Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Claims

October 20, 2022
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Claims

FAQ: What is a “personal injury” in the context of the law?

“Personal injury” is a term that refers to an injury to a person’s mind, body, or emotions that is the result of another person’s negligence or reckless behavior.

FAQ: What are some examples of personal injury accidents?

Personal injury may be the result of a car accident, slip and fall accident, motorcycle accident, medical malpractice, premises liability, defective product, construction accident, power line accident, dog bite, or another accident that was the result of negligence on the part of a person or entity.

FAQ: What is “medical malpractice”?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or health care professional is negligent, and this negligence results in significant harm to the patient. Medical negligence may be demonstrated by a failure to diagnose an illness or disease, a failure to properly advise a patient of the risks involved in medical treatment, or acting in error during surgery or other medical procedures. If an individual is harmed as the result of medical treatment — or lack of appropriate medical treatment — that individual may file a medical malpractice claim against a doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant, hospital, medical facility, or another medical professional who was involved in their care or treatment.  

FAQ: What are “compensatory damages” in a personal injury claim?

When an individual files a personal injury claim, they are seeking to recover compensatory damages, which refers to the losses an individual sustained as a result of the accident. Damages may include monetary losses such as medical expenses that are the result of treatment for the accident injuries, bills for doctor visits, hospital bills, the cost of rehabilitation, bills for physical therapy, diagnostic testing, and more. Damages may also include lost wages, lost sick time, lost vacation time, and loss of future earning capacity due to injuries. Non-monetary losses may include emotional pain and suffering and mental anguish. Compensatory damages are not intended to punish the at-fault party; they are designed to compensate the victim and restore them to the condition they were in prior to the accident.

FAQ: What is emotional pain and suffering in a personal injury case?

Emotional pain and suffering are something that results from a person’s physical bodily injuries. Emotional pain and suffering may include any of the following and more: mental anguish, anxiety, loss of life’s enjoyment, depression, emotional distress, anger, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Emotional pain and suffering refer to any type of negative emotion that is experienced by an accident victim, now and in the future, as a result of the physical injuries, pain, and trauma that they sustained in the accident.

FAQ: How are emotional pain and suffering calculated?

Unlike some other losses, emotional pain and suffering do not have an exact monetary value. To calculate this loss, the Pennsylvania courts consider several factors, including the severity of the injuries sustained, the permanence of the injuries, and other factors of the case.

FAQ: If I was partly at fault for my accident, can I still recover compensation?

When more than one party shares fault for an accident, Pennsylvania follows a “modified comparative negligence rule”. Under this rule, the level of compensation the accident victim is entitled to receive will be reduced by an amount that reflects their percentage of fault for the accident. If, however, the accident victim bears more than 50 percent of the blame for the accident, they may not recover any compensation from the other at-fault parties.

FAQ: Is there a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim? 

Yes. Every state has time limits regarding filing a civil claim after suffering some form of harm. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the time the accident occurred. If your lawsuit is not filed before this deadline runs out, the Pennsylvania courts will likely refuse to hear your case. Once this happens, your opportunity to recover compensation for the injuries you sustained will have been lost.

FAQ: Are all types of car accidents covered under personal injury law?

Yes. In Pennsylvania, all types of car accidents — wrong-way accidents, rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, T-bone accidents, and fender benders — are covered under personal injury law, provided the car accident is caused by negligence.

FAQ: Is there any paperwork that is necessary for filing a personal injury claim? 

Usually, yes. In most cases, the person filing the personal injury claim must provide medical records that demonstrate the injuries sustained, medical bills that reflect the costs that were incurred as a result of the accident, evidence of lost earnings, and other documentation that supports the personal injury claim.

FAQ: How many personal injury cases go to trial? 

Most personal injury cases actually do not go to trial. Some studies estimate that only two to five percent of personal injury cases go to trial. The majority of personal injury cases are resolved prior to trial, most often through a negotiated settlement between the parties. 

FAQ: How long does it take to settle a personal injury case? 

The length of time to settle a personal injury case really depends on the specifics of the claim. This includes the severity of the injuries, if there is a dispute over the damages, if more than one party is responsible for the accident, and other factors. For an assessment regarding your personal injury case, arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of the personal injury attorneys at Baldwin Matzus, LLC today.

FAQ: How do I know if I have the basis for a personal injury claim?

If you have been injured in an accident that was the result of another person or entity’s negligence, and you are wondering if you have the basis for a personal injury claim, it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Personal injury claims must satisfy the legal definition of negligence and proving fault can be difficult. At Baldwin Matzus, LLC, our skilled personal injury attorneys offer a free case evaluation. Schedule your free consultation with a member of our team today.

The articles on this blog are for informational purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.


Baldwin Matzus Were
Incredibly Professional and Dedicated —
They Made Me Feel Like We Were a Team.


your team

Attorney Kila Baldwin
Jason Matzus
Joseph Froetschel
Laura Phillips
attorney image

Case Results

109M —
Electrocution Accident
80M —
Defective Product
57.1M —
Defective Product
more case results

* As to the case results mentioned above, attorney Kila Baldwin co-led the trial team at her prior firm that obtained these verdicts.

American Association for Justice
National Trial Lawyers - Top 100
Super Lawyers