From car crashes to tripping hazards, there are countless ways to suffer an injury in Johnstown by no fault of your own. If another person caused your injuries, you might have viable grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
A Johnstown personal injury lawyer could be a valuable resource in your quest for compensation. Once retained, a seasoned personal injury lawyer could evaluate your case and guide you through the process.
How is Negligence Proven in Johnstown?
Some injuries—no matter how severe—will never lead to a viable injury claim. To recover compensation on behalf of an injured civil plaintiff, a Johnstown personal injury attorney must be able to establish that the defendant was negligent in causing the plaintiff’s injuries. To establish legal negligence, a plaintiff must demonstrate these four elements:
- The defendant owes a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached their duty of care
- The defendant’s breach caused injuries to the plaintiff
- The plaintiff’s injuries resulted in damages
What is a Duty of Care?
A defendant could face liability if they owed the plaintiff a duty of care at the time of the injury. A duty of care is an obligation imposed by law to act in a way that prevents others from suffering avoidable harm. For example, drivers owe each other a duty to drive safely, while a property owner owes visitors a duty to warn them of unseen hazards, called premises liability.
How Does Someone Breach a Duty of Care?
If a personal injury lawyer in Johnstown can establish that a duty of care existed, the next step is to prove the defendant breached that duty. Breaching a duty of care typically involves a careless, reckless, or intentional act—for example, driving too fast for road conditions and causing a car accident or failing to clean up a spill on the floor of a restaurant within a reasonable amount of time resulting in a slip and fall.
The next step to a successful civil suit would be to establish causation. In a legal context, causation is a direct link between the defendant’s breach and the plaintiff’s injuries. Put another way, a defendant cannot be responsible for injuries they did not cause.
Finally, an injured party seeking civil compensation must prove they sustained compensable damages from the breach. Typical examples of recoverable damages include bodily injuries, lost wages, and/or permanent disability.
Deadline to File a Claim in Johnstown
After an accident, it can be challenging for a victim to focus on anything other than recovering from an injury. However, if a plaintiff puts off filing their injury suit for too long, they could lose their opportunity to recover any damages at all.
Pennsylvania has adopted a statute of limitations that sets the deadline for filing a lawsuit. According to 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5524, an injury victim has two years from the date of their injury to file suit. If the plaintiff fails to file during that two-year window, the court has the authority to dismiss the case if the defendant requests that they do so. A dedicated personal injury lawyer in Johnstown could help an injured victim with filing a claim promptly.
Call a Johnstown Personal Injury Attorney Today
Taking on a personal injury claim can be a major undertaking, from investigating the claim to negotiating with an insurance company to potentially proceeding in court. With the help of experienced legal counsel, you could focus on getting back to full health while your attorney moves your injury claim forward.
You deserve to have the financial burden from your injury lifted off your shoulders. If you are ready to take the first step towards pursuing compensation, contact us to schedule a consultation with a Johnstown personal injury lawyer from Marcus & Mack right away.