A car accident can be physically, emotionally, and financially devastating. They can change a victim’s life in an instant. In the wake of such a traumatic event, you may expect your insurance company to come through for you.
Sadly, however, your insurer rarely has your best interests at heart. It may be up to you and your attorney to strengthen your accident claim. Doing so may give your insurer little reason to deny your claim.
Pennsylvania Car Accident Laws
The first step to strengthening your car accident claim is to know your state’s insurance laws. States follow either “at-fault” or “no-fault” insurance laws. In at-fault states, the insurance company for the driver who caused the car accident would pay for the damages that you sustain. Most states in the country follow at-fault insurance laws.
Pennsylvania, on the other hand, follows no-fault insurance laws. This means that your own insurance company will compensate you for damages after a car accident, even if the car accident was your fault.
There are two main types of no-fault insurance coverage, including limited tort and full tort:
- Limited tort: This limits your options to get financial compensation after an accident caused by another driver. You may seek damages for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses, but not for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
- Full tort: This gives you unlimited rights to recover compensation for injuries and other losses sustained in an accident caused by another driver. This coverage is more expensive than limited tort.
The compensation you may recover after an accident depends on the coverage you have. Pennsylvania requires drivers to carry the following coverage, at a minimum:
- $5,000 in medical benefits coverage
- $15,000 for bodily injury liability, per injured person
- $30,000 total bodily injury liability per accident
- $5,000 per occurrence property damage protection
If you carry the minimum insurance requirements, then the totals listed above will be the maximum amount you can recover after an accident. This is why it’s a good idea to consider buying more than the minimum coverage.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
While it may sound easier to recover compensation from your own insurer rather than someone else’s, this is rarely the case. Most insurance companies, whether they are yours or someone else’s, always put profit over people. This means that your insurer will do everything they can to deny or minimize your claim.
Taking these steps after a car accident can help improve your claim’s chance of success:
- Check to see if anyone requires medical attention. Call emergency medical services if this is the case.
- Exchange information. Even though Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state, it’s still smart to get the other driver’s contact, vehicle, and insurance information. Try to gather witnesses’ contact information as well.
- Seek medical treatment. Get care for all injuries, even those that seem minor. Some injuries do not present symptoms until weeks or months later. Retain all records of medical treatment as proof that you sustained harm in the crash.
- Obtain a copy of the police report. The responding officer’s report can contain key evidence to support your claim.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Qualified attorneys know how to negotiate with insurance adjusters. They can help you recover maximum possible compensation while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Gathering all of this evidence can seem overwhelming when you are focused on recovering from your injuries. That is why it’s a good idea to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can represent your best interests. The benefits of working with an attorney in this situation include the following:
- Your attorney will take the matter out of your hands while you focus on getting better. Any good attorney will also keep you updated throughout the process and respond to your calls and emails promptly.
- You will not pay anything out of your own pocket. Most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not owe your attorney any money unless they win money for you. Then, their fee will come out of the awarded amount. Nothing comes out of your own pocket.
- Having legal representation will likely get you more compensation. Studies have shown that those with legal representation recover significantly more compensation than those who go through the process on their own.
Immediately after a car accident, there is no telling the precise amount that you may owe in the future in terms of medical bills, lost wages, and more. That’s why it is in your best interest to do everything you can to recover as much compensation as possible now. You do not want to regret failing to do so later.
At Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., our personal injury attorneys have helped countless clients across Pennsylvania recover the compensation they deserve after auto accidents. We have a strong track record of success in doing so and we’re here to help you, too.
Call Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. at (844) 383-0565 to schedule a free consultation.