Equal Access to Justice in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania legal system provides remedies for those injured or killed through no fault of their own. Legal redress for personal injury usually includes money from the responsible party or its insurer to cover expenses like medical treatment and rehabilitation, as well as compensation for resulting pain and emotional suffering.

For a wrongful death, Pennsylvania law may provide legal remedies for surviving loved ones such as:

  • Outstanding medical costs, funeral and administrative expense recovery for surviving parents, spouses and children
  • Lost financial support for surviving parents, spouses and children
  • Lost guidance and protection for surviving children
  • Lost affection and companionship for surviving spouses
  • Personal losses of decedents as parts of their estates

However, Pennsylvania law surrounding wrongful injury and death can be complicated and variable depending on the details of each situation, and the services of an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorney may be critical to recovery. A skilled lawyer knows how to negotiate with a powerful insurance company; how to gather and present important evidence of difficult-to-quantify loss like the value of a marital relationship; how to meet important deadlines and notice requirements; how to investigate an accident or medical mishap; how to use a medical or scientific expert to a client’s advantage, and so on.

We All Hurt the Same

It is no secret that victims hurt equally no matter their station in life. Ordinary people who are not wealthy often fear that they will not be able to afford the legal counsel they will need to recover for their own injuries, or for the loss or injuries of loved ones.

Contingency Fees

Berger and Green will represent people in personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means that the attorney or law firm agrees to take the case and represent the plaintiff vigorously in exchange for a percentage of the plaintiff’s favorable recovery in the case, if there is one, whether through settlement or trial.

This means that if no money damages for the injury or wrongful death are ever recovered in the lawsuit, the attorney will not charge a fee for his or her time and professional effort. Of course, Berger and Green is careful to take only cases with reasonable likelihoods of success, since attorneys often put in significant investments of time and resources for which they hope to be compensated.

Enter Fee Agreements Carefully

If you are considering whether to enter such a fee arrangement with another firm, you should be careful to understand whether and when you might be liable for costs and expenses – potentially significant – associated with the case outside of legal fees. For example, the fee agreement may require that the plaintiff pay court-filing fees whether or not the suit is eventually fruitful. Pennsylvania lawyers must be careful to make it clear in their advertisements whether clients are responsible for costs and expenses of litigation in contingency arrangements. With Berger and Green such costs, like our fee, is contingent.

Before agreeing to the contingency arrangement, you should also understand the likely timeline of the case, the nature and amount of expected legal work, the chance of recovery and other available fee models.

Pennsylvania ethics rules for licensed attorneys affect contingency fees. A contingent-fee agreement must be in writing and the calculation method must be clear. The attorney must provide to the client an understandable fee statement at the conclusion of the matter.

An Avenue for Recovery

The concept of the contingent-fee arrangement is clearly a win-win. Without the possibility of contingency fees, average folks would rarely be able to afford to hire the legal counsel needed to recover for wrongful injury and death. In Pennsylvania, contingent fees allow the law to deliver the relief that was meant for individuals suffering because of the negligence or malice of others.