In the legal world of the United States, personal injury claims hold a significant position. These claims come about when an individual suffers harm due to the negligence or intentional actions of another party. The goal is straightforward: to secure compensation for the injured party. That compensation covers medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other related damages.
While these claims are prevalent across the country, each state (and even cities within the states) approaches personal injury law differently. Philadelphia is known for its rich history and diverse population. The city is no exception to the rule. As one of the country’s major cities, it presents a distinct landscape in the realm of personal injury claims, influenced by its local laws, court procedures, and the cultural attitude towards litigation. This article delves into the often-asked question: How often do these claims in Philadelphia make their way to the courtroom?
Understanding Personal Injury Claims
At its core, a personal injury claim is a request for compensation (money) because someone got hurt due to another person’s actions or mistakes. Imagine if someone forgot to clean up a spill in a store, and you slipped and fell. That could be a reason to start a personal injury claim.
There are several types of these claims, including the slip and fall example. Other types of personal injury claims include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability
- Wrongful death
Well, when you get hurt, it’s not just about the pain. There can be medical bills to pay, lost money if you can’t work, and other costs. So, in many situations, people file personal injury claims to get help with these expenses. It’s a way to make sure that if someone else’s mistake causes harm, they or their insurance company will help set things right by covering some or all of the costs.
Personal injury lawyers
An aspect to personal injury law is the personal injury lawyer you choose to advocate for your case. While there is no law stating you need a personal injury lawyer in order to pursue a claim, your chances of recovering maximum compensation for your injuries greatly increase when you have an experienced lawyer by your side.
The personal injury lawyers at Munley Law are experts in their field. Our attorneys have won millions for our clients in the six decades of practicing throughout the state of Pennsylvania. We offer a free consultation to new clients where you will speak with a compassionate personal injury attorney who will listen to your entire story and then offer a reasonable assessment of your case.
The Process of Personal Injury Claims
One of the most important things for an injury victim to know is the process of your claim. At Munley Law, we believe knowledge is power. We make sure our clients are well-informed every step of the process.
For the purposes of this informational article, let’s take a slip and fall example to explain the personal injury claim process. Imagine you’ve been in a slip and fall accident at a local store. What do you do next? The process of a personal injury claim kicks off right from that moment:
- It’s crucial to ensure everyone’s safety and get any necessary medical attention. If necessary, call 911. The responding officer will be able to get the necessary medical personnel on scene and will start taking notes about the accident.
- Once immediate needs are addressed, documenting everything becomes essential. This means taking pictures, jotting down notes about what happened, and collecting names and contact information of any witnesses.
- As soon as you’re able, reach out to a Munley personal injury lawyer. We will guide you on the next steps, ensuring you don’t miss any critical details.
- Once you’ve partnered with your lawyer, the formal process begins. Your lawyer will help you file the claim. This is basically telling the person (or company) you believe is at fault, “Hey, I got hurt because of something you did or didn’t do, and I believe you owe me compensation.”
- Next, the negotiations with the insurance companies begin. This is where your personal injury attorney and the lawyer for the other side will try to reach an agreement about how much money you should receive. Sometimes it’s straightforward, but other times there might be back-and-forth discussions before arriving at a settlement amount. If there’s no agreement, the case might move forward in the Pennsylvania court system, which means your case may go to trial.
Most Personal Injury Claims Do Not Go to Court
It’s a common misconception that personal injury claims often result in dramatic courtroom showdowns. In reality, a vast majority of these claims are settled outside of court, long before a jury ever hears them. Why is this the case? The reasons boil down to benefits that both the injured person and the accused party derive from settlements.
Settlements = quicker resolution
Going to court can be a lengthy process. Cases can drag on for months, even years, due to the packed nature of court dockets and the many procedural steps involved in a trial. When both sides agree to a settlement, they can often resolve the issue in a fraction of that time, allowing the injured party to get on with their recovery and life.
Settling outside of court often results in reduced costs. Trials are expensive. There are court fees, attorney fees, costs of gathering evidence, and often other miscellaneous costs. By settling, both sides can save significant sums of money.
Privacy is another compelling reason for settlements. Court proceedings are public, meaning that anyone can access details of the case. For individuals and companies keen on keeping matters private, especially sensitive or potentially embarrassing details, settling out of court ensures that those details never see the light of day.
Settling out of court is simply less stressful for most people. The prospect of testifying, facing cross-examinations, and the uncertainty of a jury’s decision can be nerve-wracking. Settlements bypass all of these pressures, providing a more predictable and controlled outcome.
Personal Injury Settlement Statistics
But what do the numbers say? According to the U.S. Department of Justice, over 90% of personal injury cases are settled before they ever reach trial. This high percentage underscores the preference for avoiding court when possible.
Insurance companies also play a pivotal role in this landscape. These companies, which often cover the costs of settlements or judgments, want to minimize their financial costs. They have extensive experience in assessing the risks and potential costs of going to trial versus settling. As a result, they often push for settlements that align with their internal assessments, further steering cases away from the courtroom.
Scenarios Where Personal Injury Cases Go to Court
While a large majority of personal injury claims are settled outside of court, there are scenarios where the gavel’s echo and a judge’s oversight become inevitable. So, what specific situations push a claim into the courtroom?
Fault or Liability
One of the main reasons a personal injury claim will go to court is if there is a dispute over fault or liability for the accident. Let’s consider a car accident:
Driver A believes Driver B ran a red light and caused a crash. However, Driver B says they had the green. With this “he said, she said” scenario, we have a fundamental disagreement over who was at fault for the car accident. In such cases, the court becomes the arena where evidence is presented, witnesses are questioned, and a decision on liability is rendered. Without an agreement on who was in the wrong, it’s tough to progress to discussing compensation.
Another reason a case may go to court is a dispute over the damages the victim should receive. For instance, if an individual believes they should receive $100,000 for their injuries, due to necessary medical treatment and lost wages, but the opposing party or their insurance company is only willing to offer $20,000, then a settlement will not likely be reached out of court. Sometimes, the only way to bridge that gap is by seeking a legal judgment on the appropriate compensation.
Insurance company interference
The role of insurance companies cannot be understated. While they often favor settlements to avoid drawn out legal battles, there are times when they’re unwilling to pay out claims. This refusal can arise from a belief that their policyholder wasn’t at fault, the claim is fraudulent, or the incident isn’t covered under the policy terms. When an injured party faces an insurance company’s stone wall, heading to court might be their only recourse to seek justice.
Complex personal injury cases
Lastly, the complexity of the case can necessitate a trial. Personal injury claims aren’t always clear-cut scenarios of one party injuring another. Consider a case where a faulty prod
uct injures an individual, but the fault lies in a web of manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers. Or imagine a medical malpractice suit where the medical procedures, risks, and outcomes are so intricate that they require expert testimonies and thorough examinations. In
these instances, the depth of legal and factual complications demands a thorough judicial review.
At Munley Law, our accident lawyers strive to secure your compensation efficiently. However, some cases are more complicated than others and take time to resolve. Our personal injury attorneys are available to our clients constantly. We have the financial resources to see your case until the very end. If your claim goes to trial, you can rest assured, your Munley personal injury lawyer is going with you.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer
When a devastating injury happens and you’re facing the maze of legal complexities, a personal injury lawyer emerges as a light of guidance and expertise. In the tumultuous aftermath of accidents or negligence, the role of a personal injury attorney is pivotal in ensuring that justice is sought and attained.
Making the choice to pursue a claim
Personal injury lawyers assist clients through the daunting decision-making process. For someone unfamiliar with legal strategies, making choices about pursuing claims or accepting settlements can be overwhelming. A personal injury lawyer helps break down the choices, offering clarity and direction. Your personal injury attorney will present options, explain potential outcomes, and ensure that you are informed, allowing you to make decisions with confidence.
Assessing the strength of your case
These lawyers are adept at assessing the strength of a case. They can sift through the facts, gauge the evidence, and provide insights on the likelihood of success in court versus the benefits of a settlement. This evaluation is invaluable; it shields you from pursuing unwarranted legal battles and informs when standing ground is merited.
Negotiating your case
When it comes to negotiations, a seasoned personal injury lawyer is unmatched. They engage with the opposing party, which are often insurance companies or defense attorneys, striving to secure the best possible outcome. Their negotiation skills can mean the difference between minimal compensation and a sum that truly reflects the pain and losses suffered.
Navigating local court systems
Lastly, a lawyer’s expertise in navigating the local system is essential. With unique court practices, a dense network of attorneys, and specific regulations, a skilled personal injury lawyer, familiar with the city’s legal pulse, can adroitly steer cases, maximizing the chances of favorable outcomes.
Call a Munley Law Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Whether or not your personal injury case goes to court, you should retain the counsel of a leading personal injury lawyer to have a legal advocate on your side. Trying to navigate the claims process while dealing with the physical and emotional trauma of your accident is too much for one person to handle. The good news is, you don’t have to walk this journey by yourself.
Call the Munley Law personal injury lawyers today for your no-obligation consultation. Together, we will come up with a winning legal strategy to recover the compensation you and your family deserve.