Overview of Injury Law and the Attorney’s Role in Philadelphia
The goal of a personal injury action (filing a claim, or lawsuit for example), and the reason you hire Philadelphia injury attorney Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, is to determine who was responsible and to compel fair compensation to the victim from the responsible party to compensate you for your losses, whether they are financial, physical or emotional. If you, or someone you know, has been injured by the careless actions of another, contact Jeffrey Harlan Penneys at once to preserve your rights, no matter where the accident occurred in Pennsylvania.
Personal Injury Damages
The best injury attorneys help ensure that their clients receive all the compensation (called damages) to which they are entitled by law. Things for which injured parties are legally entitled to compensation for include:
- lost wages
- past and future medical expenses
- damages for both physical and emotional pain and suffering, and
- damages for disfigurement
Under some circumstances, a close family member of the injured person, such as the spouse, may also be entitled to be awarded damages. This award is referred to as “loss of consortium damages”, which is intended to compensate the loved one as much as possible for the loss of the injured or deceased’s services and companionship.
Other kinds of damages that injury attorneys may get for you, depending on the facts of the particular case, include hedonic damages, which are awarded as compensation for loss of enjoyment of activities once valued that the person can no longer participate in as a result of the injuries suffered.
Punitive damages may be awarded to the victim, in addition to other compensation, when conduct was particularly egregious and the court (or jury) determines the defendant should be punished for their actions. Compelling a payment of an amount above and beyond the plaintiff’s actual damages requires an experienced injury attorney. A side effect of punitive damage awards is that they may serve to deter others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.
Claims, Settlements and Lawsuits
“Legal Causation” of Personal Injuries
Not every injured person is entitled to recover damages for the injuries sustained. Besides proving the injury, attorneys must also establish, through credible and relevant evidence, that the defendant is legally responsible for the injuries.
Injury attorneys must present proof of causation – both “actual causation” and “proximate (aka legal) causation”.
- Actual causation is determined by literal cause and effect. The action the defendant took or neglected to take is the “cause” and the injury is the “effect”. Whether a lawyer can establish legal causation depends on the facts and circumstances of the particular case in question.
- Legal causation may be established if the attorney can show that the defendant engaged in intentional conduct. This means that the wrongdoer purposefully harmed the plaintiff or knew that the conduct in which they were engaged had a substantial likelihood that harm would result.
Negligence and Strict Liability
Other injury claims or lawsuits are based on the concept of fault called “negligence”. Under the negligence theory, defendants in personal injury cases can be held liable for the results of either action, or inaction. We all know about actions causing injury, but what about inaction? This is when an “ordinary person in the same position should have foreseen that the conduct would create an unreasonable risk of harm to others”.
Sometimes, personal injury claims are based on “strict liability”, which is a no-fault system under which liability may be established regardless of the fault of the various parties in the incident. Strict liability may be applied in product liability cases; for example, when a manufacturer or seller of allows a defective product into the hands of a consumer and the product injures them.
The defendant in an injury accident can be held liable for actions taken or for actions not taken. An example of this is driver of a car who fails to stop at a red light and ends up causing a car accident in which the other driver or passengers are injured is liable based on her negligent act of running the red light. As a Philadelphia car injury lawyer, I know how common this can be.
Another example: a property owner who fails to cause the removal of ice and snow from the front steps of a business that is open to the public may be liable for his inaction if a patron falls and breaks his arm when entering the premises.
Confused? Contact Jeffrey H. Penneys in Philadelphia for a free consultation!
Injury laws can be confusing. Don’t worry, personal injury claims require even experienced injury lawyers to carefully examine facts and circumstances surrounding Philadelphia injury claims with each different case to determine whether the defendant is legally responsible for your injuries.
Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. will look at the facts of your case and determine whether you have a legally valid claim, how soon you must act to preserve your rights, the damages to which you may be entitled, and whether you may be entitled to some type of financial benefits before your lawsuit is even resolved.
Additionally, in all personal injury cases, you owe no legal fees unless and until the defendant pays.
If you are injured in an accident of any kind, please contact Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. at 1-215-771-0430 (Cell) or 1-800-InjuryLaw.