If you’ve been injured in a car accident, hiring a lawyer to advise and guide you is a good decision.
Having an attorney to assist you through the claims process can make a big difference in the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries.
Are You Overwhelmed After Being Injured in an Accident?
An excellent reason to hire a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer is that you’re overwhelmed after being injured in a serious vehicle crash. A lot is going on. You aren’t in the best place to be making any big decisions — or signing any settlement agreements.
Beware of self-representation when dealing with insurance companies, particularly if your injuries are serious. An experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney can represent your interests in all settlement negotiations, and in most cases, secure substantially higher settlements than you could by yourself.
Pennsylvania No-Fault Choice Insurance
Pennsylvania offers a variation of no-fault insurance called “choice,” which means that drivers can choose a policy that is pure no-fault or a policy based on traditional tort liability law.
When you choose a pure no-fault limited liability policy, you relinquish your right to sue. Similarly, even if you have a policy where you have retained your tort rights, if you’re in an accident with a driver who has opted for a pure no-fault option, you are unable to sue that driver.
What Is Covered By Insurance?
All no-fault insurance provides Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which covers you and your passengers no matter who or what caused the accident. PIP generally covers:
- Medical expenses
- Wages lost due to your injuries
- Rehabilitation costs
- Replacement services (such as housekeeping, home care, and childcare)
- Funeral expenses and survivor benefits
If you selected limited tort insurance when you purchased your no-fault policy, your right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver is limited and must meet certain conditions:
- The at-fault driver is registered in another state
- The at-fault driver is convicted of DUI
- You were a passenger in a commercial vehicle (bus, taxi, or truck)
- You were driving a motorcycle
- You were a pedestrian
- Your injuries are serious
In most cases, an injury that requires surgery and/or an extended recovery period will be judged serious enough to overcome limited tort.
Evaluating Your Injuries and Other Damages
Will you be able to return to the same job when you recover? Will you be able to return to work at all? Are you facing permanent disability and/or disfigurement? Who will pay your medical bills and other expenses in the future?
Pennsylvania follows a “modified comparative negligence rule” when both parties are found to share blame for a car crash. This means the jury decides two things in your personal injury lawsuit against the other driver:
1. The total damages (including all medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, and other losses)
2. Your percentage of responsibility for the crash
For example, if a jury decides that total damages are $300,000 and also decides that you are 30% responsible for the crash because you were going 5 miles over the speed limit, you are entitled to collect 70% of the $300,000 total, or $210,000.
Don’t Wait Too Long
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in a car accident case is the same as it is for most other personal injury cases in Pennsylvania: two years from the date of the accident.
If the accident resulted in a death, and the family of the deceased individual wishes to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver, the statute of limitations is two years after the date of death.
The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky, are ready to help you receive the financial compensation you deserve. Do not hesitate to contact our law firm at (215) 735-4800 to schedule your free initial consultation at a time and place that’s convenient and comfortable for you, including our offices, your home, or your hospital room.
Before we meet, let us know if you have the police record of the accident. Contact the Pennsylvania State Police for more information.