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Williamsport, PA Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury occurs when you have received mental and/or physical harm due to someone else’s negligence. Injuries may be either mild or severe enough to cause death.

The most common causes of personal injury are crashes involving motor vehicles. Other common causes are medical and hospital malpractice, construction injuries, products liability claims, aircraft failures, dog attacks, slips and falls, nursing home abuse, and sexual abuse.

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If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury due to the negligence or fault of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical and hospital bills, destroyed property, lost wages, future lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of life’s pleasures. However, Pennsylvania personal injury law is complex; there are time limits for filing; and if you don’t handle your claim correctly, you may never collect the compensation you are entitled to.  It’s essential to get legal assistance to make sure your case is handled promptly and properly.

Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann knows the courts and the system and what you need to do to increase your chances of winning a good settlement.  Our seasoned personal injury lawyers have helped hundreds of people file successful lawsuits. With decades of experience and an excellent reputation in the legal community, we are well positioned to handle even the most difficult cases. Our lawyers have successfully represented clients in personal injury cases of all kinds. We offer a free consultation to carefully examine the individual facts in your case and determine the best way to handle it. Contact us for a free consultation with a highly experienced Williamsport, PA personal injury lawyer or call 800-326-9259.

What Does Compensation Cover?

In Pennsylvania, compensated costs and losses fall into two categories: economic damages, and non-economic damages.

  1. Economic damages are expenses which can be objectively calculated, such as medical, hospital, therapy, equipment, and rehabilitation costs; lost income; property damage; and funeral and burial costs.
  2. Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of life’s pleasures, emotional distress, and the loss of a marital relationship (consortium).

How Is Fault Determined?

For you to win a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove another party was at fault and negligent by showing:

  • The party causing your injuries had a responsibility not to injure you and failed to live up to that responsibility;
  • There is a connection between the other party’s responsibility and your injury; and
  • You suffered damages, or a financial loss, as a result of your accident.

Also, Pennsylvania has a “modified comparative negligence rule.” Compensation is reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. If you are more than 50 percent at fault, you can’t collect anything from other at-fault parties.  There is a different rule concerning products liability claims, and sometimes statutes and specialized cases may come into play with respect to fault.

Time Limits

In Pennsylvania, there is a statute of limitations that allows you two (2) years from the date of an injury to file a lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. (42 Pa. Con. Stat. Ann. section 5524). You must file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out or the Pennsylvania civil court system will likely refuse to hear your case, and you will lose the right to get compensation. Also important is Pennsylvania’s statute of repose that comes into play in a number of different types of cases and the discovery or tolling rule.  These are all very complex matters that require valuation by an attorney.

If your claim is against a city, county, or state government agency, there are times where a notice of intent to sue within 6 months is required. Sovereign immunity in Pennsylvania is another area of great complexity.  In federal cases, the Federal Tort Claims Act controls and sometimes there are even opportunities to obtain damage for personal injuries under the civil rights laws.

Motor Vehicle Crashes

Pennsylvania has something called the Financial Responsibility Law.  Cliff Rieders wrote the book on the subject, and the book is available from Amazon. Medical and hospital reimbursement is handled from the victim’s own coverage, up to the limits of coverage purchased. There is then tort coverage and the all-important underinsurance.  Many people take less underinsurance than they should. Sometimes we can get around this, and other times not. Certain forms must be executed before underinsurance can be cut by the insurance company. Also extremely important in Pennsylvania is that you can choose between “full tort” and “limited tort” insurance coverage. “Limited tort” prohibits you from suing unless the accident resulted in “serious injury.” If you are able to prove serious injury or if you have “full tort” coverage, you can seek compensation from an at-fault party. It is extremely important that an attorney look at this because there are times when it is possible to get around the tort waiver where the proper forms have not been executed. We have experience working with physicians in terms of obtaining information on whether a serious injury has occurred.

Liability for Dog Bite/Attack

Pennsylvania statute (3 Pa. Stat. § 459-502 (b)) makes the owner “strictly liable” for injuries to others. This means that even if this is the first time the animal has injured someone, the dog owner may be responsible.

Caps on Injury Damages

Pennsylvania’s constitution prohibits the limitation of damages in cases involving injury and death. The only limitation is a cap on punitive damages in medical malpractice cases. However, state laws do limit the amount of compensation you can recover when the defendant is a local or state government entity, such as a school district. The law is different with respect to the Federal Tort Claims Act and where civil rights laws may be applicable.

How Does a Personal Injury Attorney Get Paid?

Typically, in personal injury cases, the attorney receives payment through a contingency fee agreement. Attorneys often lay out the costs for filing the case and do not get paid until a settlement is reached, when they get a percentage of the settlement funds. If you are seriously injured, need surgery, have large medical bills, miss a great deal of time from work, or are unable to work again, your personal injury case is worth more money.

Achieving Results When it Counts

If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury or someone has died as a result of another person’s negligence, you should get legal assistance to protect your rights at every stage of your claim.

Achieving Results

Personal injury attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann has spent decades honing his skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence. We offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome.  With our experienced staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service.

Cliff Rieders is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. Rieders has won numerous awards and recognition from the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, and he received the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority recognition award. Cliff has received the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, as well as the Milton D. Rosenberg Award from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. Rieders is on committees and organizations that write the law in many fields of practice, including the Mcare Act, which governs medical liability actions in Pennsylvania, and he wrote the book on medical malpractice that lawyers use in the state. Cliff Rieders is admitted in state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

How Long Do Personal Injury Settlements Take?

Settlement time for personal injury lawsuits varies greatly, depending on variables that include:

  • The amount of investigation necessary to prove your claim
  • The type and severity of injuries sustained
  • The length of time necessary to complete medical treatment
  • Whether the case can be settled out of court without having to file a lawsuit or whether the case must go to trial.
  • How busy the court docket is.
  • Who the defense lawyers are and how cooperative they are.
  • How strong the liability is.
  • The judge and the court system involved.

How Much is a Claim Worth?

There is no predetermined amount or formula for settlements awarded by judges or juries for personal injury, but you may be able to recover for:

  • Economic costs, such as property damage, past and future medical, hospital, rehabilitation expenses, past and future wage loss, loss of wage horizon
  • Non-economic damages, such as physical and mental pain and suffering. discomfort, disfigurement, embarrassment, humiliation, inconvenience, depression, emotional distress, loss of life’s pleasures, and loss of society, services and consortium
  • In some rare cases, punitive damages.

Practice Areas We Handle

Areas of personal injury that our attorneys handle include:

  • Medical Malpractice — This occurs when a doctor or practitioner or facility does not conform to the standard of care in Pennsylvania, determined by how similarly trained professionals would have treated the same condition. Medical professionals must have the same knowledge and skill and exercise the same care normally used in that profession and also must keep informed of the developments in the profession and use current skills and knowledge. Medical care that violates the required due care, including negligent treatment that causes injury or death to the patient, may violate the standard of care.
  • Vehicle Accidents — If you or a loved one was involved in a vehicle crash and another party was negligent or responsible, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation to cover your medical and hospital expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, loss of future wage horizon, property loss, pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of life’s pleasures, humiliation.
    Be aware of some important laws regarding vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania:

    • No-fault – Pennsylvania does not have a no-fault car insurance system. There are certain benefits paid for by your own insurance, if you are covered, such as first-party benefits and underinsurance.
    • Statute of limitations – Generally, there is a limit of two yearsafter the accident for filing a personal injury or property damage lawsuit.
    • Comparative fault — Pennsylvania has a “modified comparative fault” rule, reducing a total damages award by whatever percentage of the fault of the accident the courts determine is yours, and you may not collect if you are more than 50 percent at fault.

Pennsylvania Vehicle Accidents

  • Medical Devices and Product Liability — Anyone injured by a faulty medical device or product may have a claim under one of three categories:
    • Defective design — there are issues in the design of a device even if appropriately manufactured
    • Defective marketing – product may have been marketed without informing the patient of the dangers involved
    • Defective manufacture – product was damaged during manufacturing or distribution.

Preemption, however, means that certain types of cases cannot be brought at all because of federal regulation.  This is a very complex area of the law.

Depending on the situation, any of the following may be held liable for defective products:

  • Manufacturer for a defective process
  • Doctor who failed to give information regarding potential warnings or proper usage
  • Retail supplier
  • Sales representative who recommended the defective device.

Injuries We Cover

The following are common injuries that may lead to personal injury settlements:

  • Spinal cord injuries — The spinal cord is the main pathway for information connecting the brain and peripheral nervous system. Damage to the spinal cord can cause loss of some or all ability to control movement and feeling below the injury site.
  • Traumatic brain injuries — The human brain controls our ability to function and is extremely sensitive and subject to damage. When the brain is injured, any of our abilities can be affected, and severe symptoms from paralysis to death may result.
  • Fractures – Broken bones can cause pain and interfere with our functioning and may never heal correctly.
  • Extensive soft tissue damage — Common injuries include whiplash, sprains, strains, muscle tears, and nerve damage.
  • Burns — The skin is the body’s largest organ‚ and it can be severely compromised by burns, resulting in horrific injuries that cause pain‚ swelling‚ redness‚ blistering‚ scarring‚ infection‚ and, in severe cases, possibly death.
  • Wrongful death – When a loved one dies through a fatal accident caused by a “wrongful act,” “neglect,” “unlawful violence,” or “negligence” committed by a third party, certain close family members may be able file a lawsuit for wrongful death. Claims can involve a wide range of misconduct, ranging from homicide to medical malpractice or nursing home neglect.

Contact An Experienced Williamsport Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or your loved one has suffered personal injury harm, your next step should be to consult Cliff Rieders at Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann by calling 877-959-9107, or by using our online contact form. Based in Williamsport, PA we serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all personal injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.

Our Legal Team

AttorneyClifford A. Rieders
Partner
Jeffrey C. Dohrmann
AttorneyJeffrey C. Dohrmann
Partner
Corey J. Mowrey
AttorneyCorey J. Mowrey
Associate
Attorney John Humphrey
AttorneyJohn M. Humphrey
Partner
Attorney Walter
AttorneyC. Scott Waters
Partner
Pamela L. Shipman
AttorneyPamela L. Shipman
Associate

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