Richard J. Heleniak, Esq.

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Richard J. Heleniak is a Partner at Messa & Associates. He is a Trial Lawyer who represents injured persons and their families in complex personal injury cases involving medical malpractice; nursing home malpractice; defective products; professional malpractice including engineering, architectural and legal; construction workplace injuries; and civil rights violations. He has also represented individuals and small businesses in commercial disputes and insurance claims, including contract disputes, fire loss claims, business loss claims, and insurance bad faith.

About Mr. Heleniak

Mr. Heleniak is certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. As a successful trial lawyer, Mr. Heleniak has achieved significant awards and settlements for his clients including many in excess of one million dollars. He has been recognized by his peers as a top attorney in his field, having received an AV Preiminent Lawyer rating through Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings (highest rating available for Legal Ability and Ethical Standards) for thirteen consecutive years.

Mr. Heleniak is also a trained and experienced mediator and arbitrator, particularly in medical legal and personal injury matters , and is accepted as a neutral arbitrator in insurance arbitrations. He also serves as Judge Pro Tem for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, presiding over settlement conferences on behalf of the Court.

Mr. Heleniak is a volunteer with the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project, through which he provides pro bono legal representation and acts as legal guardian for children who have been abused.

Professional Achievements

Mr. Heleniak has been selected as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by the votes of his lawyer peers in each year from 2006 through 2009 and 2011 through 2020, and featured in Philadelphia Magazine. He's also been named to the New Jersey Super Lawyers list annually from 2013 to 2021. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which admits only those attorneys who have achieved verdicts and settlements for their clients in excess of one million dollars. He has been recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers organization.

Notable Victories

  • $2.15 Million verdict against the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania affirmed on appeal by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for the family of a young child who died as a result of injuries sustained at birth.
  • Confidential multi-million dollar settlement for a truck driver who sustained severe electrical burns when his dump trailer came in contact with electric utility lines.
  • $1.6 million dollar medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 62-year-old male client whose
    primary physicians deviated the standard of care by 1) failing to advise him of his high-risk factors for Prostate Cancer, and 2) failing to provide helpful prostate cancer screening. These failures resulted in a diagnosis of Stage IV Prostate Cancer with metastasis that is now, tragically, inoperable and incurable.
  • $1.4 million dollar recovery of lost profits and equipment costs for small business owners whose leased building was destroyed by fire which spread due to the failure of the building owners to comply with safety codes or to provide fire retardant and suppression equipment.
  • $1.3 Million Verdict in medical malpractice case regarding injuries sustained in a negligent gynecological surgery.
  • Multi-million dollar confidential settlement obtained from highway construction companies whose negligent management of a road construction site caused an incident in which a young man sustained a catastrophic head injury which resulted in cortical blindness.
  • $750,000 jury verdict for a New Jersey woman who was severely injured in a motor vehicle collision, whose injuries included a traumatic brain injury.
  • Seven figure confidential settlement for the family of 40 year old father who died as the result of complications following kidney donation surgery.
  • Confidential settlement for the family of a baby boy who died within moments of his birth due to negligence in the management of his mother’s labor and delivery by the hospital and the attending obstetrician.
  • Confidential settlement for a 32 year old New Jersey mother who suffered damage to her heart due to the failure of the hospital to timely diagnose and treat a post-partum heart attack.
  • Seven figure confidential settlement for the family of a Philadelphia woman who collapsed and died within hours of being discharged from the hospital where the signs of an impending cardiac event were not recognized or ignored.
  • Confidential seven figure settlement for a child injured at birth due to failure to timely diagnose and treat placental abruption.
  • Confidential six figure settlement for a woman who was fired from her job at a car dealership due to age and gender discrimination.
  • Confidential settlement for the family of a New Jersey nursing home resident who suffered bleeding in the brain as the result of the improper administration of blood-thinning medications at the nursing home.
  • Confidential settlement for a Delaware family resulting from the death of their wife and mother, whose family doctor failed to diagnose and treat her developing heart attack.
  • $450,000 jury verdict against a New Jersey bar to the family of a man who was injured in a one-vehicle motor vehicle accident after leaving the bar where he had been served alcohol even after he became visibly intoxicated.
  • $350,000 settlement for an 82 year old nursing home resident who suffered a broken leg when nursing home failed to provide her with proper and adequate assistance when transferring from a wheelchair to her bed.