Highly Experienced Pittsburgh Car Accident Lawyers
For More than 40 Years, We’ve Been Helping Car Accident Victims Recover Compensation
When you’ve been severely injured in a car crash, you will need significant compensation to account for your losses, from property damage to lost wages to medical expenses. Even if you think your injuries are “minor,” they may become more serious over time. After an accident, high levels of adrenaline in your body block your pain receptors from perceiving the true scope of the injury. Additionally, soft tissues and muscles are easily damaged and may not always heal correctly.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney After a Car Accident
All drivers are required to carry car insurance (or risk facing expensive fines). As a “no-fault” insurance state, Pennsylvania drivers must have a plan that will cover their injuries regardless of who caused an accident. This system is meant to simplify the process of receiving medical care after a bad crash.
However, even filing an insurance claim isn’t a sure way to receive the funds you need. If you’ve been left with a catastrophic spinal cord injury, for example, you may become paraplegic and require lifelong care. Such assistance is likely to exceed the average driver’s car insurance limits, which usually cap damages at $50,000 to $100,000.
To make matters more complicated, insurers often reject first claims or significantly lower your first estimate. This is a negotiation strategy, as insurers know injury victims are desperate for help and may accept the first offer they get. By working with an attorney from the start of your case, you will signal to both the insurance company and the other driver that you are serious. Our experienced negotiators will also strive to get you a better deal on your car accident claim, whether your accident involved a motorcycle, semi-truck, or bus.
What Are My Next Steps After a Car Accident?
Once you get into a car accident, it’s easy to be overwhelmed: After all, you’ve just endured an incredibly traumatic experience, and you may suffer from PTSD, which can affect memory. However, after you’ve pulled to the side of the road safely, there are a few steps you should be taking to ensure you have a solid insurance claim later.
- Avoid apologies. It may be tempting to say “sorry” in the chaos of a crash but avoid the temptation. Anything you say during the accident may be used against you later when you file a lawsuit.
- Visit a doctor. Whether you’re headed to the ER in an ambulance or driving yourself to the nearest urgent care center, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, no matter how minor they seem. This establishes your medical record of injury and shows that you suffered enough to seek medical help immediately.
- Call the cops. Even if you don’t think it’s necessary, calling the police to file an official report will help you during the claims process, as it establishes a public record of the events leading up to the crash.
- Keep track of expenses. The minute you start paying for medical expenses, property damage, and other losses, keep track of everything you buy. You should also request your full medical record from the hospitals and care providers you visit throughout the claims process, as they are obligated to give you these documents under HIPAA.
- Call an attorney. Once your condition is stable, seek immediate counsel with your personal injury lawyer, preferably one experienced in car accident law. Without representation, you may not be able to get adequate compensation for your losses.
Reach out to our team if you need help after a car accident. You can call us any time at (844) 383-0565.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents
What Types of Insurance Claim Can I Make After a Car Accident?
Because Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, you will make a claim with your own medical benefits coverage for healthcare-related costs. Property damage, however, will go through the at-fault party’s insurance.
Do I Need to File a Police Report?
You must file an accident report with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation if:
- The accident was not already investigated by police and
- anyone was injured or killed OR
- any vehicle needed to be towed from the scene, either for safety reasons or due to the scope of the damage.
When Can I File a Lawsuit for Car Accident Injuries?
If your damages are not fully covered by your medical benefits coverage, you may be able to file a lawsuit. The damages you can recover will depend on which type of insurance you have: full tort or limited tort.
With full tort coverage, which is the standard, you may sue for tangible expenses as well as non-economic damages such as “pain and suffering.”
With limited tort coverage, you may only sue for tangible expenses unless your injuries meet a certain standard. In cases of death, serious impairment, or permanent disfigurement, you may also be able to sue for non-economic damages.
What If the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
When you are injured and/or face property damage in an accident where the at-fault party does not have insurance, you will need to use your own uninsured/underinsured motorists’ coverage. Our attorneys can advise you through filing your claim and negotiating your settlement.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in PA?
In Pennsylvania, you have two years to bring any “action to recover damages for injuries to the person or for the death of an individual,” including any caused during a car accident. However, when negotiating with insurance companies, you may need to meet their deadlines instead. These typically require you to take action much more quickly—you may have only a few months to seek out and negotiate a settlement.