Nearly everyone will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. Most cases are likely small accidents without much vehicle damage or injury, but some collisions result in serious, traumatic injuries. If you were recently involved in a car accident that caused personal injury, or to prepare for the possibility of a future car crash, it is important to understand how filing for damages works.
In Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm represent injured auto accident victims. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident in Pennsylvania, talk to an attorney today as part of your car accident claim. The injury attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm offer free consultations on new cases. Call (215) 246-9000 today to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers.
First Steps After a Car Crash in Pennsylvania
After an auto accident, it is important to get yourself to a safe location and call 9-1-1. Do not leave the scene of the accident, but move your car out of the way of other traffic, if possible. If you are on the side if the road, make sure that your emergency flashers are on, and you are in a well-lit area. If you are not able to move or are too injured or dazed to act, get out of the car if you can, but focus on getting help rather than collecting information.
If you are not too injured, gather as much information about the accident as you can. Try to get information about:
- Where the accident occurred (address, cross-streets, etc.),
- Who was involved (identities and contact info for drivers and passengers),
- Witness info (identities and contact info),
- What cars were involved (make, model, license place number, etc.), and
- Get each driver’s insurance, driver’s license, and vehicle registration information.
If you have a pen and paper, that can be a good way to get the info – but your cell phone is also an excellent tool for taking pictures. If you can, get pictures of the people involved, their licenses and paperwork, the accident, the cars, and any visible injuries.
When police arrive, they may ask questions to get information. They may also issue citations or arrest drivers for drunk or reckless driving. If they do, that can be important later.
If you need it, seek medical attention immediately. A quick evaluation may help uncover underlying or potential injuries that are not immediately obvious. Especially with adrenaline pumping through your body, you may not notice some injuries, and it is important to get evaluated by EMS or at a hospital.
How to Get Injuries Compensated After a Car Accident in PA
Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” car insurance state. This means that a certain portion of your auto insurance covers “first party claims” after a car accident. This “personal injury protection” (PIP) money can be paid to you, whether you were at fault for the crash or not.
Your next concern with insurance should be to look at the “full tort” or “limited tort” options on your insurance. With a “full tort” insurance policy, you may pay more on a monthly basis, but you have full rights to sue the other drivers for injuries. With a “limited tort” option, you can only sue if your injuries are “serious” in nature, under 75 Pa.C.S. § 1705(d). 75 Pa.C.S. § 1702 lays out the definition of “serious injury” to include “a personal injury resulting in in death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement.” That means that permanent injuries, ones that require serious medical intervention, or ones that will require substantial rehab and physical therapy may all entitle you to file a lawsuit for your case.
While insurance may cover some injuries, convincing the at-fault driver’s insurance to cover your injuries may be difficult. If their driver denies fault, getting the coverage might be impossible without suing in court.
When you do take your case to court, it can become a full-fledged court case. This means filing a complaint with the court, exchanging evidence during “discovery,” empaneling a jury, and presenting evidence in open court. Any witnesses, other occupants of your car, and you (as the victim) may testify. You may also present evidence to back your claims. Your attorney will handle most of this on your behalf, helping to simplify the process for you.
Ultimately, you may be entitled to any damages resulting from the accident. This includes the property damage to your vehicle, the cost of any medical expenses you face, compensation for lost wages if you missed work, and direct compensation for your pain and suffering.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers with Free Consultations
If you or a loved one was injured in a car crash in PA, it is important to take your case to a car accident victim attorney. Your attorney can help you understand your options for recovering compensation and help fight your case in court. For a free consultation on your case, contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 246-9000.