Some of Philadelphia’s Finest Accident Lawyers Helping Injured Car Crash Victims
The veteran car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky specialize in helping injured victims, and sadly, we have witnessed a variety of ways that unexpected injuries can upend lives. We believe in a proper defense for victims injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of others. Additionally, we strive to professionally defend a victim’s rights while fighting for the best possible compensation that covers the losses resulting from an accident.
TYPES OF ACCIDENTS WE CAN HELP WITH
When many people hear the words “car crash,” they envision two cars colliding. But the reality is car wrecks can involve one to dozens of cars. And the other vehicles do not have to be cars, they can be motorcycles, or trucks, or emergency vehicles. It might even involve a bicycle or pedestrian. Some of the more common car crashes are:
Steps to Take Immediately Following an Accident
A car crash is disorienting and traumatic, to say the least. The sound of crunching metal and breaking glass are a nightmare come true. But if it happens to you, what should you do? The answer to this question is important because the steps you take after a car accident may very well impact your chances of filing a valid claim.
You can preserve, or risk, your rights to a proper compensation for the accident depending on the actions you take. So, there are a number of do’s and don’ts to follow after a car wreck and below you will find some recommendations that are useful to know if you do find yourself involved in a car crash.
CALL THE EMERGENCY SERVICES
It will come as common sense for most people, but if someone has been hurt and needs medical attention, the first thing to do is call 911. Get help for those who have been hurt and follow the instructions of the first responders as best as possible.
If you have been hurt, you should also get medical attention. Your injuries are important, too, and you need to get the medical attention necessary for your injuries, even the minor wounds. And keep in mind that medical attention may be needed after you leave the accident scene. It is not uncommon for some injuries to worsen with time, after you leave the accident. If this is the case, get medical attention as soon as possible. Remember that not only do you need to get the proper treatment, but a medical professional is capable of documenting the injuries you received, which is helpful when filing a claim.
After you get yourself and all others the medical attention they need, you must collect information. This can be hard given the upsetting nature of car accidents, but it is a vital step. One of the more important steps is document all the vehicles involved in the accident, and it is common for wrecks to involve more than just two vehicles. So, get as much information as you can about each, and some examples of the information you want to get from everyone involved in the crash include:
- Driver’s names,
- License plate numbers,
- Contact information, and
- Insurance information.
You need to get as much information as possible about each vehicle involved in the accident and the passengers. Even if it appears there was no damage to one of the vehicles or injuries to the occupants, collect their information. And note the things that jump out at you about the other vehicles like a company name on the side of the truck, or a missing license plate on motorcycle.
Another important step is to take note if there were witnesses of bystanders to the crash. If there were, then get their names and find out what they saw. Their vantage point may have allowed them to see something that will later be valuable evidence in establishing your claim. So, collect their contact information and ask if they are willing to testify to what they saw.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that may be an understatement in analyzing a car accident. Take pictures, more than you think you need, they are often a strong piece of evidence to document your claim. Record the damage to all the vehicles and other property at the crash site. And be sure to take pictures of things like skid marks, missing road signs, debris in the road, potholes, or anything else that may have contributed to or have been caused by the accident.
In addition to taking pictures, you may want to also take copious notes to document things like was it raining or snowing, did you see another driver on his phone, did you honk, what was that funny sound you heard. After the accident all these details are fresh in your mind and it is best to write them down if you can before you start to forget.
And one of the best ways to document your version of events is to file a police report. You may be required under law to file a report, and it is usually best to call the police and wait for them to arrive at the accident scene. Often, the police will then file a report and you want to confirm that this report agrees with the events as portrayed in your version of the accident. If one party attempts to dissuade you from contacting the police, do not agree to this request and contact the police promptly. The police report is often referred to after an accident and can be used as evidence.
So, those are some do’s you should make sure to complete just after an accident occurs, but what about the don’ts? Yes, there are a couple of things you need to avoid.
Do not admit responsibility for the accident to anybody! After an accident you are emotional and may not make statements that are logical or true. But they can be used other parties later to make it look like you caused the accident. Be careful what you say and do not say anything that even implies you caused, or partly caused, the accident.
Do not get emotional and make statements you will regret later. Something as seemingly harmless as “I wasn’t paying attention” to answer someone’s question can be misconstrued to make you look guilty. You need to be mindful the other parties may be looking for ways to cast blame on you, even if it is not true.
AFTER LEAVING THE SCENE
You took all the proper precautions at the accident scene and collected all the right information. But you are not done. After you leave the accident scene, you will need to continue to take steps, and precautions, to avoid jeopardizing your claim.
The first of these is to be careful in your dealings with the various insurance companies. It is common for an adjuster to contact you after an accident. If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, be gracious but only provide basic information like your name and contact information. Do not give them details of your account of the accident and never allow them to record any statements regarding the wreck. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is they work for the insurance company, not you, and are looking for anyway to minimize a settlement, including whatever you might say to them.
Also, you should never accept a payment or agree to a settlement without consulting the best car accident lawyer available. Insurance companies are a business and they operate to make money., As such, they will attempt to offer you as little as possible to settle the matter. Without exploring your options with a knowledgeable lawyer, you cannot consider all your available options and make an informed decision. You need to avoid such proposals from an insurance company that attempt to eliminate your attorney from the picture.
The Best Accident Attorneys Can Establish a Victim’s Losses
The Best Accident Attorneys Can Establish a victim’s losses.
The Best Accident Attorneys Can Establish a Victim’s Losses. A major part of your claim involves establishing the losses suffered as a result of your injuries.
As with negligence, it is often easier to say than do.
One of the best things you can do if you have been injured in a car crash is to keep detailed records.
Record things like:
- Doctor and hospital bills.
- Prescription receipts.
- Time missed from work and note the lost wages and benefits.
- Damage to your car or other property.
These are often easy to document with invoices or receipts. And after an accident you should get into the habit of retaining, and organising every receipt, bill, invoice or other expense associated with the accident.The above losses are sometimes called economic losses, as there is a bill or receipt to document them. But there are other non-economic losses you may have experience.
These may be a little less obvious to some, but there are other losses incurred from a car accident like:
- Pain and suffering caused by the crash
- Psychological trauma and strain
- Permanent disabilities resulting from the wreck
- Inability to enjoy your usual routines or interests (e.g. you can no longer enjoy travel like you did before the accident)
These are actual losses you have suffered, but it is a little more complicated to put a monetary value on these items since there is no bill or invoice created for these very real issues.
As is the case with the economic losses and saving all your medical receipts, organization will be your friend when it comes to non-economic losses, too. For example, maybe you traveled the world before the accident to conduct research for books you write. But now you can no longer travel because of the injuries sustained in the car accident. Then you may have to show how much you traveled prior to the accident. The ability to produce travel logs and receipts for those trips may be used to demonstrate how often you traveled and how much you relied on the information learned from traveling to create your books. The more information you can provide your car accident lawyer, the better he can calculate your non-economic damages.
You face many questions after a car accident. If you were injured in the accident, two of the biggest are:
Do I need a personal injury lawyer?
In short, Yes! Almost every injured car crash victim can benefit by retaining the best accident lawyer available. But not every injured person will have a valid claim against another party. It is complicated to know if the circumstances that led to your accident, and your injuries, are the basis for a valid claim.
Fortunately, the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky offer a free initial consultation. That means a free review of your case with one of the best law firms in Philadelphia, with no obligation. There is nothing to lose when you call and if your case is taken by one of the best injury lawyers available, you gain some much-needed help because they know how to handle personal injury claims and fight for maximum compensation.
At the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky, we are committed to protecting the interests of car accident victims and we are ready to evaluate your rights and options today. If you were injured in an accident, please do not wait to call 215-735-4800 or complete our online contact form to learn more about how we can assist you.
Do I have a Claim?
For a claim to be valid, you must establish that your injuries were caused by the carelessness of others. This is important because for a personal injury claim resulting from a car accident to be valid.
You must prove that negligence by others caused your injuries.
That sounds straightforward, right? You know that the other driver is at fault so it should be easy. Unfortunately, it is far from simple to convince insurance companies without tangible evidence. You word alone is not enough. And the term “negligence” is defined by the court, meaning that for a claim to be valid, one must show that a party, or parties, violated their level of expected care, causing the accident that resulted in your injuries.
Meeting the legal definition of negligence with court admissible evidence is hard and requires a considerable amount of work. But this step is crucial, and the best accidents lawyers are experienced with proving negligence in court and establishing your incurred losses. (The American Bar Association also provides some further detail on what is involved in a car accident claim.) (FindLaw is a popular “legal information” website and has a detailed article on the reasons to hire a personal injury lawyer. The American Bar Association “ABA” also has a more generic guide on when you need a lawyer.)
Some common examples of negligent driving include, but are limited to:
- Distracted driving (e.g. texting),
- Drunk driving,
- Failure to heed signage or traffic signals,
- And Fatigue.
Then consider this, the negligence may not be caused by another driver. Automobiles are sometimes manufactured with defects, or a municipality may fail to provide a proper level of care to the roads.
For example, an airbag may malfunction because of a design defect. Imagine an airbag deploying for no reason while driving, or maybe even worse, not deploying when a wreck occurs. Or another example of negligence can be a town that neglects a road to the point it is unsafe to use. And engineers can improperly design bridges or roads and other structures that fail, causing injuries to motorists. All of these can be neglect that caused an accident. Things are often complicated when an accident occurs, and proving negligence is no exception. You want the best car accident lawyer on your side to help with this difficult, demanding task associated with your claim.
So, the forms of neglect are many and establishing negligence is hard. But then you may wonder: How do you actually “prove” it? Well, take fatigued driving. You may need to obtain the drivers work history to show they worked very long hours. Or maybe you can get their phone logs to review the hours they were awake. But how do you get ahold of those records? The best accident attorneys know how to obtain documents and get the needed information through a process called discovery.
Then there are depositions. This where lawyers can pose questions to a party involved in the accident, or a witness. This is often done ahead of trial to corroborate facts and glean as much information from individuals as possible while they under oath. It can be a valuable tool in obtaining the data you need to prove negligence. Taking the testimony of defendants or witnesses is often best left to a professional, like a personal injury lawyer.
In summary, proving negligence is a crucial step in establishing your claim. To make the best argument and improve your chances of establishing neglect as a cause of the accident, retain the best car accident lawyer possible. They know what is needed, how to collect the data, and assemble all the facts in a logical, convincing manner to show you were injured because of the carelessness of others.
Car crashes happen, and chances are that you, or someone you know, have been involved in a car accident in the past couple of years. And the number of accidents with injuries is higher than most people suspect. Based on Pennsylvania’s 2017 population (12,805,537 people):
- 1 out of every 44 people was involved in a reportable traffic crash.
- 1 out of every 159 people was injured in a reportable traffic crash.
- 1 out of every 11,263 people was fatally injured in a reportable traffic crash.
The stats show car crashes happen every day. And when someone is hurt in an auto wreck, the resulting claims are complex and unique. There is no “standard” accident, and there certainly is no standard way to handle a personal injury claim.
The details of personal injury claims vary and are complicated. Add to that, negotiating a settlement with an insurance company is like walking through a mine field blind. And if you need to seek the help of a court and end up with a trial on your hands, the level of complexity increases exponentially.
The personal injury lawyers at Joel J. Kofsky provide their clients with years of education and experience, professional resources, and talent to ensure they get the best legal representation possible.