How are Personal Injury Damages Calculated in Philadelphia?

How are Personal Injury Damages Calculated in Philadelphia?

If someone we negligent in an accident and you ended up getting hut, you deserve to be rewarded. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you get a lawsuit file so you can get the compensation you deserve.

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Factors Affecting Settlement in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

What factors affect injury settlements? A former University of Pennsylvania student who was paralyzed from an accident at an off-campus residence has reached an $11.6 million settlement for her injury claims, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Lorna Bernhoft’s injury occurred while she was at a student gathering at the residence. She fell through a raised skylight from the fourth floor, which happened to only be covered by flex board and carpet.

For Bernhoft’s case and others, what are some factors that affect an injury settlement?

 

  • The extent of the injuries.If the injuries in the case are not that severe, the parties may consider settlement as opposed to taking an injury claim to trial. For example, if the medical bills and compensation a plaintiff is seeking for his or her injuries add up to an amount that is far less than the cost of trial preparation, then settling may be a more practical choice.

  • Potential damages if the case went to trial.There are many factors to consider with regard to your potential damages if your case actually goes to trial. Depending on the evidence and strength of your case, you will have to consider what your actual net recovery will be after you pay your attorney fees. In addition, settlement may be more attractive than court-awarded damages, as the latter may be tied up in appeal. This is especially important for victims who need money soon.

  • Publicity concerns.Unfavorable publicity is something that both sides of a lawsuit often consider. Civil court trials are open to the public, and this includes the media. If the parties would much rather have the matter be resolved privately, then settlement becomes a much more ideal option.

  • ADR recommendations.Many injury settlements arise from Alternative Dispute Desolution (ADR) processes such as arbitration and mediation. A mediator or arbitrator may help all parties reach a negotiated settlement in a manner much quicker and more cheaply than pursuing litigation would.

Most personal injury lawsuits do not see the inside of a courtroom because of the time and money associated with litigation. However, there are still many factors one should keep in mind when negotiating a settlement for their lawsuit. Make sure that you consider all your options by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney at Edelstein Law, LLP. (215) 893-9311.

Bike Accident Due to Road Conditions

Who is responsible for your injuries while riding a bike on the Philadelphia Streets when the road condition itself causes your injury?

Usually the City of Philadelphia is not responsible for your injury and even if they are, you must prove a permanent injury as a result of the defect to recover against the city.  There are instances when other companies caused the defect and can be held responsible.

The streets of Philadelphia are maintained and governed by the Philadelphia Street Department.  It is important for all defects to be reported to the Philadelphia Street Department.  The Street Department itself separates the kind of road defects into three categories: potholes, cave-ins and ditches.

A pothole is a hole in the asphalt of the road.  They are usually caused when water trapped under the roads surface freezes and then thaws, causing the asphalt to weaken.  They can also occur when temporary road fixes shift or crack.  Cave-ins and sinkholes are actual cavities in that penetrate through both the asphalt and concrete base of the road.  A ditch, usually rectangular in nature, is an excavation in the roadway.  These are usually created by plumbing or utility companies who work on underground lines. 

Take caution while riding.  Report all defects to the Streets Department.  If you are injured, be sure to take photographs of the area, the actual defect and any utility companies working in the area.  If you were injured while riding your bike, it is best to consult a lawyer to determine if you have a case.  Schedule your free consultation with the attorneys at Edelstein Law today!

No Fault System in PA

THE NO FAULT SYSTEM IN PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania is one of a dozen states (plus the District of Columbia) that uses a “no-fault” system when it comes to financial responsibility for injuries one sustains in a car accident. In a no-fault state, a driver usually turns to his or her own insurance policy to get compensation for injuries up to the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. 

Another wrinkle in Pennsylvania is that drivers have the option of choosing between no-fault insurance and traditional insurance coverage. Going the traditional coverage route means that all options are on the table after a car accident. You can sue the at-fault driver, but by doing so you are opening yourself up to a lawsuit if you are to blame for the accident.

If a driver chooses no-fault, a liability claim or lawsuit against the other driver can still proceed, but only if the accident involved a “serious injury” under Pennsylvania state law, which usually means something more than soft tissue injury. A “serious injury” in Pennsylvania typically requires serious impairment of a body function or permanent and serious disfigurement,

Keep in mind that the no-fault rules only apply to personal injury. If you have suffered property damage as a result of the accident, the at-fault driver can still be on the financial hook for those losses.

For more information on how Pennsylvania No-Fault law operates, call the experienced attorneys at Edelstein Law: (215) 893-9311.

Slip and Fall in PA

What Do I Need to Prove to Recover Money for a Slip and Fall Case in Pennsylvania?

Slip and fall cases generally rely on the theory that the owner of the property was negligent and because of the owner’s negligence you were injured. To prevail in a negligence action, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant “owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, that duty was breached, the breach resulted in the plaintiff’s injury, and the plaintiff suffered an actual loss or damages.” The owner of a piece of property, such as a shopping center or an apartment complex, may be held liable for physical harm to someone who comes on to their property. However, the law has created different classifications of people and how one is identified when you are on someone’s property, to determine if they will be able to recover damages.  The law may consider you a trespasser, licensee, or an invitee, and this may be the determinative factor regarding whether you can bring a claim against a property owner.

What are Trespassers, Licensees, and Invitees?

You might think that when you are one someone else’s property you are just on their property and are considered the same as a person in a store or in an apartment. However, you might be considered a trespasser or you might be considered a licensee, or perhaps even an invitee. What you are doing on the property generally determines what status you are given. The law provides different levels of protections for each of the different classifications. These range from almost no protections to a high level of protection.

A trespasser is a person who is on another person’s property without their permission.  However, unless you exceed the scope of your invitation or engage in illegal activity, you will not be considered a trespasser at a store or shopping center.  The property owner only owes a trespasser a duty to refrain from wanton or willful conduct, and from maintaining a “hidden engine of destruction.”

A licensee, on the other hand, is a person who is privileged to enter or remain on another person’s land because they received permission from that person.  Generally, a property owner is only liable for someone’s slip and fall injury under the following conditions:

  1. The possessor knows or has reason to know of the condition and should realize that it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to such licensees, and should expect that they will not discover or realize the danger;

  2. He fails to exercise reasonable care to make the condition safe, or to warn the licensees of the condition and the risk involved, and

  3. The licensees do not know or have reason to know of the condition and the risk involved.

A public invitee is a person who is invited to enter or remain on the land as a member of the public, for a purpose for which the land is held open to the public. A business visitor is a person who is invited to enter or remain on land for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with business dealings with the possessor of land. Generally, an invitee is owed the most protection. For a property owner to be held liable for an invitee’s slip and fall injuries, the condition that caused them to slip and fall must either be known or discoverable by the property owner.  A property owner must exercise reasonable care to discover conditions which involve an unreasonable risk of harm to invitees. This includes a duty to inspect the property and make it reasonably safe for invitees.

As you can see, how the law decides to classify you may be the deciding factor for whether you will be able to recover damages in a slip and fall accident. It is very important that you have an experienced personal injury attorney, such as the seasoned attorneys from Edelstein Law, LLP, who are familiar with the various classifications and who can advocate for you to receive the protections you are entitled to. Call Edelstein Law at (215) 893-9311, for a free consultation!

Automobile Liability

What happens when you let a friend drive your vehicle and they get in a car crash?

We all have let someone else drive our car at one time or the other. You may lend your car to a family member who is visiting you from another city or to a friend who wants to go pick up some wine before the party starts. However, we never think about what would happen if the person who is using your vehicle gets into an accident.What happens when you let someone else drive your vehicle and you receive a phone call from them saying that they have been in a crash?

Insurance Coverage

Insurance policies vary, but as a general rule, anyone living in your house is normally covered when driving your vehicle unless expressly excluded on the policy. Usually, everyone in a household is required to be included on a car’s insurance policy. For family members and friends who do not live with you but use your car occasionally, they may be covered too.

Car Insurance Follows the Vehicle

If you lend your car to a driver who is not expressly excluded on your policy, your insurance will be the primary coverage that will apply if a crash occurs. The other driver’s insurance acts as secondary insurance. If you lend your car to your friend for a day and he or she hits another car in a parking lot, the coverage that pays compensation to the other driver is liability coverage. You will have to file the claim with your insurance company, pay the deductible, and accept any resulting premium increases. If the damages exceed the limits, your friend’s coverage will be used as secondary coverage. If the accident was the other driver’s fault, the damages would be paid by the other driver’s insurance.

Exceptions to the Rule

Excluded drivers – If you have excluded any driver from your insurance policy for any reason, such as a poor driving record, it could reduce your insurance premium. In the event of an accident, your coverage will not pay for damages.

Non-permissive use – Your coverage will not apply if your car was taken without your permission. However, it is often difficult to prove that you had not given permission. If your vehicle was stolen, you will not be liable for injuries or damages to the other driver. If a friend or relative takes your car without permission and is uninsured, your insurance coverage will have to pay for damages.

When Will the Owner Be Held Liable?

You can be sued for damages if you allow an impaired, intoxicated, or unlicensed driver operate your vehicle.

If your car has been involved in a crash after you lent it to a friend, you may want to consider seeking legal advice from an auto injury lawyer. Call Edelstein Law Offices at (215) 893-9311 for a free consultation.