Driving in Berks County can be dangerous. There are many reasons why you may be involved in an accident, and while many accidents are minor others can be severe and cause life-changing and lifelong injuries. You may find that after an accident you are unable to work, or that suddenly you have a mountain of medical bills to cover, or you may find that you are no longer able to work because of your injuries. When these injuries prevent you from working, spending time with your family and doing the things that you love, then you may be able to recover monetary compensation. If you or a family member was injured in a car accident in Berks County, Pennsylvania, you should waste no time in working with an experienced Berks County car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
For more than three decades, the lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm have stood up for the rights of car accident victims in Pennsylvania. We understand that a severe car accident has the potential to change a victim’s life forever, and we are here for you in your time of need. Let us work to make you whole by securing compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation to discuss the details of your car accident, you should call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940. You could also contact the firm online to schedule your free case review.
Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Liability System
Pennsylvania is one of twelve states throughout the country that employs something known as a no-fault insurance system. This system which is in many ways different from others throughout the country, including neighboring New Jersey, requires that drivers must decide when they are purchasing insurance coverage if they would like to participate in the no-fault system. If a driver opts to not participate in the no-fault system, then they must obtain traditional insurance coverage. However, if they do choose to participate in the no-fault system then an injured person’s own insurance company will provide medical coverage for expenses and lost income, no matter who was at fault for the accident. This decision opens one up to all of the benefits and burdens of the traditional system: while you may take legal action against the at-fault driver, you also open yourself up to claims if you were the one who caused the accident. In contrast, the no-fault system permits personal injury suits only if the injury is ‘serious’. The threshold for a serious injury in Pennsylvania is high. Typically disfigurement or serious impairment of a bodily function are required to qualify as a serious injury under Pennsylvania law. Additionally, and of special note, damage to property falls outside of the no-fault system.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Anytime there is an accident involving metal objects that weigh thousands of pounds there is a likelihood that there is going to be severe injuries. As noted above, in Pennsylvania you must be able to show that your injury is serious in order to hold another liable for a car accident beyond the general limits of insurance. While each and every car accident is different, after 34 years of practice we have seen that certain injury types are more common than others.
- Spinal column/cord injuries – The spine and the vertebrae contain many important nerves and fragile bones that can be injured as a result of a blunt force impact from an accident. Like any injury that is a result of a car or truck accident, spinal column injuries to the spinal column, vertebrae, or any of the nerves that run through the spinal column, can result in severe pain and suffering and expensive surgery. Because the spinal cord is an essential part of mobility any damage to this area of the body can result in paralysis, which can severely limit your ability to work and negatively affect your life.
- Traumatic brain injury – Traumatic brain injuries or TBI’s have become more prevalent recently, partially due to the medical communities growing understanding of these injuries and their impact. When there is an injury to the brain changes to personality can occur, it can be more difficult to focus, communication can be impacted and daily activities may become difficult or impossible.
- Whiplash – Whiplash is caused when a sudden force causes the muscles in the neck to hyperflex, which is caused by a sudden strain and overextension of the neck, and back muscles. While these injuries are fairly common in a car accident, they can be severe and make it difficult or impossible to work. While some people may experience some minor aches and pains from whiplash, others can experience nerve damage and debilitating headaches, numbness, and tingling.
- Fractured or broken bones – Violent car injuries often result in broken or fractured bones, which can range in severity from minor fractures to compound breaks that require surgery. The auto industry has developed and devoted a lot of time to making cars safer, when there is an accident there is always going to be a large amount of force which can lead to a broken arm, rib, leg, shoulder or any other bone in the body.
No one wants to be injured, and everyone knows that going to the doctor can be expensive. With the rising cost of health care, it can be hard for a person to recover both physically and financially after a car accident. If you have suffered an injury due to a reckless, careless or negligent driver in Berks County, the experienced attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm can protect your rights.
The Statute of Limitations for a Berks County Car Accident Lawsuit
Victims of a serious car accident in Berks County should be aware that they do not have an unlimited amount of time to file their car accident lawsuit with a court of law. The reason to promptly pursue your case is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations determines the length of time that a potential plaintiff has to file a civil lawsuit with a court of law.
It is important to note that each state does not have uniform laws when it comes to the statute of limitations. This means that a personal injury lawsuit could have a different filing deadline in Pennsylvania as opposed to New Jersey. Additionally, the amount of time provided to a potential plaintiff is subject to change depending on the circumstances of the case.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a car accident lawsuit is two years from the date of the injury. However, if the victim did not immediately discover their injuries, this could change the deadline. Specifically, the filing deadline for a car accident lawsuit would be delayed until the victim discovered their injuries or should have discovered their injuries. As a result, the two-year deadline would not begin until the victim learned about their injuries.
If you fail to file your car accident lawsuit within two years, the defendant could move to dismiss the lawsuit because it violates the statute of limitations. If the victim’s case violates the statute of limitations, the court will dismiss it with prejudice, which means that the victim can never refile the case. As a result, any damages the victim could have won in their car accident lawsuit would be lost.
Our firm understands the importance of filing a car accident lawsuit on time, and we are here to discuss the details of your case. You should not waste any time in bringing your case to an experienced car accident lawyer as it could negatively impact your case. For example, an attorney could be hesitant to take your case if you wait until the filing deadline is quickly approaching to seek legal representation.
Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit in Berks County
Before you could be awarded damages for your car accident lawsuit, you will first have to prove that a defendant’s negligence was the cause of your injuries. To prove negligence in a car accident lawsuit, the following four elements must be shown:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care to the plaintiff (e.g., failed to adhere to traffic signals)
- The plaintiff’s injuries were caused due to the defendant’s actions
- The plaintiff’s injuries and other losses could be compensated by a court of law
Once all four of these elements are proven by the plaintiff, they could be awarded damages for their injuries and losses. To learn about the types of damages that could be awarded in a car accident lawsuit, continue reading and work with our experienced Berks County car accident lawyer.
What Damages Can you Collect?
What happens when you are in an accident and suddenly find that you are unable to work, or even enjoy the things that you once did before the accident? Many people find that after an accident their life is dramatically changed, and they are not always sure what they may be able to receive if they are in an accident.
Fortunately, a victim of a car accident could be awarded damages if they prevail in a personal injury lawsuit. Specifically, a plaintiff could be awarded compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are split into two categories: economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are based on objective factors, while noneconomic damages typically consider subjective factors like pain and suffering.
Below, are some of the most common types of damages that people may be able to recover if they are in an accident:
- Lost Wages – When you are in an accident you may not be able to work. This can be because you are temporarily without a car, or because you are in the hospital recovering. Hopefully, you will be able to return to work with no complications, however, if you are no longer able to work because of an accident involving a tractor trailer you may be able to recover for your lost wages.
- Medical Bills – Everyone knows that there is a problem in the United States with the ballooning costs of healthcare and medical exams. If you are injured as a result of a truck accident you may incur a lot of medical bills. Fortunately, if you are found not to be at fault and the truck driver is, you may be able to recover a large portion or all of your medical bills.
- Pain and Suffering – This type of damage and the compensation you may be able to receive from an accident derives from the actual pain and the resulting pain that you suffer as a result of your accident. When you have been the victim of an accident you may suffer anxiety, depression, or even be too afraid to drive again. When you have resulting pain and suffering as a result of a truck accident you may be able to recover for pain and suffering depending on the facts of your case.
- Property Damage – It is inevitable that a vehicle in a serious car accident would sustain damage. Upon prevailing in your case, the defendant could be ordered to pay for damage to your vehicle and any other items that were damaged or destroyed during the crash.
- Loss of Consortium – Loss of consortium damages are awarded because a defendant’s negligent actions caused a deprivation of a familial relationship. For example, if a victim is severely injured to the point they cannot engage in sexual relations with their spouse, this could be grounds for the victim to receive damages for loss of consortium.
This is not an exhaustive list. There are other types of damages that could be awarded to a plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit. In some cases, a victim could even be awarded punitive damages.
Put More Than 34 Years Experience to Work for You
If you or a family member was injured in a car accident in Berks County, you should consult with an experienced Berks County car accident attorney today. At The Reiff Law Firm, we fight to secure compensation for the victims of accidents. Our firm has worked with clients on a variety of car accident lawsuits, and we would be pleased to use our legal skills to represent you in your case. If you have been injured in a car accident in Berks County or elsewhere in Pennsylvania, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to schedule your free legal consultation. You may also use our online submission form to schedule your free consultation.