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What Does a Scranton Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

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Understanding the Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Scranton

Personal injury lawyers provide legal assistance and representation for the injured. An injury attorney can work with an injured victim to help them navigate the legal system and obtain the compensation owed for any damages suffered.

If you’ve suffered an injury in Scranton, you may wonder if you need an attorney to handle your case. You may be concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney, especially if you’re already dealing with high medical bills or wages lost from your inability to work. However, without an attorney on your side, you may find yourself facing mounting financial consequences long after your injury.

If you are injured, it is imperative to reach out to an injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced Scranton personal injury lawyer at Munley Law can help you pursue your case and obtain the compensation you need to recover.

Scranton personal injury lawyers discussing a case

Protecting Your Rights as an Injured Person

An important job of an injury attorney is to protect the rights of their client. Your lawyer will ask in-depth questions regarding your circumstances, injuries you’ve sustained, your recovery process, your insurance benefits, and more. With this information, they can walk you through the steps needed to negotiate a settlement.

Let’s take a car accident as an example. Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state, requiring all drivers to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. After a car accident, each driver’s own car insurance pays for medical costs incurred from injuries sustained in car accidents, no matter who is at fault. However, when it comes to costs beyond medical bills, determining fault may be essential to pursuing damages. You will need to gather evidence to prove who is at fault, and that’s where a personal injury lawyer can help you with your claim. If you have suffered from a motor vehicle accident, a Scranton car accident lawyer can help determine legal fault so you can know what damages you can pursue.

Providing Peace of Mind

The days and weeks after a catastrophic injury to yourself or a loved one can be one of the most stressful times of your life. At a time when you should be focusing on your recovery, an attorney can help relieve the extra burdens of protecting your rights and pursuing compensation.

When filing for insurance coverage or pursuing a personal injury case, you must meet any filing deadlines. For instance, the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is two years, which can go by much faster than you can imagine. This task can be difficult if you’re already dealing with attending medical appointments or recovering in a hospital. An attorney can work to meet all filing deadlines required for your injury case.

Attorneys can also field questions and other communications for you from involved parties. In any injury case, you may receive communications from investigating police. After sustaining an injury on the job, your company’s HR department and your boss may contact you for your side of the story. If you were injured in a car accident, your insurance will request a statement to determine your eligibility for PIP benefits. A Scranton personal injury lawyer can keep you from feeling hounded while ensuring your story remains consistent and keeps the narrative in your control.

Personal Injury Attorney Melinda Ghiardi working at her desk

What Can a Scranton Personal Injury Lawyer Do For My Case?

A personal injury case often has many complex moving parts. These issues are difficult to handle in the best of times for those with limited legal training. Therefore, it is important to retain an expert in handling legal issues related to your injury.

Negotiation and Representation of Your Injury Claim to Insurance Companies

Involving an attorney early is key to any injury case, as a lawyer can handle communications with insurance companies from the start and ensure a client does not say anything potentially damaging to their claim. A personal injury lawyer will have the skills and experience needed to negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

Since Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state, if you are involved in a car accident in Scranton, your attorney will first review your insurance policy. In PA, your insurance may have either a “limited tort” or “full tort coverage” policy.

  • Limited Tort: You are unable to sue for pain and suffering. It also places an award cap on damages you can pursue through litigation.
  • Full Tort: Allows you to sue the at-fault party for pain and suffering with no award cap.

A full tort coverage policy essentially overrides PA’s no-fault laws, but insurance with these policies is often more expensive. However, even with a limited tort policy, you can still pursue damages for pain and suffering if your injuries are severe enough to have caused a loss of physical ability or if injuries sustained resulted in the death of a loved one. An injury attorney can review your policy to determine your tort exemptions so you know how to move forward.

While you primarily deal with your own insurance in car accident cases, you may be contacted by a workers’ compensation or general liability insurance representative if your case involves a workplace injury or premises liability. These representatives will request recorded statements from you.

In addition to reviewing your insurance policy, your attorney can also discuss your claim with any insurance agency that contacts you. If you are contacted by an insurance representative, your attorney can keep control of the information about your case. They can advise and even supervise your recorded statement. If needed, an injury lawyer can work to encourage the involved insurance company to provide coverage.

Sending Formal Letters of Representation

When pursuing a personal injury case, your attorney will notify involved parties with formal letters of representation. They also prevent these parties from contacting you directly, ensuring any communications come through their law firm first. Your injury attorney can then track critical information related to your case, such as claim statuses, medical records, bills related to your recovery, and more.

An injury lawyer can also send demand letters to insurance companies after completing their investigation of your claim. Demand letters state the facts of your injury and demand payment of a specific damages amount calculated based on these facts.

Attorney Caroline Munley working in her office

Discovery of Evidence and Investigating Claims

The discovery process is vital to establishing your injury claim. An injury lawyer can request and review records related to your case to help establish the context of your claim. Your attorney can also work with medical experts to request independent evaluations, track down and interview witnesses, and obtain records from police or employers.

In injury cases involving premises liability, your Scranton premises liability attorney can document the conditions of the injury site, noting any potential liability issues. The attorney may review photos or videos of the scene if these are available. However, if needed, an attorney can visit the site of the injury or accident directly to document evidence.

If you incurred injuries from a defective product, your injury lawyer can arrange for testing of the product in question with independent experts. They can also research any history of the product to establish a pattern of negligence, including previous lawsuits, consumer complaints, or government warnings.

In addition to obtaining evidence to support your right to pursue compensation, your attorney can also use the information you provide to determine if you are eligible for specific damages. Your attorney can work with you to determine your total loss of income due to your injuries.

For severe injuries, your personal injury attorney can request medical reports determining your eligibility to return to your regular work. If you are found to be permanently disabled or otherwise unable to return to regular work, your injury lawyer can calculate the required compensation for your future lost wages and ongoing medical care.

After obtaining sufficient evidence, your lawyer can perform a compensation analysis, reviewing applicable laws and legal precedents in conjunction with the facts. The more complex or unusual the case, the longer this process can take. It is important to retain an expert for handling these injury legal matters.

Representation in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Nearly all personal injury claims end in settlement. Thus, courts will encourage mediation and other opportunities to settle your claim early, avoiding dragging a case through a lengthy litigation process.

In an alternative dispute resolution or mediation conference, you, your attorney, and interested parties will meet in an informal setting. The goal of this conference is to move toward a settlement. Your attorney can help you protect your rights throughout this procedure, ensuring any settlement offered is sufficient to cover the damages you have suffered.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you cannot come to an agreement in mediation, your attorney may need to file a lawsuit to recover your rightful damage compensation. An injury lawsuit is a very different process from mediation or alternative dispute resolution, involving a judge who maintains some power over all parties involved.

Having an attorney work on your case from the earliest stages means your attorney will be well-prepared should your case go to trial. With the facts gathered during investigation and discovery, your personal injury lawyer can ensure all evidence is ready for admission to court and can send the defendant copies of the evidence to be used at trial.

Most trials can take anywhere from several hours to several days. Litigation incurs legal fees from both sides, incentivizing defendants to settle instead of dragging out the process. Judges, likewise, will encourage settlement to resolve an issue quickly.

If your personal injury case comes to a lawsuit, an attorney can represent you at any required hearings. Throughout the lawsuit, they can fight for your case and draw on their experience to determine when to accept a settlement and when to keep fighting for the compensation you require.

What Types of Cases Do Injury Attorneys Handle?

Several different types of injury cases fall under personal injury law. Some of the most common types of cases personal injury lawyers handle in Scranton include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents – Covers injuries suffered from collisions with cars, trucks, buses, or motorcycles. Specific laws may apply to accident victims who were pedestrians or on bicycles at the time.
  • Premises liability – Covers injuries sustained on another’s property due to poor upkeep, environmental hazards, or negligent security. The most common form of these cases is a slip and fall accident. Includes specific cases like asbestos exposure leading to mesothelioma.
  • Defective product liability – When someone suffers injuries due to a defect in a vehicle, machinery, electronic device, drug, or other consumer product. Can also cover food poisoning.
  • Worker’s compensation – When a worker is injured on the job and is entitled to receive injury compensation from their employer. These accidents also often involve aspects of premises liability cases, such as toxic exposure in the workplace.
  • Medical malpractice – Focuses on injuries suffered due to negligent medical care by healthcare professionals, clinics, or hospitals. Some example cases include birth injuries, nursing home abuse, and hospital infections.
  • Wrongful death – When someone seeks compensation for the loss of their loved one in a fatal accident. Often the result of a catastrophic injury.

When choosing an attorney for your case, it is vital to retain an expert in the specific type of injury you have suffered. Different injury circumstances are handled under different laws and legal precedents. A personal injury lawyer will approach each type of injury case from a specific angle to obtain maximum compensation.

What Damages Can Your Personal Injury Lawyer Help You Pursue?

Obtaining compensation for your damages is the focal point for any personal injury case. In Pennsylvania courts, injury cases typically involve three types of damages: general, special, and punitive.

General damages are non-economic, and awarded on a subjective calculation. These damages are available to injured victims who have suffered catastrophic injuries or long-term disability due to an injury. Loved ones in wrongful death cases can also seek general damages.

Some examples of general damages include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental pain and anguish
  • Disfigurement or impairment
  • Decreased quality of life or independence
  • Loss of companionship or support

In comparison, special damages are economic. These are the most commonly pursued types of damage as they can be calculated on an objective basis.

Some examples of special damages include:

  • General financial losses
  • Current medical expenses and bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost wages from inability to work
  • Future lost wages from long-term disability
  • Compensation for loss of personal property

Punitive damages are awarded in rare and egregious cases. These damages will punish a defendant to deter others from similar actions. Usually, punitive damages come into play with cases of willful harm or gross negligence on the part of the defendant.

Some examples of punitive damages include:

  • The defendant was driving under the influence
  • The defendant committed an intentional tort
  • A company knowingly sold a defective product
  • The defendant otherwise committed willful harm or fraudulent behavior leading to injury

Scranton workers' compensation lawyer

Talk to a Scranton Personal Injury Attorney from Munley Law

If you are suffering the effects of an injury due to another’s negligence, you need an experienced and compassionate injury attorney on your side. Since 1959, our award-winning team has helped accident victims throughout Pennsylvania protect their rights and obtain compensation.

To schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation, call or contact us online. There is no fee until we win your case. We look forward to working with you and providing personalized guidance through these trying times.

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    Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

    227 Penn Ave.
    Scranton, PA 18503
    (570)865-4699

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