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Personal Injury Attorneys
A personal injury is an injury to a person's body or emotional state, and it is the direct result of the actions performed by a separate person. To qualify as a personal injury, the person determined to be liable for the injury must be responsible for causing the accident or incident causing the injury by failing to exercise reasonable care.
The offices of Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo in Bethlehem PA pursue different kinds of personal injury claims and file personal injury complaints in several different instances. For example, people can be hurt in car accidents, slip and fall accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents, bicycle and motorcycle accident, or from a dog bite or dog attack, or due to a dangerous product. They may also be hurt as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, or medical error and medical malpractice. Many of our clients suffer head and brain injuries, fractures and sprains, skin and tissue wounds, injury to the spine and spinal cord, and death.
We are here for you if you have been injured in any of the types of accidents or incidents listed above.
Every complaint does not end in a lawsuit. Our law firm will often make a claim on your behalf before filing a lawsuit. We deal with the insurance companies and insurance adjusters so that you do not have to. In many cases, we as your personal injury lawyer in Bethlehem PA will negotiate a settlement for you and settle your claim outside of the court. When this happens, you may receive your settlement in one lump sum payment, or you could be given a structured settlement that makes periodic payments for a specified period of time.
When we as your personal injury lawyer in Bethlehem PA file a tort lawsuit against the person responsible for your accident, we seek to demonstrate to the court that you are entitled to monetary damages. During the lawsuit we will file a Complaint containing information about the parties, the incident and the plaintiff’s damages, including:
The plaintiff’s name.
The defendant's name.
The wrongdoing that occurred and when it occurred.
A declaration that the defendant's wrongdoing is the cause of the plaintiff's injuries.
A description of the types of injuries the plaintiff suffered.
A description of the types of losses the plaintiff is claiming.
A demand for relief including the types of damages the plaintiff expects to receive as compensation.
If you were injured in a car accident, for example, your personal injury lawyer in Bethlehem PA will present evidence to the court that the defendant caused the car accident through negligence, gross negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct.
If you are injured by a dangerous product or defective product, your case can also be tried on the basis of strict liability or products liability. Strict or products liability may apply to the manufacturer or seller of various products which have caused injury, such as trucks, mowers, equipment or machinery, to name a few examples.
Often the theory of strict liability or products liability applies when a plaintiff is injured by a dangerous or defective product. This means that the defendant can be determined to be financially responsible for the accident even if the company is not determined to be negligent.
In this case, your personal injury lawyer may name the product manufacturer, seller, designer and distributor, since they all may be held liable for the accident along with the driver of the defective truck, for example.
The Concept of Negligence
Your personal injury lawyer in Bethlehem PA may decide to try your case on the basis of negligence. In that case, a personal injury lawyer would need to prove the following four elements:
The defendant had an obligation to act in a reasonable manner at the time of the incident.
The defendant failed to act in a reasonable manner at the time of the incident.
The fact that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care (i.e. failed to act in a reasonable manner) caused the accident in which you were hurt.
Your injuries from this accident led to your damages and losses, including financial losses as well as other non-financial losses such as pain and suffering.
Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does a personal injury lawyer do?
A personal injury lawyer represents victims who have been injured due to the negligence of others. The law requires people who negligently cause injury to pay damages to the people they injure. Personal injury lawyers work to ensure that victims of negligence receive the damages they are owed.
What is personal injury protection coverage and how do I know if I have it?
Personal injury protection or “PIP” coverage pays your medical expenses after a car accident. If you live in Pennsylvania and have car insurance, you have at least $5000 of PIP coverage. You may have purchased more coverage when you bought car insurance.
Your car insurance company must pay for medically reasonable and accident-related medical expenses up to your limit of PIP coverage. There are no copays or deductibles, and your bills will be 100% covered as long as your treatment was medically reasonable and related to the accident. After your PIP coverage is used up or “exhausted,” medical bills should be submitted to your health insurance if you have it.
Who pays my medical expenses while my case is pending?
If you were in a car accident, your medical bills must be submitted to your car insurance company for payment under your PIP coverage. After your PIP coverage is used up, your bills should be submitted to your health insurance. Any out-of-pocket medical expenses that are not paid by PIP or your health insurance will be included in the case against the at-fault driver.
If you were in an accident that did not involve a car, your bills should be submitted to your health insurance while your case is pending. Your medical bills will be included in the case against the at-fault party.
What if there are multiple injured people in my accident?
If there are multiple injured people who were not at fault, each injured person may make a claim against the party who was at fault. If the at-fault party has enough insurance to cover the claims of everyone who was injured, then each injured person’s claim should be paid in full. If the at-fault party did not have enough insurance, then the available insurance may need to be allocated among the people who were injured.
What if my accident made a pre-existing condition worse?
The at-fault party is liable for any worsening of your pre-existing conditions caused by the accident. We will review your pre-and post-accident medical history with you and discuss what may be included in the claim against the at-fault party. Please contact Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo for a free consultation.
When do I need a lawyer for my personal injury claim?
If you have been injured through the fault of another, you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Every case is different, and there are almost always complications that should be addressed by an experienced lawyer. Remember: the insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible, and you should have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side to make sure you get what you deserve.
Should I handle my own personal injury claim?
Every case is different and most will involve complicated questions. You should at least consult with a lawyer before trying to handle your case yourself. Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo offers free consultations, and we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Is my personal injury settlement taxable?
Generally, at the present time, recoveries in personal injury settlements are not considered income and are not taxable. In rare circumstances, you may need to pay taxes on a portion of your settlement if you took an itemized deduction for medical expenses related to your injury in prior tax years and received a tax benefit. Please see this document from the IRS and contact us for more information.
Will health care providers (hospital, physician, EMS, etc.) have a valid lien that could affect my settlement?
For any bills paid by your auto insurance, there will not be a lien against your recovery. To determine if there is a lien for a health care provider who paid accident-related bills, it is safest to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney as this issue can be complicated. In general, if you have outstanding medical bills when your case settles, you can decide whether to pay your outstanding bills from your settlement proceeds. If you entered into a specific agreement promising to pay a medical provider from your settlement, the medical provider will need to be paid from the proceeds.
What if the claims adjuster denies coverage?
If a claims adjuster has wrongfully denied coverage, the next step is to file a lawsuit. If a claims adjuster has denied your claim, please contact us for a free consultation. We will discuss your case and your legal options.
What is a “bad faith” personal injury claim?
When you make a claim under your own insurance policy, your insurance company has a duty to treat you fairly and act in good faith. If your insurance company acts in bad faith and does not treat you fairly, you may have a “bad faith claim” against your insurance company and may be entitled to special damages. If you believe your insurance company has wrongfully denied your claim or has not treated you fairly, please contact us for a free consultation.
How does settlement negotiation work in a personal injury case?
After you obtain medical treatment for your injuries, we will obtain evidence showing all of the ways your injuries have affected you and caused you losses in the past, as well as the damages and losses you face in the future. We then submit a demand for settlement to the defendant. They may respond with a settlement offer, which will likely be lower than the demand. If everyone is willing, the parties may negotiate and arrive at a compromise settlement.
What are ‘intervening’ and ‘superseding’ causes in a personal injury case?
If you are involved in multiple accidents over time, the later accidents might be considered “intervening” or “superseding” causes of your damages. If you have been involved in multiple accidents, we would be happy to discuss your history and look at what damages each accident caused. Please contact us for a free consultation.
What is the “last clear chance” rule for my personal injury claim?
This legal doctrine may apply in some states if there is a dispute over whether the plaintiff was at fault for an accident because he or she had the “last chance” to avoid the harm, even if the defendant was also at fault. It was never adopted in Pennsylvania. See Spearing v. Starcher, 532 A.2d 36, 37 (Pa. Super. 1987). If you have been injured in an accident and there is a dispute over who was at fault, please contact us for a free consultation.
What do I need to tell my insurance company about my personal injury claim?
If you have been injured in an accident and your insurance company wants information from you, it is best to consult with a lawyer before giving out any information. Anything you tell the insurance company may be discoverable in later legal proceedings, but communications with your attorney are confidential. Please contact us for a free consultation.