Avoiding the Pitfalls that Can Harm — or Doom — Your Pennsylvania Personal Injury Case
There are many things that can harm your slip-and-fall injury case. Sometimes, some of those things don’t have anything to do with the facts of your case. Your case can get derailed due to non-compliance with procedural rules. Your case can also run into trouble for other things like a failure to provide discovery materials mandated by the court. All of these things highlight how there is more to your case than the facts, and the odds of achieving success can be enhanced by retaining the services of a skilled Pennsylvania premises liability attorney.
Recently, a plaintiff named Ruben found himself in such a situation. Ruben filed a premises liability lawsuit as a result of the injuries he suffered in a slip-and-fall accident. During the preliminary phase of the case, in which each side exchanges information with the other (which is called the “discovery phase”), the defense asked for copies of Ruben’s medical records. Ruben, however, didn’t send those records to the defense, even after a second request. The trial judge threw out Ruben’s case entirely as a sanction for failing to provide the defense with properly requested materials.
The Superior Court threw out that dismissal, which gave Ruben a renewed opportunity to pursue his case. That court explained a strong rule in Pennsylvania law, which is that, since dismissal is the severest of sanctions, it should only be used for the most egregious examples of misconduct.
In this case, Ruben’s errors simply were not extreme enough. He simply failed to provide complete responses to two discovery requests. When a party doesn’t respond (or doesn’t respond completely) to your requests for information, you have the option to ask the judge to issue an order compelling the other side to comply. If the other side doesn’t comply with a judge’s order, that is a much more serious transgression than simply providing an incomplete response to a request made to you by the other side. In Ruben’s case, not only was there no order from the judge, but also the other side had not even made a motion asking the judge to enter an order compelling Ruben to provide the desired information.
Additionally, the severe penalty of having your case dismissed often involves proof that you acted in bad faith or intentionally withheld the requested information. There was no proof of that in Ruben’s case. All of these factors pointed toward the conclusion that the injured man’s shortcomings were not severe enough to warrant throwing out his case.
Ruben was able to get his action revived, but his case demonstrates how important each aspect of a case can be. Whether it is discovery, the filing of pleading documents, or making motions, each element of your case can be what dooms your case or puts you on the path to success. To make sure that you have all of your I’s dotted and T’s crossed, reach out to the experienced Pennsylvania premises liability attorneys at Needle Law Firm. Our team can offer you the determined representation to get you the results you need.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 570-344-1266.