Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyers
If you have been seriously injured in an accident to no fault of your own, you may be feeling frustrated and scared. These accidents can result in medical bills that you might not be able to pay if you are missing work and losing out of wages that you would’ve been getting otherwise. These are really frightening issues that can cause you so much stress that may lead to you have to deal with a slower healing process. Our Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers handle a wide range of these cases, and have deep experience that would make us the ideal firm to hire when you need someone to dedicate themselves to your case.
We handle personal injury cases including:
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Birth Injuries
- Child Sex Abuse
If you need help dealing with your personal injury case and getting the compensation you are entitled to, please call our Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation. We will be there to guide you through the process and protect your legal rights to full and fair compensation.
Pennsylvania Rules and Statutes
In Pennsylvania, you must observe the rules and statutes for personal injury if you want to have a successful claim. Otherwise, you may be barred from receiving compensation. One highly significant statute to abide by is the statute of limitations. You will have exactly two years from the date of the injury to bring your claim or file your lawsuit. If you come to the lawyer a week before this statute runs out, they may not be able to help you. There are steps that need to be taken prior to this deadline that need some time. There is the discovery phase that is required and you want to collect evidence right away so that witnesses do not forget vital information about the injury. If you are filing against a municipality, then you have to give them a notice that you are bringing a claim against them. If you do not put them on notice by 6 months from the injury, your claim will be denied by the insurance company. If you bring your claim after two years, you will be denied compensation and your case will be thrown out. That is probably the worst mistake you can make. Don’t wait. Act as fast as possible after your accident so that you are not left in the lurch.
Another rule that you should be aware of has to do with the modified comparative negligence rule that Pennsylvania follows. This rules essentially means that you can still get compensation if you are at fault for the accident that caused your injury. For example, you were going a little too fast on the highway when you got hit, you were on your phone when you slipped at the grocery store, or you did not check clearly enough before crossing the street. While you are still permitted to collect compensation, it will be reduced by the percent of fault you are found to be at. If you are for instance found to be at fault for 20% of your accident, and you are awarded $10,000, you will be barred from receiving 20% of that. You would only get $8,000. If you are found to be at fault for 50% or higher, you will be barred from receiving any compensation at all.
Obstacles Presented by Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are in the business of making the most money possible. They’re not interested in making you whole again after the accident. If they have the opportunity to pay you less than you deserve, they’re going to take it. They have ways to make this possible for them. Often times, and this is almost guaranteed, the insurance adjuster will call you right after your accident, possibly while you’re still recovering in the hospital and try to get a statement from you. That is something you need to be most cautious about. If they try to get a statement from you, they’re going to ask loaded questions and spin the conversation to make it seem like you had some fault in the accident even if you know for certain that you did not. It is imperative that you tell them you are seeking legal representation and will not be making a statement without your attorney present. We will protect you from their tactics and make sure you get the highest amount of compensation possible from them.
As stated, they will be looking for any reason to bar you from compensation or keep to the lowest dollar amount possible. If you make any mistakes, they’re going to know it and use it against you. A mistake that is important to avoid making is not seeking medical attention or not going to follow up appointments. They will say that you couldn’t possibly by that injured if you waited for treatment or you must not have been in serious pain if you weren’t following your doctor’s orders. All of this matters greatly both to your case but more importantly to your health. Don’t try to be a hero. Get to a doctor and listen to their advice.
Frequently Asked Personal Injury Questions
How Do I Get a Personal Injury Case Started?
If you’ve been involved in an accident and you are making a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania, there are certain steps that need to be followed before the claim can come to its conclusion. First thing is to see a doctor. Second thing is to consult with a personal injury lawyer. When I say personal injury lawyer, I don’t mean just any lawyer. Make sure that the lawyer you hire is experienced in personal injury matters and making claims to insurance companies.
That lawyer will advise you to make sure you follow your doctor’s protocols and treatment plan, and they will basically monitor the case until you’re done treating with your medical providers. At that point, your medical records will be ordered and your medical bills will be calculated along with your out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages. That all goes into a demand letter, which is sent to the insurance company with the medical records, and everything that documents your out-of-pocket expenses.
Within 30 days, the insurance company will respond, and then they will make an offer. The first offer is always a low-ball, and some people are insulted by the first offer, but that’s just a negotiation process. We start high, they start low, and we try to bridge that gap in about a two to four week period. Within four weeks of getting the initial offer from the insurance company, you will then probably have their highest offer. At that point, you will decide whether to accept it or reject it. Your attorney will advise you the pros and cons of rejecting or accepting it. If it is rejected, then you will have to file a lawsuit and it will be resolved in about a year or two after the lawsuit was filed, either by settlement or by a jury decision.
How Do I Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer?
When selecting a personal injury attorney for your personal injury matter, make sure that the person that you’re going to hire is a seasoned trial attorney, that they will prepare your case for trial from the outset, are not afraid to try that case, and that they have experience in presenting claims to an insurance company. Those are probably the most important qualities to look for. If you come to the Accident & Injury Law Group, you can be rest assured that both Paul Giuffre and I are very experienced trial attorneys. We’ve handled many personal injury matters and we know how to prepare a claim to present to an insurance company.
Also, if you come to the Accident & Injury Law Group, you’ll have an attorney who’s also worked for the insurance company in the past and is very familiar with how the insurance company is going to go about defending your claim. By having that inside information, your case will be better prepared for trial and resolution.
Is There a Minimum Amount of Medical Bills to Make a Claim?
When people come to my office after they’ve been involved in an accident, they ask what amount of medical bills is necessary for them to make a claim. In Pennsylvania, there is no minimum amount of medical bills you need to pursue a claim, but there is a direct correlation between the amount of medical bills and whether it’s worth hiring a lawyer for what the recovery will be. For instance, if you were involved in an accident and you’ve incurred $50,000 in medical bills, and you’ve been treated by a doctor for more than a year, obviously your case is going to be worth more than someone who went to the emergency room on one occasion and has $2,000 of medical bills. With the former example, it definitely is worth hiring a lawyer, but with the latter example, it’s probably not worth hiring a lawyer and you’re going to have a difficult time to find a lawyer to pursue that case.
Should I Take a Settlement Offer?
When people retain me for their personal injury matters, and I present the offer to them from the insurance company, some individuals are eager to accept it, and I always recommend not to and I actually have never had somebody accept a first offer based on our recommendation. The first offer from the insurance company is always their low-ball offer. Before you get to that top number, you’ll go through several rounds of negotiations, and it will take a couple of weeks, but the first offer is always way too low.
What If I Have Preexisting Conditions?
Some people that come to our office are concerned that they had preexisting conditions before the accident, and they’re concerned that they may not be entitled to recover. Although preexisting conditions may cause a hurdle, they will not prevent you from getting a full recovery. Your preexisting condition may be aggravated or exacerbated by the accident and you are entitled to recover for that. Also, if you’ve had a preexisting condition that’s been dormant for several years, the insurance company may not even be able to argue that and may not be able to get it into evidence. The short answer is that, if you have a preexisting condition, it will not be a bar to recovery.
Can I Switch Personal Injury Lawyers?
Sometimes people come to my office after they’ve hired another attorney and ask if it’s possible to switch attorneys at this point? Typically, the reason that people come to my office and ask that question is because of the mistake they make in hiring the attorney initially. Nine times out of ten, they’ve hired an attorney who’s not specialized in personal injury, and the case lags, and results aren’t being obtained. The answer to that question is that you can switch attorneys halfway through or at any time. The only caveat is that the attorney that you hired may put a lien on a case and they may seek compensation for the work that they’ve done. It always kind of muddies the waters, so it’s best to make sure from the get-go you hire somebody who’s experienced in making claims to insurance companies.
Will My Injury Case Go to Trial?
Sometimes when people come to my office, they ask whether their personal injury matter will go to trial or not. It’s impossible to answer that question because too many factors are involved. One of the biggest factors, is if the insurance company is being reasonable, and if they are offering you fair compensation for your injuries. Most cases do settle, but on the rare occasion you have the case that does not settle, you will have to go to trial to seek fair compensation.
How Long Will This Case Take?
One of the questions people ask me when they come to my office after they’ve been involved in an accident in Pennsylvania is about how long it will take for a personal injury matter to be resolved. Unfortunately, no one can answer that question right away because of the many factors that go into the answer of that question. How long will you treat for? How long will you be out of work for? If you’re going to be treating for more than two years, a loss suit needs to be filed to protect the statute of limitations.
In most cases, a person is done treating within their first year or two, and at that point, you can make a claim to the insurance company. The insurance company typically responds within 30 days, and then you enter into a negotiation phase. If you’re able to resolve the claim in the negotiation phase, which takes about two to four weeks, that’s it, the claim is resolved. If not, you need to file a lawsuit and from the filing of the lawsuit, it typically takes one to two years from that point.
Call Our Pittsburgh Office Today
If you have any questions about your personal injury case, please call our office today to schedule a free consultation. You are not alone in this fight. We will do whatever it takes to protect your rights and get you the compensation that you are entitled to. Don’t let the insurance company hassle you out of this justice, call our highly experienced Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers today.