When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident in Pennsylvania
In the moments following a car accident, a victim’s head is swimming with many different thoughts and concerns. They are worried about their injuries, how their passengers are faring, and whether they can drive to work in the morning. Those thoughts could quickly turn to insurance companies, personal injury lawsuits, and attorneys. Accident victims should begin thinking about their legal rights immediately following a crash.
The first thing anyone should do after a car accident is to seek medical attention. After that, you should contact our Philadelphia car accident attorneys. This is especially true if other drivers involved in the accident have retained legal representation or if you must deal with an insurance company.
The attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm are dedicated to providing professional and compassionate representation for victims of car accidents. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights and how hiring our firm could help you, call (215) 709-6940.
Your Case Should Begin Immediately After Your Car Accident
Personal injury lawsuits are often long and complicated legal proceedings. To prevail requires planning and preparation. By retaining legal help soon after your accident, you increase your chances of success.
Winning or losing a personal injury lawsuit often depends on the evidence presented at trial. However, all evidence is not always available for an infinite period. For example, video footage showing what happened leading up to and during a car accident could present a persuasive argument in your favor. Many stretches of road and highway are covered by surveillance cameras attached to local businesses. In nearly every case, this footage is only saved for a short time. Our experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys need to contact these businesses immediately after an accident to preserve vital evidence.
Additionally, it is usually best to speak with an accident witness as soon as possible. While a police report provides details of what occurred, it is rarely sufficient to decide a case. By carefully questioning witnesses immediately following a car crash, we can obtain sworn testimony while the incident is still fresh in their minds.
How Retaining an Attorney Early Helps Increase Your Chances of Compensation
Filing a personal injury lawsuit or accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer will not take your injuries away. You are looking to be made financially whole after a car accident – whether that is recovering for your medical expenses or having your personal property repaired or replaced. If you have the assistance of our car accident attorneys early in the process, you have a greater chance of increasing your potential compensation. Just as it is crucial to document your injuries, you must document your economic losses. By engaging an attorney early in the process, you can ensure that all the expenses you can legally recover are counted.
In addition to recovering your financial losses, you can also recover from your pain and suffering through a personal injury lawsuit. Also called non-economic damages, the compensation people are awarded for their emotional and physical harm is often greater than their economic losses. Similarly, to prove fault in a car accident case, it takes time and resources to examine and quantify your pain and suffering. The more time our law office has to collect evidence and testimony regarding the mental and emotional harm you suffered, the more compelling argument we can make.
Your Legal Team Can Begin Documenting Your Injuries and Medical Treatments
To file a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania, you must have suffered an injury. It is crucial to document your injuries and directly trace them back to your accident to maximize your potential recovery. Any delay in seeking medical attention will open a door for the defense to argue that your injuries originated elsewhere.
While getting early medical treatment is essential, you also want to be building your case from the first time you see your doctor. You must follow through with any treatment prescribed and ensure you document every step of your recovery. An attorney understands the importance of gathering medical evidence from the very beginning of treatment. Our Bucks County car accident lawyers will work with you and your healthcare providers to collect reports and testimony regarding the severity and impact of your injuries.
They Can Deal with the Insurance Companies
There are a few important ways that retaining an attorney can help you in terms of dealing with the insurance companies after an accident. Insurance companies employ many people, including attorneys, accountants, and adjusters whose sole purpose is to limit the amount of compensation their company is required to pay. Having our knowledgeable Allentown car accident attorneys working on your behalf levels the playing field. When you are injured, your first priority should be getting better – let our firm deal with the insurance companies.
An Attorney Can Help You Determine Complex Issues Involving Fault
In many cases, the cause of a car accident is obvious. For example, if a drunk driver rear-ends your car while you are stopped at a red light, proving fault is not difficult. However, that is not always the case. Some accidents result from a series of interconnected events or conditions requiring an investigation to determine what happened. Furthermore, when the facts surrounding an accident are complicated or in dispute, proving fault becomes more challenging.
Determining fault is critical when dealing with another driver’s insurance provider. If you are unable to produce evidence that the other driver was to blame, it is unlikely you will receive any compensation. Additionally, if you contributed to the crash, an insurance company will greatly reduce its settlement offer. Our law office has the resources and expertise to thoroughly investigate the cause of your accident. We will review witness statements, examine police reports, or hire an accident reconstructionist to recreate the accident. Determining fault is critical in receiving the compensation you deserve.
An Attorney Can Help You Determine if the Insurance Company is Doing the Right Thing
In Pennsylvania, insurance companies are required by law to act in good faith. This means that they should play fair and adhere to the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. Unfortunately, some insurance providers act in bad faith to limit their liability in a car accident case.
A common tactic employed by insurers is unreasonably delaying a claim. In some situations, an insurance company will claim that it takes time to thoroughly investigate the accident before agreeing to a settlement. Others are more blatant, with an adjuster purposefully ignoring phone calls or refusing to call you back. Our Berks County personal injury attorneys will work to ensure your claim moves along at a realistic pace.
An insurance company has every right to investigate your claim. However, the investigation must be conducted in a timely fashion and performed in an adequate manner. If the adjuster is not considering your medical condition or did not request a copy of the accident report, they could be acting in bad faith.
Some adjusters will purposefully misrepresent, misinterpret, or omit particular terms and provisions in the insurance policy. Before any insurance negotiation, you should read and be familiar with your policy. Because the language in many insurance policies is not always clear, it is a good idea to have our attorneys review it as well.
If you are working with an at-fault driver’s insurance company, you will not have their policy available to review. Having a Chester car accident attorney who is familiar with insurance law and general contractual language is vital in maximizing your potential compensation.
In some extreme cases, an insurer might threaten a claimant, such as suggesting legal action because you filed a claim. This type of behavior is unlikely to occur if you have an experienced attorney handling the negotiations.
They Can Negotiate for More Money on Your Behalf
A victim of a car accident could be compensated through a personal injury lawsuit or through a settlement offer from an insurance provider. While in many cases an injured person could recover more by taking their case to trial, a settlement often offers a faster payment. To make an informed decision regarding a settlement offer, you should have the help of our attorneys. Without knowing what your claim is worth, it is impossible to tell if the offer is fair. Our office will go over the facts of your accident and give you a good faith estimate of the value of your case. Remember, our attorneys have a legal obligation to represent your best interests. The insurance company has attorneys and adjusters working to limit the amount of money they are required to pay – they are not working for you. You should never accept an offer from an insurance company without discussing the settlement with an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney.
4. Building the Case for the Possibility of Going to Trial from the Start
Many car accident cases in Pennsylvania settle before they get before a judge or jury. However, that does not mean that a case was not prepared for going to trial. In fact, much of the evidence necessary to maximize an insurance settlement is valuable if you need to take your case to court.
Insurance companies often rely on the fact that accident victims want to settle quickly – without the need for a lengthy trial. They are aware that people are receiving medical bills and might be out of work. A settlement check might appear to be a much-needed windfall. However, if the amount is insufficient to cover your costs, it is probably not a good settlement.
When our attorneys prepare a case for trial, the insurance company is put on notice that you are serious and are looking for a reasonable settlement. Much of the same evidence used to evaluate your claim and determine fault is the basis for your potential personal injury lawsuit. By gather medical records, police reports, witness testimony, expert opinions, and other types of evidence, our Pennsylvania car accident attorney will begin building your case and drafting the complaint.
Just because you file a lawsuit does not mean our office is prohibited from continuing negotiations. Once a lawsuit is filed, both sides will engage in the discovery process. During this phase, our firm is entitled to request documents and interview witnesses and other individuals with knowledge of your case. Basically, you get to request to see what evidence the other side has. If the newly revealed evidence improves your legal position, the insurance company will likely increase its settlement offer.
Our Pennsylvania Attorneys Can Help After a Car Accident
The days following a car accident are often a whirlwind of phone calls, doctors’ appointments, and medical treatments. While you are worried about your health, you also must be concerned about your legal rights and options. You should contact our Philadelphia personal injury lawyer immediately following a crash, allowing our office time to begin your personal injury lawsuit. We will also communicate with any insurance companies or other lawyers. Often, the success of a personal injury claim rests on how soon an experienced attorney can start preparing a case. To schedule a free consultation to review your legal options, call the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940.