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Ten Important Facts about Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law

Written by: Hagelgans and Veronis

Many facts most people in Pennsylvania do not know about Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law. Did you know:

  • PA has a No-Fault law so if you are injured in a car accident by a careless driver, your car insurance and not the careless driver’s car insurance must initially pay the medical and hospital bills under the medical coverage under your auto policy. That is the reason you should carry at least $100,000 in medical coverage on your own car insurance.
  • If you have health insurance that is under a self-funded ERISA Health plan or an HMO, and your health insurer pays your medical and hospital bills from a car accident because you did not have adequate medical coverage on your car insurance, that health plan can seek reimbursement of what it paid from your personal injury settlement leaving you less for your pain and suffering.
  • Even if the other driver is at fault and is issued a citation, if your case goes to court, your lawyer is not allowed under PA evidence law to introduce the fact that the Defendant driver was cited or received a ticket to prove his or her negligence. That is why it is important to call an experienced personal injury lawyer sooner than later so he can obtain early on the necessary evidence to prove the negligence of the Defendant driver who caused your accident.
  • Unlike some other states, in PA, a person injured cannot sue for a specific amount of money and his or her lawyer is not permitted to tell a jury what he or she thinks his client’s case is worth for noneconomic damages like “pain and suffering.” An experienced lawyer must establish that through the testimony of you, your family and friends and expert witnesses but a jury is not permitted to hear from a lawyer what a particular case is worth. A lawyer is permitted to introduce economic evidence of unreimbursed income loss, unpaid or out of pocket medical bills, and loss of future earning potential if the clients’ injury is serious or permanent and causes him to be disabled.
  • Under PA evidence, failure of our client to wear a seatbelt is not admissible by the defense to show our client contributed to her accident or injuries by failing to wear a seatbelt.
  • The venue or area where a lawsuit is brought is very important but a lawyer must generally file a lawsuit where the accident or malpractice occurred or where the Defendant resides.
  • Most counties in Pennsylvania have jurors who are conscientious but more conservative in awarding high verdicts, unless an injury is permanent or serious or the testimony or facts of a case are especially compelling. Philadelphia County is the exception and is known as one of the most liberal Plaintiff friendly venues in the country.
  • If a careless driver is drunk or under the influence of drugs when he causes an accident and a lawyer sues for punitive damages (damages to punish him for his outrageous behavior) an award for punitive damages against that impaired driver is generally not covered or paid by the at fault driver’s insurance company and must be recovered directly from the Defendant if he has adequate assets. However, the impaired driver’s insurance company is required to pay for the compensatory damages to our clients for “pain and suffering” and any loss of income or unpaid medical bills.
  • A lawyer cannot sue a medical professional until the lawyer has obtained an expert medical witness in the same field as the Defendant physician or health care provider who is prepared to testify that health care provider has “breached the standard of expert care” or committed malpractice.
  • Under PA law, licensed drivers in Pennsylvania can carry as little as $15,000 in liability insurance to make them legal to drive a car on PA highways. That is why it is extremely important that you protect you and your family against serious injuries caused by these inadequately insured drivers by carrying high limits of underinsured motorist coverage on your own car insurance which will then enable you to sue your own company to recover additional compensation for you and a family member’s injuries if the value of those injuries is worth more than the at fault driver’s liability insurance.

*Nicholas A. Veronis, Esquire (September, 2022)

Both attorneys, James D. Hagelgans and Nicholas Veronis are Champions of Justice, the highest category of the PA Association of Justice

Call Hagelgans & Veronis Today at 717-295-7009 for a Free Consultation and Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer (Lancaster, PA).

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