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Personal Injury FAQ

Answers from Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers

After suffering an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be feeling overwhelmed – and you probably have a lot of questions. Allow our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys to help you during this difficult time. Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about personal injury cases.

If you still have questions after reading our FAQ, we encourage you to contact us at (215) 550-1999.

What is a catastrophic or personal injury?

A catastrophic injury is a life-changing event. A victim of catastrophic injuries may not be able to enjoy life as they once knew it. From job duties to recreational activities, the victims of catastrophic injury typically find themselves unable to perform the same tasks they used to complete with ease. They might be wheelchair or bedbound. They might also be permanently disfigured or suffering from cognitive deficits, psychological trauma, or chronic physical and emotional pain. Many victims of catastrophic injury require 24/7 care, special nurses, or facilities to assist with activities of daily life.

A personal injury case exists when a person has been injured by the negligence of another individual or company. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care. Negligence can include a single act or series of acts; it can also include the failure to act or a series of omissions. When a person or a corporation fails to use reasonable care and someone gets hurt as a result, the law entitles the victim to compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other harms and losses.

What is the first thing I should do if I've been injured?

If you have been injured, your top priority must be your health. Get the medical care you need and continue to follow up on your doctor’s appointments and physical therapy.

Once your initial medical needs have been attended to, you should:

  • Document and preserve any evidence of what happened to you
  • Gather the names and contact information of any witnesses
  • Take relevant photographs and keep copies of important documents and records
  • Make a list of your injuries, financial losses, and other damages
  • Be careful whom you speak to – silence can be your best weapon
  • Be wary of discussing your claim with an insurance company

Do I need a personal injury attorney?

Your job is to heal. Our job is to investigate and prosecute your case. The more you take on by yourself, the more likely something will get missed. The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Mincey Fitzpatrick Ross are used to dealing with insurance companies, investigators, eyewitnesses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals.

While you focus on your recovery, our attorneys can:

  • Investigate your accident/incident
  • Research the individual or company that harmed you
  • Notify the proper authorities
  • Negotiate with insurance adjusters
  • Prepare your case for pre-suit settlement or litigation
  • Interview and depose key witnesses
  • Retain safety experts to testify against the defendants
  • Coordinate with treating physicians and medical experts

What if I am contacted by an insurance company or an investigator?

People tend to ask themselves, “Why shouldn’t I just negotiate with the insurance company?” We recommend that you not discuss the events or your injury with anyone until you have consulted an attorney. Insurance adjusters only have two goals: To avoid being held accountable and avoid paying you full and fair compensation. Don’t make their job easy by answering loaded questions, taking recorded statements without a lawyer present, or accepting a low-ball offer.

Do not sign anything without contacting a lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. If you agree to sign a release, you may waive all of your legal rights to be fully compensated. It may be too early to know the full extent of your injuries or your financial losses. Often, insurance companies will offer what appears to be a handsome settlement very early on in the process in order to avoid having to pay future medical bills and lost wages that pile up well after the settlement money is gone.

What is a statute of limitations?

The statute of limitations is like a clock that starts to run immediately after you have been injured. The law only allows a plaintiff a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit – or else the claim is lost forever. Typically in personal injury cases, the victim has two years to file a lawsuit. Waiting until the deadline approaches, however, can damage your case. We recommend that you contact an attorney as soon as you can. We may need time to investigate your case, track down witnesses, obtain medical records, subpoena public records and corporate documents, and conduct legal research to find the best arguments on your behalf. The more time you give us, the stronger your case becomes

What information should I have available when I call/meet an attorney?

When you are preparing to call or meet with a personal injury attorney at Mincey Fitzpatrick Ross, there are certain details we will need to evaluate your case and determine whether something went wrong.

These include:

  • Date, location, and time of the accident or event
  • Name of the drivers, business owners, or other individuals involved
  • Name of the product involved and the date of purchase
  • Photographs of the accident (if available)
  • If police were called, have the name of investigating officer or the “DC number”
  • Names of key treating physicians, nurses, healthcare providers, and facilities
  • Key dates of treatment
  • Prior medical history
  • Current prognosis/condition
  • Employment status
  • Dates that you have been unable to work
  • Reliable contact information

What is medical malpractice?

In short, medical malpractice can be defined as substandard care that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient. Medical malpractice cases arise when a patient is harmed by a doctor, nurse, or any other healthcare professional who fails to provide proper treatment.

In the majority of cases, the medical malpractice or negligence involves a medical error in diagnosis, medication dosage, health management, treatment, or aftercare. The medical error may arise from an act or the failure to act (an omission).

Medical Malpractice cases provide an important patient safeguard against medical errors by motivating health care providers to provide the best care, providing teaching moments for other physicians, and often leading to policy and procedure changes that protect patient safety. Without these checks and balances against the healthcare industry, the quality of care we all receive would inevitably deteriorate.

What types of medical malpractice cases do you handle?

We believe every medical malpractice case is unique to the patient, the healthcare providers, and the errors or deviations that occurred.

However, most cases fall into one of the following categories:

  • Dosage error
  • Elder abuse
  • Failure to diagnose cancer
  • Failure to diagnose disease/infection
  • Medication error
  • Mistakes during labor or delivery
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Pain medication overdose
  • Plastic surgery error
  • Prescription error
  • Retained items post-surgery
  • Surgical error
  • Wrong-site surgery

What is the first thing I should do if I believe that I, or my loved one, have been harmed by medical malpractice?

If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by malpractice, the most pressing concern is the patient’s health and well-being, assuming they have not passed away. If you have lost a loved one, requesting an autopsy may be critical to investigating a medical malpractice case. Once the patient’s condition or situation is stabilized, you should contact an experienced attorney at Mincey Fitzpatrick Ross.

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