How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?

That depends on what type of case it is, which law applies, who the proposed defendant(s) are, and other case-specific considerations.  The main law which this question pertains to is the Statute of Limitations.  The Statute of Limitations sets forth deadlines for particular types of cases to be filed and started in court.  Generally speaking, the Statute of Limitations for an accident case in Pennsylvania, for example, is two (2) years.  This means that a lawsuit must be filed in court within two years from the date of the accident.  If the lawsuit is not filed in court within the applicable Statute of Limitations, you may be barred from bringing the claim.  However, there can be exceptions and other circumstances which extend the deadline.  If you think you might have a legal claim, we strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney immediately.  An experienced attorney will be able to assess the likely deadline date and determine whether a case can still be pursued, if warranted.

What’s involved in a lawsuit?

Although every case is unique and fact specific, personal injury lawsuits generally follow a certain course. After meeting with an attorney, an investigation may take place which includes fact gathering, obtaining records and photographs, speaking with witnesses, visiting accident scenes, researching possible defendants, discussing the matter with experts, etc. If it is determined that a lawsuit is warranted, the next step is to file suit in the appropriate court. After a lawsuit is filed and the defendant(s) answer the allegations, a process referred to as “Discovery” takes place. This may involve answering written questions from the opposing side, exchanging records and documents, giving and taking depositions, conducting site inspections, exchanging expert reports, and conducting other fact finding methods. The Discovery process is really where you ‘build your case’. Once Discovery is completed, the case will be scheduled for trial. The events surrounding trial, post-trial, and appeals are matters deserving of further explanation. At OnlyWhenYouWin, we always keep our clients informed of the litigation and trial process, and properly prepare the client along the way.

How do I prove a case against a doctor or hospital?

A medical malpractice case is really a medical negligence case.  At its core, it’s just another negligence case.  However, given the complexities of medicine and some of the issues that may arise, medical malpractice cases typically include some additional requirements.  There are also laws that are specific to these claims. Generally speaking, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must demonstrate what the standard of care was for a particular patient at the particular time.  The standard of care is often established through an expert witness such as another physician.  The plaintiff must next prove that the applicable standard of care was breached by the medical provider.  The breach of the standard of care is also typically established through expert witness opinion.  Next, the breach of the standard of care must have had a causal relation to the harm or injury suffered.  Again, this causal nexus often requires expert testimony and opinion.  Lastly, legal damages must be demonstrated.  The damages may include pain and suffering, medical expenses, wage loss, and other items of recognized loss.

What does a product defect mean in legal terms?

Although definitions vary from state to state and sometimes even case to case, a product may be considered defective if it fails to include an element necessary to make it safe or includes elements that render the product unsafe.  There may be other definitions or ways to prove a defect as well.  If you have been injured by a product, good, machine, device, equipment, etc., you should speak to an attorney experienced in product liability law.

How can I best protect my rights and myself in terms of my automobile coverage?

The type of automobile insurance a person maintains is a personal decision and dependent upon various factors, including but not limited to the ability or willingness to pay certain premiums for coverage.  In Pennsylvania, higher levels of protection would include electing “Full Tort” coverage, having Uninsured and Underinsured coverage, electing higher levels of medical expense and wage loss coverage, and having adequate property damage coverage.  There are other coverages to consider as well.  Obviously, the higher levels of coverage also usually involve higher premiums.  You should discuss these issues further with an appropriate insurance agent and/or company.

If I get hurt at work, am I limited to only receiving Worker’s Compensation benefits?

It depends.  In many cases, if a person is injured on the job they will be entitled to Worker’s Compensation benefits.  If applicable, these benefits can include at least a portion of wage loss and medical expense coverage.  These benefits are paid regardless of fault.  In exchange, with rare exception, the employee cannot sue his or her employer or fellow employee.  The employee is limited to receiving only the Worker’s Compensation benefits from the employer.  The employee cannot typically sue the employer for things like pain and suffering.  Again, there may be an exception, but such exceptions are rare.

However, there are often other options.  In many workplace accidents or injuries, a non-employer third party may have responsibility and liability.  For example, if a worker was hurt on the job while using a printing press, a personal injury action may be maintained against the designer, manufacturer and/or seller of the printing press.  If a worker was injured on the job while using a defective forklift, an action may lie against the forklift manufacturer.  These third party cases do not have the same limitations that a Worker’s Compensation case may have, such as being able to sue for pain and suffering, etc.

If you have been injured on the job, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.  In addition to possibly being entitled to Worker’s Compensation benefits, you may have additional options and avenues of recovery.

What do you mean by “OnlyWhenYouWin”?

We call ourselves “OnlyWhenYouWin” to demonstrate our belief that everyone should be able to afford a lawyer.  Our firm operates on “contingency fees,” meaning that our clients never pay up front court filing fees, billable hours, expert witness fees, or other up front case related expenses.  Instead, our clients only pay us a percentage of whatever judgment or settlement they are awarded.  Costs are reimbursed out of any settlement, award or verdict.  If a client is not awarded any funds, our firm does not collect any money.

What contingency fee do you charge?

In the interest of getting our clients the most money possible, our contingency fee is 29% of whatever amount is obtained in any pre-suit settlement.  So, for example, if our client’s case settles prior to a lawsuit being filed for $100, the attorney fee would be $29.  We believe this fee is lower than that typically charged by other law firms and lawyers practicing in the same areas of law.  If a lawsuit is filed and the case settles prior to the commencement of trial, arbitration or similar proceeding, the attorney fee is one-third (33&1/3%) of the amount of the settlement.  If the case settles during trial or similar proceeding, or a verdict or award is obtained, the attorney fee is 40% of the verdict, award or recovery.  Please note that in Pennsylvania cases, costs and expenses are also reimbursed in addition to these attorney fees.  In New Jersey cases, the costs and expenses are reimbursed from the recovery first, with the attorney fees being calculated on the “net” recovery.  * Attorney Fees in New Jersey cases are guided by law and Court Rule.  The contingency fees in New Jersey cases will follow New Jersey law and will be explained when the fee agreement is reviewed with the prospective client. In general, if different rules apply to attorney fees in any particular case or other jurisdiction and such rules require a lower attorney fee then those expressed herein, the lower fees will apply.

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