Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit—Actual Losses

Personal InjuryYou’ve been hurt in an accident and you’ve filed a lawsuit. You’ve succeeded in showing that the defendant’s conduct fell below the expected standard of care, and you’ve also met the dual requirements of actual cause and proximate cause. But you’re still not home. To recover monetary compensation, you still need to show that you sustained actual losses because of the wrongful acts of the defendant.

What is Actual Injury?

You may be saying, “hey, wait a minute, I showed that the defendant engaged in wrongful conduct and I showed that it caused damage to something I own or caused me injury. What more do I need to show?” In determining whether you have a right to damages, the court will want to ask a few questions:

  • Did you actually incur any out-of-pocket expenses, or was everything paid for by insurance companies?—You can’t file a claim for lost wages if you received full reimbursement or payment of wages. You can’t seek damages for medical expenses that were either paid by the insurance company or reimbursed to you. If your insurance company covers all your out-of-pocket expenses, they may have a claim against the defendant for those costs, but you don’t—you can’t recover twice for the same loss.
  • Did you suffer pain or physical discomfort?—These types of injuries are not normally covered by insurance, so here’s a place where you may actually be entitled to damages.
  • Did you have to stop doing things you love?—Did you play tennis or golf before the accident, but can’t now because of the pain? Was there any other activity you had to give up because of the accident?
  • Have you lost the ability to be intimate with a spouse or partner, or to enjoy the companionship of family members?

Contact Us

To schedule a private meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or e-mail us. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit–Causation

car hits manIn an earlier blog, we discussed the initial requirement of a personal injury lawsuit, that the injured party demonstrate that the defendant breached the duty to act as a reasonable person would. Once you’ve successfully shown that the defendant’s level of care was below that expected by a reasonable person, you must next show that the failure caused  an injury.

Causation Defined

Under the common law, there are two types of causation, both of which must be shown for a personal injury claim to succeed: actual cause and proximate cause.

Actual, or “but for” cause, is the simplest to show. To meet this burden, you need only show that, in the absence of the defendant’s breach of the duty of care, the accident would not have happened and the injury would not have been suffered. Actual cause can apply to direct losses—a person runs a red light and hits your car—the property damage to your car is a direct result of the breach. It can also, however, apply to indirect, or consequential, injuries. Suppose, in the accident above, the collision causes you to lose control of your car and careen into an ice cream store, causing loss of power and the ultimate loss of $10,000 worth of ice cream—running the red light was the actual cause.

But there’s another causal requirement before you can recover compensation—you must show proximate cause. Essentially, this requires that you show that the damages or losses suffered were reasonably foreseeable based on your negligence. That question is a question for the jury, so ultimately jurors will have to determine if there was proximate cause.

Even though you’ve established a breach of the standard of care, and met the causation requirements, you must still show that you suffered actual injury.

Contact the Lawyers at Shaffer & Gaier, L.L.C.

For a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call us in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970. You can also reach our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

How Long Do You Have to Sue?

personal_injury

The Statute of Limitations | Personal Injury Lawsuits

Under the laws of Pennsylvania, when you have been hurt because of the carelessness of negligence of another person, there’s a limited amount of in which you can file a lawsuit to recover for personal injury and/or property losses. The statute that sets forth this time limit is known as the statute of limitations. The statute can be extended, but only in extremely limited situations, so it’s important that you take swift action to retain legal counsel, so that your attorney can gather, assess and preserve evidence, and can file your claim before the expiration of the statute.

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury action is two years. As a general rule, the statute begins to run on the date of your injury. However, if you were involved in an accident, but did not know at the time that you had suffered any injury, or did not know that a specific defendant’s actions caused an injury, the running of the statute will be “tolled,” or suspended until your discovery of the injury and/or the fact that a certain defendant caused the injury. It’s not uncommon, in cases involving toxic torts or other unseen dangers, that injury or illness not manifest until years or decades after exposure. In those types of situations, a court may be inclined to toll the statute until the discovery of either the injury or its cause.

There are other instances where the statute of limitations may be tolled:

  • If the injured party lacks legal capacity—is a minor, mentally ill or insane—the statute may be tolled until the party has capacity, although it’s not required
  • If a defendant has left the jurisdiction, you may be able to suspend the statute of limitations until his or her return

Contact Us

To schedule a private meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or e-mail us . Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

Sushi Chef Sues SEPTA for Setback

Train leaving station

A 55-year-old sushi chef from Queens, Hing Piu Wong, has filed suit against the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), alleging that the mass transit authority was negligent and caused him injury.

According to documents filed by Wong in his hometown of Queens, Wong was traveling on a SEPTA train from Philadelphia to Claymont, Delaware on October 20, 2015. Wong alleges that, when he arrived in Claymont and tried to disembark, he discovered that the train was leaning away from the platform, causing a significant gap. Nonetheless, he tried to span the gap and leave the train, but fell on the platform, dislocating his right wrist. Wong further alleges that, at the time of the injury, he was working as a sushi chef. Because of the pain associated with the injury, and because he required two surgeries to repair the damage, he was forced to give up his job.

For the time being, it appears that the lawsuit will remain in the Queens court. Under New York law, a New York court has appropriate jurisdiction over a defendant if the defendant is an out-of-state entity conducting business in the state. SEPTA attorneys had asked the Queens court to dismiss the complaint, arguing that SEPTA did not serve New York. The court, however, denied the motion to dismiss, citing the fact that SEPTA sells tickets from a window at New York’s Penn Station.

SEPTA had also argued that litigating the action would be more convenient for all parties in Pennsylvania, but the Queens court disagreed, finding that Wong’s inability to speak English would make it a greater hardship for him to have to pursue legal action elsewhere.

Contact the Lawyers at Shaffer & Gaier, L.L.C.

For a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call us in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970. You can also reach our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

Snow Blowers Still Causing Injury Despite Recall

Foot soft splint for treatment of injuries from tendon inflammat

It’s January in Pennsylvania—it would be pretty unusual not to have snow on the ground. Shoveling’s pretty hard work, so why not fire up the snow blower? Before you do, though, take a good look at the brand. If it’s an MTD Snow Thrower and you’ve had it for a while, there’s a good chance that it could be extremely dangerous to operate. The MTD Snow Thrower was subject to voluntary recall some 10 years ago, but company officials acknowledge that a significant number of the machines have not been returned and still pose a serious risk of injury.

According to court documents filed against MTD, the manufacturer, more than 130,000 snow blowers manufactured by the company had tire rims that were extremely dangerous. The rims were made of a plastic material, and when users overinflated the tires on the snow blower, the air pressure had a tendency to cause the rims to explode, sending plastic shrapnel flying through the air. Sources say that hundreds of owners have reported a wide range of injuries, from cuts and bruises to broken bones, including fingers and toes. Company officials say the snow blowers were sold through Sears, Home Depot and other hardware outlets. The Sears product carried the Craftsman logo.

Contact the Law Office of Shaffer & Gaier, L.L.C.

If you or someone you love has been hurt because a consumer product was negligently designed or poorly manufactured, you have a right to pursue compensation from anyone in the chain of distribution. Let us help.

At Shaffer & Gaier, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call our office in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

Pennsylvania Lawsuit Looks at Liability of Texters

Pennsylvania Lawsuit Looks at Liability of Texters

personal-injury

In a personal injury law suit filed in Pennsylvania, the estate of a motorcyc list who died in a car accident has sought compensation from a female driver who was allegedly distracted by reading and answering text messages while driving. Pennsylvania state law prohibits anyone from sending or reading text messages while behind the wheel. But that’s not the issue before the court right now.

Attorneys for the estate have asked the court to consider whether two men (one was the driver’s husband) who were sending her text messages at the time of the crash may have liability as well. Both men have argued that Pennsylvania’s law does not impose liability on them. The court, however, concluded that simply because there is no law prohibiting sending text messages to someone you know is driving doesn’t mean you won’t have liability for any injuries they cause.

Under personal injury law, some types of liability may be established under a statute, where the violation of that law constitutes liability. However, the principles of the common law have long been applied in personal injury actions. This type of law, based on tradition and case law, sets forth the basic concepts of negligence. With a negligence claim, the court looks at whether or not the defendant had a duty to act in a certain way—what the law defines as "reasonable"—and whether that person’s actions violated that standard.

In the case in Pennsylvania, the court reasoned that, when a person knows that the recipient of their text messages is currently driving a motor vehicle, or has good reason to believe so, it is reasonable to expect that their text messages could distract that person from the task at hand—driving the vehicle. Accordingly, it is possible that they will have some responsibility for injury or death caused by the text message recipient.

Contact the Law Office of Shaffer & Gaier, L.L.C.

At Shaffer & Gaier, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call our office in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

Trucking Accident Yields Sizeable Settlement

Shaffer & Gaier was able to secure a sizeable settlement for a driver who was rear ended by a tractor trailer in NJ. Our client was traveling in NJ and was stopped in a traffic jam. The driver of an 18 wheel tractor trailer smashed into her vehicle causing her significant injuries. Although our client had neck and back injuries, her main complaint was to her hearing. Due to the deployment of her air bags, our client had constant ringing in her ears and hearing loss.

Shaffer & Gaier provided expert testimony that proved that the ringing in her ears was caused by the auto accident. As a result of this, Shaffer & Gaier secured a substantial settlement on her behalf.

Dog Bite Settles for Full Policy Limit

Shaffer & Gaier represented a young woman who was severely injured when a dog viciously attacked her causing back injuries and a scar to her back. Plaintiff was a 23 year old woman who was working for a summer camp. As she was taking the child off the camp bus, a vicious dog broke through a screen door and attacked her. Shaffer & Gaier was able to settle this case for the full insurance policy limit of the homeowners.

Improperly Programmed Medical Stimulator Results in Settlement

Shaffer & Gaier was able to secure a sizeable settlement for our client whose neuro-stimulator was not properly programmed. Due to the programming error, Plaintiff endured years of pain and suffering which would not have occurred if the stimulator had been programmed properly.

In June of 1993, our client was struck in the head by a tractor trailer door. He suffered serious head and neck injuries. In 1993 he had ongoing pain and was eventually implanted with a neuro stimulator in 1996. The stimulator functioned satisfactorily but it was replaced in August 2001. After the second replacement, Plaintiff had little relief from the new stimulator. He had severe limitations and was rendered totally disabled.

Over a period of 10 years the stimulator was programmed by a salesman. Unfortunately, the salesman had little or no medical training. The salesman did not have the expertise to properly program the devise and as a result Plaintiff lost total function of his right arm. Plaintiff eventually saw a new programmer who was able to program the neuro stimulator correctly. Our client had no idea that the original programmer had failed to program the stimulator correctly because the Defendant simply told him that this was ” as good as he was going to get.”

Shaffer & Gaier brought suit alleging that for 10 years the stimulator was not properly functioning due to a programmer error. Through discovery, we were able to establish that the salesmen did not have any medical training and he was in essence practicing medicine without the proper credentials. As the case was about to go to trail, the parties were able to settle the case for a sizeable but confidential settlement amount.

Construction fall ends in $1.2 Million Dollar Settlement Before Jury Selection

Shaffer & Gaier represented a union shop iron worker who was severely hurt in a construction fall. David Markowski was working at Misercorida University in Luzerne County PA. David was working on an expansion project to construct a field house for the school. The field house was designed to house various locker rooms and gym equipment inside.

The University contracted with general contractor, Sordoni Construction, to act as the general contractor and construction manager. Sordoni then hired Rise Construction to fabricate and erect steel for the field house. Rise then hired David’s employer, Mid Valley Steel, to erect the steel structure for the field house.

In January of 2012 David was assigned to work at the field house. He started working 7-10 days prior to the accident. When he came to the site, David testified that he was shown a brief training video but was never given any fall protection training. In addition, he never saw any safety personnel at the site from Rise or the general contractor, Sordoni.

On January 16, 2012, David was instructed to climb a 15 foot wall to position steel joists that were to be welded the next day. He was not given any fall protection and there were no anchor points where he was working to tie off his harness. He was in essence, walking a balance beam on a blustery January day. While he was walking the wall, David fell to the ground shattering both feet and ankles.

Shaffer & Gaier brought suit against the general contractor and sub-contractor alleging that they violated their respective safety duties. Through one of the premier construction experts in the country, Shaffer & Gaier established that both the contractor and sub contractor violated their respective duties in failing to provide a safe work environment.

Through the litigation, the general contractor filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and that Motion was originally granted by the Magistrate Judge. However, Shaffer & Gaier successfully overturned that decision and the case was prepared to go to trial. Before jury selection, the case was settled for $1.2 Million. In addition, David had a worker’s compensation lien that exceeded $300k, Shaffer & Gaier negotiated so that the lien would be totally waived. David, in essence, received a $1.5 Million dollar settlement because we were able to have the worker’s compensation lien totally waived.

Our Services

img

Our Latest Blog Posts

Firm Newsletter: June, 2017

Click here to download a printable pdf of this newsletter. CASE ALERTS National Lab Pays for Genetic Testing Error Michael Shaffer secured a settlement for the parents of a child who contracted a severe and rare disorder that was missed through … [Read More...]

New Foreclosure Firms Getting a Foothold

The worst of the financial crisis is over and the number of foreclosures is down sharply from only a few years ago, yet many of the mortgage firms, however, remain the same --- Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Fannie Mae. The latest … [Read More...]