Pittsburgh Car Accident Lawyers
Nearly 40 Years of experience on your side
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 that your injuries are “minor,” these could quickly become more serious over time. This is because your adrenaline is high after an accident, blocking your pain receptors from the true scope of the injury. Additionally, soft tissues and muscles are easily damaged and may not always heal correctly over time.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney After a Car Accident
All drivers are required to carry car insurance (or risk facing fees and fines.) This insurance protects at-fault drivers from having to pay out-of-pocket for the other driver’s injuries, as the state of Pennsylvania allows drivers to have a “no-fault” insurance plan.
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 assistance. These costs often far exceed the limits of the average driver’s car insurance plan, which typically only accounts for $50,000 to $100,000 in coverage.
To make matters more complicated, insurers often reject first claims or significantly lower your first estimate. This is a negotiation strategy, as insurers know that injury victims are desperate for help and may choose 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 expert negotiators will also strive to get you a better deal on your car accident claim.
What Should I Do If I Got Into 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 the lingering effects of 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 claim for injuries.
- 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.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in PA?
Every state handles car accident claims a little differently, so it’s important to be mindful of the changing deadlines and shifting timelines when you file a claim. In Pennsylvania, you have two years to bring an “action to recover damages for injuries to the person or for the death of an individual,” and this also applies in car accident cases.
However, if you are negotiating with the insurance companies rather than filing a lawsuit, you may need to meet their deadlines instead. These are typically much shorter than the statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits, allowing you only a few months to seek out and negotiate a settlement.