Auto Accident Attorneys
Victims of car accidents in Pennsylvania may be eligible for a range of benefits that cover damages for monetary as well as non-monetary losses.
Types of Auto Accidents
Because of their size, speed, and efficiency, bicycles are often used to commute to different places. However, bicyclists that are involved in traffic accidents are often seriously injured or killed for those very same reasons. The benefits of biking are best enjoyed by also paying attention to what could go wrong and taking whatever steps you can to stay safe.
Bus accidents usually involve many people, which can make an accident claim more complex than a car accident claim. Make sure to contact a lawyer who understands the complexities of both, so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.
There is an unfortunate new trend today for many auto accidents to be caused by distracted driving. Distracted driving accidents can happen when the driver is paying attention to anything other than the road ahead and their driving skills. Take necessary precautions when getting behind the wheel so that you can stay as safe as possible.
Motorcycle accidents are likely to cause serious, even fatal, injuries, especially if they involve a collision with another vehicle. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation to help you cover expenses related to pain and suffering or medical bills.
A pedestrian accident can often mean head injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones and lacerations, as well as death. All of these present a significant expense to victims and their families, and a pedestrian accident lawyer can help assure that victims are getting the compensation they deserve.
Every year, approximately 4,000 people are killed nationally in commercial trucking accidents that are the result of intoxicated or distracted driving, sleepy truckers, or defective trucks. If you’ve been in a truck accident, contact a lawyer who will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After a Car Accident
There are several things that need to happen after a car accident. Here are a few things to get you started:
- Move the vehicle(s) to a safe area (if possible).
- Make sure no one is hurt.
- Call the police.
- Gather important information, including:
- Driver and passenger names
- License plate numbers
- Insurance info
- Makes and models of all vehicles involved
- Contact info for any eyewitnesses
- Location of the accident
- The name and badge number of any responding police officers
- Take pictures of the accident.
- File an insurance claim.
If the accident was caused by the negligent or reckless driving of another motorist, you may be eligible for compensatory damages & non-compensatory damages.
Broadly, you can claim:
- Medical expenses – These can include all kinds of medical expenses that are related to the treatment of your injuries including hospitalization, surgical costs, doctor fees, as well as medication costs. You may also be eligible for therapy and rehabilitation costs that are incurred after you are released from the hospital.
- Disability and Disfigurement – If the injury has resulted or will result in long-term disability, debilitation or disfigurement, you may be eligible for compensation for related expenses too. For instance, a person who has suffered a spinal cord fracture may suffer from partial or complete paralysis, and may be looking at spending the rest of his life dependent on the care of others. This person’s claim must cover not just immediate medical expenses, but also the costs of 24-hour medical care, as well as any future medical expenses.
- Emotional Distress – Victims of car accidents are known to suffer from emotional distress, or post traumatic stress disorder, after the accident. Dealing with insurance companies, medical bills, and any resulting injuries will surely take it’s toll on anyone. Loss of wages and costs of medical aid can be recovered with the help of a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer.
- Lost Wages – After any accident, you will be required to take several days, weeks or even months off work, while you recuperate. Damages for lost wages are meant to compensate for these losses.
A spouse can also claim compensation for the loss of household support like the inability of the injured person to contribute to household tasks.
These damages are more difficult to calculate, and are typically awarded to the victim in order to teach a lesson to the defendant. In other words, non-compensatory damages, also known as punitive damages, are awarded not to compensate the victim, but to deter other persons from the behavior of the defendant.
Car Accident FAQs
What is the statute of limitations for auto accidents in Pennsylvania?
The statute of limitations is the time that you have to file a legal claim after a car accident. In Pennsylvania, personal injury actions (including auto accident cases) must be filed within two years of the date when the injury occurred. For car crashes, this will mean that a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the accident, or it will be dismissed.
There are special rules for unemancipated minors (persons under the age of 18 who are not completely supporting themselves) in Pennsylvania. Other than for wrongful death lawsuits, these minors have until two years after their 18th birthdays to file an action for an auto accident. If the minor is emancipated — fully self-supporting — then he or she is subject to the same two year statute of limitations as adults.
Finally, if an auto accident case involves a claim against a government, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or any city or county, then the victim must follow different rules. Before a lawsuit can be filed, a victim must first a notice of intent to sue within six months of the accident. The legal action must then be filed within two years of the auto accident.
Can I recover compensation even if I was partially at fault for the accident?
Yes. In Pennsylvania, courts follow the rule of comparative negligence . A victim of an auto accident can still recover damages from another person involved in the accident, as long as the other person is found to be more at fault than the victim.
When personal injury lawsuits go to trial, juries must assign fault for all of the injuries among the parties in the lawsuit. This is done by percentage. For example, in a case where a victim/plaintiff suffered $100,000 in damages in an auto accident, the jury may determine that the plaintiff was 45% at fault while the defendant was 55% at fault. In that case, the plaintiff can still recover from the defendant because he was assessed a higher percentage of fault. However, the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault. In this case, the plaintiff would recover just $55,000.
Comparative negligence can be a complex rule, particularly when there are multiple parties involved in a lawsuit. A skilled Philadelphia auto accident attorney can help you determine if you may be able to recover for your injuries.
How do I get a rental car after a crash?
There are three possible ways to obtain a rental car after a Pennsylvania auto accident. First, if you have rental car coverage as part of your car insurance, it should cover the cost of a rental car after you are in an accident. Second, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may pay for your rental car while your vehicle is repaired. This does not always happen, and the other insurance company is generally not required to pay for your rental car.
However, paying for your rental car may save them money by enabling you to get your vehicle fixed more quickly. If you don’t have rental car coverage on your on insurance policy, this may be an option. Third, if neither insurance company will voluntarily pay for your rental car, you should obtain the rental car yourself. This expense will then be included in your total damages as a result of the accident, as your need for a rental car is a result of the other driver’s negligence.
Should I accept a check from the other driver or the other driver’s insurance company?
No — at least not without consulting an experienced Philadelphia auto accident attorney . Insurance companies are for-profit entities, and their job isn’t to make sure that you get as much money as possible — but to reduce their own costs. They typically try to settle cases for as little as possible. If you accept a check from the other driver or his or her insurance company without talking to a lawyer, you will likely be giving up your legal rights and the ability to recover the full amount of compensation that you deserve.
It may be tempting to accept a check so that you can move forward with your life and avoid dealing with a complicated legal process. Yet this check is just the first offer. A knowledgeable auto accident attorney can negotiate or litigate a payment that more fully compensates you for your losses. At a minimum, you should make sure that you seek medical treatment and get an estimate of your property damages so that you can get a more accurate estimation of your losses. You should also consult with a seasoned Philadelphia auto accident attorney before signing any legal documents, as doing do will likely waive your right to sue.
Pennsylvania Car Crash Statistics
The Pennsylvania car accident lawyers at Solnick & Associates, LLC represent victims of car accidents across Pennsylvania.