If you have been injured in a car accident in Pennsylvania, you are probably wondering how you will pay your medical bills and other expenses. You may have missed a significant amount of time from work, causing a major reduction in your income. If you pursue legal action against the driver who caused your injuries, can you expect to be reimbursed for these losses?
Factors That Impact Car Pennsylvania Accident Settlements
Every car accident claim is unique and presents its own types of damages. Damages are the losses that an injured claimant suffers in an accident. Damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- The cost of future medical care
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
- The cost of remodeling a home to accommodate an injury (such as installing a wheelchair ramp)
Other factors that impact the amount of a settlement include:
- The parties’ insurance policies
- Why and how the accident occurred
- Recent verdict amounts for similar claims in the same jurisdiction
Pennsylvania Insurance Laws
Pennsylvania is one of several states that follows a no-fault insurance model. With no-fault insurance models, a driver’s own insurance policy covers medical expenses and other costs up to the limits of that policy—regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
However, drivers have the ability to opt out of the no-fault insurance model in some cases. Insurance policies may not have enough coverage to fully compensate accident victims with certain types of injuries.
First, Pennsylvania drivers may select “limited tort” coverage. This type of policy allows injured claimants to pursue a claim for all medical treatment and other economic damages, but coverage for non-economic damages is generally not provided. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering.
However, if the claimant’s injuries meet the “serious injury” threshold, non-economic damages may be pursued. Serious injuries include permanent serious disfigurement or serious impairment of body function.
“Full tort” insurance coverage allows injured claimants to pursue legal action for all economic and non-economic damages after an accident.
Therefore, the type of policy a driver possesses has a major impact on a settlement amount.
Liability Also Impacts Settlement Numbers
Pennsylvania considers the liability of all parties in motor vehicle accident claims. An injured claimant’s recovery may be reduced in an amount that is proportionate to his own liability.
For example, consider a driver who was speeding as he approached an intersection. Another driver ran a red light and the two cars collided.
Although the second driver ran the red light, the first driver is determined to be 20 percent liable for his injuries because of his rate of speed. Therefore, if the driver was awarded $100,000, it would be reduced by $20,000.
How Do You Know if a Settlement is a Good Deal?
Settling a personal injury claim, whether it stems from a motor vehicle accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, bus accident, or other type of incident, is a stressful experience for most. However, hiring an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident ensures that your legal rights are protected throughout settlement negotiations.
The timing of a settlement is important. Your attorney will ensure that all of the relevant evidence has been gathered in your case before a settlement is even considered. For example, you may need an estimate on the cost of future medical care, such as surgery or physical therapy, before you have an understanding of what your claim is worth.
Insurance companies are notorious for pressuring injured accident victims to settle a claim for far less than it is worth. However, with an experienced attorney by your side, you should obtain the maximum amount of compensation available under Pennsylvania law.
Have You Been Injured? Contact Solnick & Associates Today
The Jenkintown, Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys at Solnick & Associates are experienced in all types of personal injury claims and are prepared to fight for what you deserve. Whether your case settles out of court or goes to trial, we have the skills and experience you need to obtain the best results possible. To schedule a free consultation with our team, contact us at (215) 481-9979 today.