.
- Assault: Innocent people are sometimes injured at the direct hands of another person. These types of injuries could result from a fist fight, or a robbery or mugging.
- Defective Products: Sometimes, the things we use can hurt us. This can happen when a tool or machine is improperly designed or poorly maintained. Examples of potentially defective products could include escalators, elevators, car brakes or engine parts, tools, and even medical devices.
- Medical Malpractice: If a doctor inadvertently injuries you while performing a medical procedure, you could have a valid personal injury claim, called a medical malpractice claim, against that doctor.
- Injury at Work: People spend a lot of time at work. Many people, such as construction workers or truck drivers, work risky jobs where injuries are common. If you are injured at work, regardless of your job type, you can get compensation through workers’ compensation or third-party claim.
How does the personal injury claims process work?
The law bases personal injury claims on the idea that the person who caused the accident should pay for the damage done. If someone else caused your injury, it is only fair that he or she should pay you.
Unfortunately, the personal injury claims process is rarely easy. To be successful, you will need to establish the four elements of negligence: duty of care, breach, causation, and damages.
Duty of Care
First, you must prove that the other party owed you a duty of care.
This is simpler than it may sound.
Drivers owe other drivers the duty of care to drive safely. This means following traffic laws.
Doctors have a duty of care to their patients to avoid harming them and follow generally accepted guidelines for how to provide care.
Property owners must keep their property free of unreasonable dangers, such as dangerous animals or broken handrailings on stairs.
Once you establish that the person in question owed a duty to you, you must next prove that he or she failed to abide by that duty. This breach is the most important part in proving negligence.
This breach could be a driver that backs out of his driveway without looking and hits a pedestrian or a store owner who fails to clean his sidewalk of ice after a storm causing a customer to fall.
By acting, or failing to act, in a way to uphold their duty, these people are negligent.
Next, you must prove that the person’s negligence caused your injury. Essentially, you must prove that your injury would not have occurred but for the other party’s negligence.
For example, if you slipped in a puddle in the grocery store, you must be able to prove that you would not have fallen had someone cleaned the spill or warned you beforehand.
In some cases, you can recover compensation even if you were partially at fault.
Let us consider the above example: if you slipped and fell because you were texting and did not see the puddle and the wet floor sign, you will likely be unable to recover compensation because you could have avoided the hazard. However, if you can prove that there was no wet floor sign, you might be able to recover partial compensation.
Our attorneys will investigate your case and build defenses against any liability the insurer might try to pin on you.
Finally, you must prove that you suffered real and measurable injuries. For example, in the cases above, if the pedestrian or customer suffered no noticeable injuries, she does not have a valid claim. However, if she can point to broken bones or a head injury, her claim could be successful.
Do I really need to hire a lawyer?
In many cases, it is possible to reach a settlement with the party at fault without hiring an attorney to represent you. However, this can be problematic, especially when dealing with an insurance company.
Insurance companies are businesses and will, therefore, do what they can to lower your settlement. This can include:
- Tricking you into admitting fault or admitting that your injuries are not serious
- Claiming that your injuries were preexisting
- Offering you much less than you need in hopes that you will accept any offer it gives you
- Bullying you into accepting a low settlement
The personal injury lawyers at Berger and Green can act on your behalf, making sure that you are getting a fair settlement offer for your injuries. If the person at fault or their insurer tries to pay you less than you deserve, we will know.
Our attorneys know how the tricks insurance companies use and how to negotiate to get a fair settlement. And if the party at fault refuses to pay, we can take the fight to court.
When do I have to file my claim?
In Erie County, you have two years after the time of your accident to file a personal injury claim.
If you wait until after this time period has expired, you will be unable to recover compensation from the party at fault.
Do not wait until the last minute to contact an attorney. Remember, it takes time to negotiate and put together a proper personal injury lawsuit.
How much is my case worth?
Each personal injury case is a little different and reflects the damage suffered by the individual; therefore, there is no standard case value calculator. However, if you win your case, you can expect to receive compensation for:
- Your past and current medical bills
- Your anticipated future medical bills
- The cost of medications and physical therapy
- Your lost wages
- Any decreased income earning capacity
- Your pain and suffering
The personal injury lawyers at Berger and Green will fight to ensure that you receive the full and fair value of your damages. Our goal is to “make you whole” again.
We Can Help
The personal injury process is complicated and stressful. Spend this time resting and recuperating with your family while the lawyers at Berger and Green do the hard work for you. Contact us today to see how we can help: 412-661-1400.