If I have a personal injury case, will I need to go to court?

Not all personal injury cases go to trial as they are often settled before they get to court. The most common reason for proceeding to court for personal injury cases is whether the insurance company involved is willing to compromise and make a plaintiff a decent, fair and equitable offer. Personal injury claims depend on the extent of your injuries and damages, where and how the injury occurred, and who caused the injury.

Every state has a statute of limitations that spells out the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit and proceed to court if that is necessary, barring reaching a settlement. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury. Miss this deadline, and the court will refuse to hear your case, and you cannot obtain compensation. There are a few exceptions to this rule.

The rules for personal injury cases are different if you were injured due to the negligence of an agency of government or a government worker. If that is the case, a formal claim must be filed with the agency within a different timeframe than the statute of limitations.

If you are filing a personal injury claim against a business (like a slip and fall) or another person (like a driver in a car crash), you may discover that the person named as a defendant suggests you are partially responsible for the accident in question. This is important as Pennsylvania follows shared fault rules, which may mean you receive a smaller amount of compensation according to your percentage of fault in the accident.

If your case is a shared fault injury, for instance, you ignored a marked wet floor sign and fell at a restaurant, what you receive for those injuries is reduced by the amount of your fault. If you were 20 percent at fault, you may still receive damages. If you were more than 50 percent at fault, you would not collect damages. This is the rule followed should your case make it to trial.

If you were injured in a car accident, things can be a bit different. Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state, meaning after most accidents, the injured individual’s insurance provides coverage for lost income and medical bills, despite who may have caused the collision. However, if your injuries are serious, you can likely file a claim against the at-fault driver by showing how serious the injuries are.

These cases are complex to litigate, involving extensive research, tracking down expert witnesses and multiple court appearances. An experienced personal injury lawyer on your side builds a strong case, improving your chances of a fair and equitable settlement or jury award.

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