The dedicated legal team of Caputo & Mariotti
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
Helping Clients in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, Pittston, Dickson City, and Throughout PA
If you have been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligent behavior, you may be concerned about your future. With medical bills piling up and with no form of income, you may be frustrated, lost, and not sure what your next steps should be. Should you sue for compensation? Will the settlement offer from the insurance company pay your bills? Will you ever get to work again?
If you are currently looking for answers to these questions, you’re going to need help from an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side to help you through this difficult process. For decades, Caputo & Mariotti has been recognized as one of Northeastern Pennsylvania's premier personal injury law firms and represents personal injury victims throughout Pennsylvania.
We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't have to pay anything if we fail to get you the compensation that you deserve following an accident. With only two years to file your personal injury claim, your time may be running out, and our Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers are waiting. The sooner you call us, the quicker we can get to work, gathering and protecting evidence while starting the negotiation process with those involved with your accident.
About Caputo & Mariotti
As a regional boutique law firm here in Northeastern Pennslyvania, Caputo & Mariotti handles a wide variety of legal matters, with an emphasis on personal injury and class action claims. Led by Principals Joseph E. Mariotti and Christopher P. Caputo, our personal injury law firm is dedicated to providing aggressive representation for their clients, regardless of the caseload they are currently handling.
Our client’s wellbeing is our number one goal and priority at Caputo & Mariotti. We know that no two claims are ever the same and this is why we provide top-of-the-line personal legal guidance to each of our clients. Each step of a case involves different guidance and advice that our lawyers can educate and inform you of the necessary processes and next steps.
Our team of personal injury lawyers meets with respected and educated experts to assist with each case’s preparations. By working closely with doctors, pharmacists, forensic specialists, mechanics, and more, we can develop and negotiate the best settlement for your case. The lawyers at Caputo & Mariotti invite these experts to your trial to provide precise and professional testimonies.
We urge you to check out our recent verdicts and settlements to get a better understanding of how we can help your claim. Our team has successfully been awarded tens of millions of dollars in disclosed settlement to date. We work on a contingency basis, meaning that we won’t get a single dollar unless your case is successful. Place your claim and your trust in our experienced hands so you can get the justice you deserve.
What is Considered a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim occurs when one party is harmed or injured from a negligent act caused by another individual or entity. For example, you get into a car accident with a drunk driver. The accident causes serious injuries and property damage.
In the case above, you will be filing a claim against the other party’s insurance company to pay any medical bills, property damages, lost wages, and other damages like pain and suffering or loss of consortium.
There are two outcomes to a personal injury claim:
- Settlement. This occurs in the majority of personal injury claims and can even occur before a lawsuit is even filed.
- A Lawsuit. If a settlement cannot be reached, the injured party can file a civil complaint against the other party or the parties responsible for the injuries.
In Pennsylvania, personal injury claims must be followed within two years from the time of an accident.
Unlike a criminal case, the burden of proof is rather low since these cases are focused more on compensating the plaintiff for their injuries. However, you need to show the injuries you received were caused by the defendant’s negligence.
The Types of Personal Injury Cases
Various incidents of negligence can fall under personal injury litigation. Here are a few examples of personal injury that Caputo & Mariotti handle.
It is the duty of every driver on the road to operate their vehicle in a responsible manner. However, this is not always the case. According to the latest data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 209 persons are injured in reportable crashes each day, about 9 injuries every hour, and 3 people lose their lives in traffic crashes.
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, which means each driver’s insurance will be responsible for paying the medical bills following an accident, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. However, if your accident causes a serious or severe injury, you do have the option to pursue the party responsible for the accident for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Because of the no-fault system, it can be difficult to try and get compensation on your own, even with your own insurance company. It’s important to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer to understand your options so you can receive full benefits following a crash.
Product liability claims, or more commonly known as defective products, are claims filed by the consumer to hold manufacturers and sellers responsible for a dangerous or defective product that has caused an injury. According to Pennsylvania law, a manufacturer or seller can be held responsible if the product has a defect in either the design of the product or an error that arose during the manufacturing phase.
Product liability claims also cover defective or dangerous drugs that the manufacturer purposely knew the dangers of and yet rushed the medication or device to market. An example of this would be Zantac. Studies have shown for decades that the popular heartburn drug had contained toxic levels of a cancerous contaminant in some formations of Zantac. Yet the manufacturer continued to keep the medicine on the market.
Every day, we put our health into the hands of medical professionals and institutions, trusting them to protect us from harm and cure our illnesses. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. According to recent data, 1 in 20 patients is subjected to medical errors annually with approximately 12% of those preventable errors resulting in “prolonged, permanent disability,” or death.
When medical malpractice occurs, the results can be catastrophic for you and your family, resulting in more medical bills to reverse the damage that was done. The most common forms of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis; failure to treat; prescription drug errors; surgical or procedural errors; and birth injuries.
Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect
Unfortunately, nursing home abuse has been ignored for decades. Yet recent events have opened our eyes. With over 14 million people living in nursing homes in the United States, it’s difficult to ascertain just how many residents are facing harm by overworked staff members. Many are afraid to speak up, either because they’re embarrassed by the abuse or they’re afraid it will just get worse.
To prove nursing home neglect or abuse, you will need to gather as much evidence as possible. Take photos of injuries, save medical reports, and keep a journal of any concerns you may have about abuse. Make sure you inform the nursing facility about your concerns. And, if the abuse continues and nothing is done, turn to a nursing home abuse attorney to help you with the next steps.
Premises Liability Claims
It is the responsibility of a business owner or company to keep the premises of their land safe for any visitors who come on the property. If the owner or company fails in the duty, the injured party does have the ability to file a premises liability claim for any injuries received on the property. But many business owners will fight your claim by saying the accident was caused by your own negligence. This is why it's important to have an experienced lawyer by your side to show the dangers on the property caused by your injuries.
Although many think of slip and fall accidents when speaking of premises liability, other types of accidents also include animal bites; negligent or inadequate security; dangerous property conditions; and swimming pool injuries.
According to Pennsylvania law, when you are injured while on the job, you can receive compensation from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance no matter who is at fault for the accident. Even if you slip in a puddle after spilling a glass of water, your injuries are covered under the 1915 Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.
However, employers fail to realize the responsibility belongs to them and will either ignore or refuse to file your claim. And with workers’ comp claims extremely complex, it’s important to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure your claim will not go ignored. If the injury had resulted in a disability that prevents you from returning to work, we will discuss your options and help you fill out the proper forms to receive Social Security disability benefits.
When a loved one dies because of someone else’s negligence, not only will you have to deal with the pain and grief of that loss but you’ll have to deal with the financial burden that comes with it. This is a time you need to figure out how to continue on, not fight another party in court following a negligent act.
Our caring and compassionate wrongful death attorneys will take the time to work with you during this difficult time. We understand the pain and anger you and your family must feel and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure you get the compensation your family deserves to move forward.
Why You Shouldn’t Deal With The Insurance Company on Your Own
Following your accident, the other party’s insurance company will be calling you to try and settle as soon as possible. Whatever you do, don’t accept the first offer. You need to remember that the insurance company is trying to protect its bottom line and will resist any attempts you make to get your claim paid what it’s worth.
When dealing with the insurance adjuster, you may face the following tactics:
- The adjuster will try to provide you a quick settlement offer in exchange for signing a liability waiver that states you give up the option to recover additional damages at a later date.
- The insurance company may question the severity of your injuries, especially if you didn’t seek medical treatment immediately following your accident.
- The adjuster may find that you are either partially or entirely at fault for the accident to avoid paying the full sum.
The insurance company will do everything it can to avoid paying the full claim. Your best option is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney from Caputo & Mariotti to handle the insurance company for you.
How Do You Prove Your Personal Injury Claim?
In personal injury claims, you will need to prove the other driver’s negligence by proving the following:
The party responsible for the injury owed the victim a duty of care. Duty of care is the legal obligation of each individual while performing acts that could harm others. For example, we all have a responsibility to drive a vehicle in a safe and responsible manner every time we get behind the wheel.
The defendant was not careful at the time of the accident. This is also called breaching the duty of care. Examples of breaching the duty of care include texting and driving, speeding, or exhibiting signs of aggressive driving behavior.
The defendant’s conduct had caused your injuries. Because the defendant failed in their duty of care, their behavior caused your injuries. Using the drunk driver example from above, because the driver was drinking while operating a vehicle, this caused the accident.
As a result of the injuries, you had suffered a loss. Because you were severely injured following the accident, you suffered a type of loss, such as lost wages or earning capacity, property damages, or pain and suffering.
Knowing what is needed to prove your claim, there are a few things you or your family members can do in order to strengthen the personal injury claim:
- Receive medical treatment as soon as possible following the accident.
- Obtain the contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the action.
- Write as many details as possible about the event as you can remember. Be sure to include how you were injured, what happened immediately afterward, and what the long-term results were, including lost wages or continuing medical treatment.
- Try to get photographic evidence, if you're able.
- Note any conversations you had with anyone else involved in the accident, as well as any police or doctor’s reports.
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer.
How Much is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?
One of the main questions we receive from potential clients is how personal injury claims are calculated. And the answer is it can change from case to case, depending on a number of circumstances, such as:
- The severity of your injuries. Did you just break a couple of bones or was the injury something that will last your entire life? Knowing how severe your injuries are following the accident allow us to calculate how much your medical bills may be in the future.
- The difficulty of proving your case. Was the evidence clearly in your favor? Or is it a little murky as to what happened? The harder it is to prove your claim, the harder it will be to get a large settlement.
- The insurance coverage. If the other party has little to no insurance at the time of the accident, the chances of getting the compensation your claim is worth are slim.
Another important factor in figuring out the amount owed in a personal injury claim is whether you had any fault in the accident. In Pennsylvania personal injury claims, the court will use something called “comparative negligence” when figuring out how much compensation to award someone. Comparative negligence has two outcomes: 1) the plaintiff has been found to be at least 50% responsible for the accident resulting in the injury; 2) if the defendant is found at least 51% responsible for the accident.
If the plaintiff is found at least 50% responsible for the accident, the compensation will either be drastically reduced or thrown out entirely. This is why it’s so important to speak with an attorney about your personal injury claim, to learn if you have a claim and know how much it’s worth.
Damages in a Personal Injury Case
If the court does find you in favor you will be awarded damages. In tort law, there are two types of damages -- compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages refer to the amount of money intended to compensate you for any losses you suffered because of the accident. There are two types of compensatory damages -- economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include any financial losses you may have suffered following the injury. These include:
- Medical bills: Any medical care you received following your accident falls under this category. This not only includes emergency room visits and doctor bills but also lab tests, hospital stays, and outpatient care. It can also include and ongoing or future medical care you may receive, especially if you have permanent injuries.
- Lost wages: If you had to miss any work following your accident, even if it’s just taking a sick day to visit the doctor. If your injuries are severe enough and you are unable to work in the near future, you could be compensated.
- Property damage: For example, you get into a severe car accident that totals your vehicle. You should be compensated for the loss of your vehicle.
- Death expenses: If your loved one dies in the accident, the family can receive compensation to ease the financial burdens such as leftover bills, funeral expenses, and any lost income.
Non-economic damages are a little harder to calculate since they refer to non-monetary consequences you had to deal with following the accident. This includes, but are not limited to:
- Pain and suffering: There are two types of pain and suffering -- physical and mental. Physical refers to the pain you’ve experienced caused by your injuries. Mental pain can include anger, depression, fear, and emotional distress.
- Emotional distress: This is related to both your mental and emotional state following the accident. Many personal injury victims suffer from anxiety, depression, and sometimes post-traumatic stress disorder. You will need to present records from a therapist or psychiatrist followed by a diagnosis of your condition.
- Loss of consortium: Following your accident, you and your loved one can no longer be intimate with each other, you may be eligible for compensation for loss of companionship.
Punitive damages are rare in personal injury claims but they do occur. These are meant to punish the defendant for their actions in a way to prevent this behavior from happening again. An example of this would be getting into an accident with a drunk driver who caused a fatality. In this case, the defendant had made a conscious decision to engage in behavior that harmed another person.
The Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Following an accident that caused an injury, you may be hesitant to speak with a personal injury lawyer. Maybe you’re afraid your case is not worth pursuing or you’re worried the attorney will be too expensive. But there are several reasons why hiring a personal injury lawyer can only strengthen your claim and get you the compensation you will deserve.
When choosing whether or not to hire a lawyer for your claim, keep these benefits in mind:
The Value of Your Claim
Although you may have an idea, chances are you’re not sure how much your claim is truly worth. So when the insurance company proposes a settlement, you’re not going to know whether it will cover all your expenses. And although you can find online personal injury settlement calculators online to give you a rough idea, it still won’t be the final value of your settlement.
However, a personal injury lawyer will know exactly how much your settlement is worth, thanks to years of experience. Once you hire our personal injury lawyer, we will take a look at your damages and give you a value of what your claim should be. We also understand how insurance companies work so we know how to negotiate to get you how much your claim is worth.
An Attorney Has the Resources
As mentioned previously, you will need to prove your claim is valid and that requires evidence. But if you were seriously injured, you may not have been able to collect the proof immediately after the accident.
A personal injury attorney has many resources available to get the evidence needed to prove your claim. With a network of medical experts, accident reconstructionists, and former police personnel, we can get the information needed to prove your claim.
A Lawyer Knows the Legal Process
Although the majority of personal injury claims end in a settlement, there is always the off chance that negotiations will break down. This will leave you with two choices -- going to court or settling for a less than optimal amount.
At Caputo & Mariotti, we always stress you should never go to court without a lawyer. The legal process can be quite complex, and if it’s your first time in a courtroom, it can be intimidating. Our personal injury lawyers will represent you inside and outside the court, doing whatever we can to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
What to Do and Not to Do Following an Accident
You just got into an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness. You received a severe injury that majorly impacts your life. What can you do that will help your claim?
What your next steps are crucial for the success of your case. Not only is it important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer, but here are a few things you can do to protect your claim:
- Do not admit fault to anyone. This includes emergency personnel, the other party, any witnesses, medical professionals, and especially the insurance company.
- Get medical treatment immediately following the accident and any follow-ups that are required by your physician.
- Remember to document anything pertaining to your case. This includes a record of your medical treatments, any complications that come with your injuries, and any unexpected bills you received following the accident.
- Provide your attorney with any documentation that will help with your claim including the police report, insurance documents, photographs, and videos.
- Do not speak with the insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first.
The Personal Injury Case Process
Following your accident, your first step is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you only suspect that you received an injury, you should visit a medical professional. This is an important step to take since the insurance adjuster may assume you weren’t injured as seriously as you claim.
Once you are healthy enough, your next step is to call Caputo & Mariotti to schedule a free consultation. During your appointment, our lawyers will discuss the accident, your injuries, and any medical treatment. Be honest, even if you feel you may have been responsible for the accident.
After the consultation, we will obtain your medical records and any bills that are related to your injury. This could take some time because we want to make sure we have all information so you may not hear from our office for a few months.
Once we have the facts of the case, we will contact you to let you know whether we believe the claim can be settled. Our personal injury attorneys will then contact the other party's insurance company or attorney and try to negotiate a settlement.
The negotiation process will not begin until you’ve completed all your medical treatments and your injuries have healed as much as possible. This is called maximum medical improvement, or MMI. It’s best to wait for this point of your recovery because then we’ll know how much your claim is worth.
If the settlement talks stall or we cannot reach an agreement, the case will move to the litigation phase. We will file a lawsuit in court and begin gathering more evidence. This includes taking depositions from witnesses, making document requests, and interviewing accident experts about your case. The discovery phase can take several months, even up to a year.
With this information, we will return to the negotiation table to see if a settlement can be reached again. If a settlement still can't be reached, then your claims move to trial. Depending on the complexity of your claim, the trial can last anywhere from a day to a week to months.
If the judge finds in favor of your claim, you could receive financial compensation for your medical expenses, loss of income, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Personal injuries can cause permanent disabilities, financial losses, and a greatly reduced quality of life. Lawsuits cannot repair the harm you may have suffered, but they can help you obtain the financial losses you may have experienced following the accident. Settlement offers can pay for medical treatment, replace lost income and property, and provide security for both you and your family for years to come.
Remember the insurance company is not there to make friends -- it is trying to get the lowest possible settlement available. Do not take the first settlement it offers.
If you or your loved one have been seriously injured, do not delay any longer. The clock is ticking. Call Caputo & Mariotti's Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at (570) 342-9999, or use our online contact form to contact us now for a FREE Consultation.