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You can file a personal injury lawsuit against a person when their negligent actions have caused you harm or damaged your property. You could be eligible for full compensation for your medical and other expenses when you can prove they are at fault. Personal injury claims are very complex, and you will need professional help.
SMT Legal is here to guide you and your family through this difficult time. Everyone has unique situations, and our Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers will take the time to really listen to the details of your case. We are dedicated to fully understanding the surrounding circumstances. We are compassionate attorneys who will fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help Your Claim
Our goal at SMT Legal is to help you get the best possible outcome and maximum compensation to make a positive difference in your life. We know when to negotiate, when to go to court, and how to get you financial relief for your injuries.
No one should have to make phone calls and worry about how medical bills will get paid after suffering a traumatic accident or injury. It is not your responsibility to pay for an injury or wrongful death that someone else caused. The experienced trial attorneys at SMT Legal represent clients through many difficult situations.
In addition, we help people who have suffered other types of trauma and injury due to the negligence of another person, manufacturer, or company. We are aggressive injury lawyers and will work to find a solution. We are committed to helping you collect compensation for your current and future medical costs and other damages.
Types of Personal Injury Claims We Handle
Personal injury claims can result from many situations. A simple trip to the grocery store can result in a slip-and-fall accident on an icy sidewalk or spilled liquid soap while you shop. The elderly and the young are particularly prone to these kinds of accidents and may suffer significant injuries.
Our personal injury attorneys have a wide range of backgrounds and legal experience. This allows us to handle nearly every type of personal injury claim, including:
- Animal attacks, such as dog bites
- Bus accidents
- Car accidents
- Construction accidents involving equipment and heavy machinery
- Food-borne illnesses
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Product liability cases
- Premises liability cases, such as slip-and-fall accidents
- Truck collisions
You could suffer debilitating injuries from any of these instances, along with astronomical medical bills. If your personal property is damaged, such as your car or laptop, your ability to earn a living can be affected. No matter what the situation, you can use the skilled guidance of an SMT Legal personal injury attorney in Pittsburgh.
In Pennsylvania, the law maintains that any person or company that owns or operates a property is responsible for any injuries that occur there. Owners must keep the land and any buildings safe and hazard free. They must remove or repair problems right away and warn visitors if there is a risk.
If you have been hurt on someone else’s property, you can pursue a premises liability case against them. This also applies to anyone who works on the property. You and your lawyer will need to prove that:
- The defendant owned, occupied, leased, or controlled the property where you were hurt.
- The defendant was or should have been aware of the hazard.
- The defendant failed to fix the problem and maintain the property in a safe manner.
- You suffered injuries on the property related to the hazard.
The individual or business responsible for the property is required to maintain it based on what a reasonable person would do in similar circumstances. Some examples of hazards that can cause an injury include:
- Failing to remove slip-and-fall risks such as liquid, debris, or ice
- Allowing animals to run loose or escape their enclosures, leading to attacks
- Uneven areas or potholes in sidewalks, roadways, and parking lots
- Inadequate lighting in hallways, stairs, and parking areas
- Debris, boxes, or other items that can fall onto visitors
- Electrocution risks from faulty wiring
- Carbon monoxide leaks
- Insufficient maintenance or security coverage
- Unsafe elevators & escalators
- Loose rugs or flooring, causing a trip hazard
There are three types of individuals who might enter a property: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The owner owes a duty of care to only two of them.
If you are an invitee, you have been given permission to be on the property for the benefit of either the owner or yourself. This would include customers in stores or people attending a house of worship. If you are a licensee, you are there for your own benefit rather than the owner.
Trespassers are those who enter the property without permission. The owner is not required to uphold a duty of care to this group. Trespassers are not eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner. An exception is if the trespasser is a child.
Another type of personal injury claim is called product liability. This can range from a kitchen gadget that burns your hand to a faulty electric car charger that burns down your home. It can also include vehicle parts that malfunction and cause wrecks. When an item is poorly designed, improperly manufactured, or misleadingly marketed, you may have a product liability case.
These cases involve complex expert testimony and a variety of legal and regulatory standards, but a competent lawyer will gather evidence on recalls, manufacturing records, and other information to demonstrate that the producer, distributor, and/or vendor could be at fault for your injury. You can seek compensation for all expenses related to the problem, including medical bills, property replacement, and emotional distress, among others.
Seeking Compensation in a Personal Injury Claim
When you are trying to recover from injuries and get your property repaired, you can overlook just how many expenses are piling up. You will generate numerous medical bills that would not have happened if someone else had not been careless. You deserve full compensation for every penny that the incident has cost you.
SMT Legal’s personal injury lawyers are skilled at calculating the full amount of damages you are due. We help you consider expenses you may not think of, such as travel costs or home renovations. For example, instead of just claiming the lost wages from when you were unable to work, we will help you claim the loss of additional benefits from your job, such as:
- Health insurance payments
- Holiday and/or overtime pay
- Paid time off
- Salary raises
- Vacation days
- 401(k) or retirement savings contributions
Generally, you will seek economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic losses include anything with a fixed monetary value, such as your paycheck and medical bills. Non-economic damages are more subjective and have to do with your pain and suffering.
Lost Income Potential
When an injury is severe enough, you could be disabled for months or years. You may even be unable to work at any job for the rest of your life. You lose not only your temporary pay while you recover, but the opportunity for raises, promotions, and other benefits in your career because you no longer have the abilities you did before.
The largest portion of a personal injury claim usually involves bills for medical care and treatment. Surgery, ICU, and ER visits are extremely expensive. If you are severely hurt, you may face months or years of therapy and treatment. If a person in their 20s is permanently disabled or paralyzed, they need reimbursement that will allow them to live comfortably in their new life circumstances.
You can include expenses such as travel costs to receive specialized treatment, renovations to your home to accommodate your disability, and the cost of any prosthesis or medical aid you need. At SMT Legal, we can connect you with our network of medical experts to generate the most accurate prognosis and estimate of the costs for your future medical care to ensure you do not face bills you cannot pay.
Repair or Replacement of Personal Property
If you also suffer the loss or damage of personal property, you can include these items in your compensation demand letter to the party responsible for your personal injury. This could be auto repairs from a car accident, rebuilding your home if a product caused a fire, or replacing valuable items that were stolen during a burglary.
Non-economic losses are part of what you suffer from a personal injury. The basis for receiving this type of compensation is how severely your life is affected by the injuries. You may not have significant physical injuries, but if they cause you to develop depression or other conditions, they are considered significant.
Non-economic damages you can seek reimbursement for include:
- Chronic pain
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Mental anguish
- Isolation and loss of society
- Loss of care and guidance for your family members
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of personal or professional reputation
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
When the negligence or actions of the person at fault are especially egregious, you can ask the court to award punitive damages. In some cases, the judge will elect to award them even if you do not make the request. These damages are meant to cause severe punishment to the defendant and serve as a warning to others.
Factors that the judge will take into account when deciding how to award compensatory and punitive damages include:
- The severity of your injuries and their impact on your life
- Whether the defendant was committing a crime
- Whether the defendant was drinking or abusing an illegal substance
- Whether a property owner knowingly ignored a potential hazard
- Whether a product manufacturer was aware of a defect that could cause harm
Proving Negligence Is the Key to Securing Compensation
Your SMT Legal attorneys will collect evidence to support your claim of damages and fault against the defendant. The key factor to winning your case will be to prove the four elements of negligence on the part of the responsible party, which are:
- The other party owed you and others a duty of care.
- They failed to uphold that duty of care.
- Your injuries and property damage were directly caused by their failure.
- You have expenses related to your injuries and damage.
Starting with your free initial consultation, our legal team will begin investigating your claim to develop your case. We will focus on determining who is responsible for your harm, including whether there is more than one defendant. Your personal injury lawyers will file motions to preserve evidence, obtain statements and business records, and take other actions as officers of the court representing and fighting for your interests.
We will handle the legal complexities while you focus on healing and getting your life back. Every client receives the same attention to detail and care so that we can present the strongest case for compensation and justice. We will gather documentation and evidence from such sources as:
- Traffic and security camera video
- Dashcam and bystander videos, including those posted to social media
- Police arrest reports if a crime was involved
- Police accident reports
- Medical bills
- Medical treatment records
- Witness statements
- Testimony from accident, medical, forensics, and other experts
- Driving and cell phone records in car accidents
- Maintenance, repair, and cleaning records for businesses
- Product design materials for defective products
- Manufacturer recall and other related records
We will use this information to create a clear picture of what happened and who is to blame for your personal injury. We will find every option for seeking compensation from all responsible parties, including groups such as trucking companies, manufacturers, and government entities.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania
The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania for personal injury lawsuits is generally two years after the injury occurs. It is essential that you file your claim before this time runs out, or you could lose your right to seek compensation entirely. In certain situations, such as filing against a government agency, you could have a reduced statute of limitations of as short as six months.
It takes time to properly assess your injuries and damage and even more time to gather the necessary evidence. The limited window to file a civil lawsuit means you should contact SMT Legal and speak with our personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. We will take the burden off your shoulders and make the process easy for you.
Hire a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer Today
You do not need to face the challenges of a personal injury claim alone. Our team stands ready to litigate aggressively on your behalf and secure the compensation you deserve. We will not rest until you receive the relief you require to return to your former life.
At SMT Legal, we offer every client compassion, experience, and dedication to their case. We hold those who hurt you accountable for their actions. Our lawyers have achieved numerous verdicts and settlements worth millions over our two decades of service to the Pittsburgh area. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation today.