Car accidents are difficult for victims. There are issues like liability, statutes of limitations, and dealing with insurance companies that can be complicated for one person to handle on their own. Inexperience with these legal issues can put people in vulnerable positions, and they can easily be taken advantage of. If a person is seriously injured, it can complicate a car accident case even further, especially if the injuries are disabling.
How Common are Car Accidents in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reported over 125,267 traffic crashes in 2019, which resulted in 76,243 injuries and 1,059 fatalities. Although these statistics have improved over the past 85 years, even one car accident is too many. Every hour in Pennsylvania, there are about 14 car crashes, which is 343 each day. Out of these, 209 people are hurt, and three people lose their lives.
Looking at this data, PennDOT estimated that one out of 45 people in Pennsylvania were involved in reportable traffic accidents last year. Fortunately, most traffic accidents do not involve fatalities, but most cause injuries. The report also found that the following types of car accidents were the most common:
- Hitting objects, such as trees or guardrails
- Rear-end accidents
- Side-impact collisions
- Pedestrian accidents
- Head-on collisions
It is also noted that passenger cars are about 15 percent more likely to be involved in car accidents than other types of vehicles, such as SUVs, vans, and trucks.
Should I Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?
Minor fender-benders probably do not warrant the services of a car accident lawyer, but one never knows. What looks like a small dent could turn into thousands of dollars in property damage. Injuries can turn up later, even if there were no apparent symptoms right immediately following the accident. Many car accident victims do not want to invest the time and effort to contact a medical professional or a lawyer after an accident, but this is not advised.
Car accident victims may encounter problems when dealing with auto insurance providers. Insurance companies are in business to make profit and may deny valid claims or make low compensation offers. It may also be hard to understand what a person’s rights are in these situations and what kind of compensation they might be entitled to.
A lawyer’s main goal is to protect their client’s rights and get them fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. It is not uncommon for a car accident victim to hesitate before reaching out to a lawyer. However, there is nothing to lose by making an initial phone call. Many lawyers do not charge for initial consultations. Also, since they specialize in car accidents, their knowledge and experience can be invaluable.
Do I Really Need Legal Advice?
Car accident victims are not usually that familiar with personal injury laws, but anyone who is injured in a car accident may be entitled to compensation. Every state has different laws that apply to car accidents, including whether it is a fault or no-fault state, limits for damages, and statutes of limitations. Friends, family, and co-workers may have advice about a car accident, but these are usually just opinions and may be incorrect or misleading.
Insurance company representatives may put a lot of pressure on an accident victim, which can make someone think that they do not have a choice and must go with the company’s decision. This is not always true, and an experienced lawyer can find the best way to obtain full financial recovery rather than a small settlement.
A lien is another issue. Individuals who have received benefits from Workers’ Compensation, health, or disability insurers may have liens on their claims. In other words, these insurers may get paid before the claimant, out of any settlement monies received. Sometimes, a lawyer works with lien holders to work this out to the claimant’s benefit.
Is it Difficult to Prove Liability?
Proving liability can be difficult without the help of a lawyer. After all, the other driver and insurance companies do not want to automatically pay out damages, so they may try to show that they are not responsible. To establish liability, a breach of duty of care and negligence must be proven, which can be complicated. A lawyer understands the best way to acquire this kind of evidence, which includes gathering medical records, interpreting accident reports, and speaking with investigating police officers, experts, and witnesses. They may also travel back to the accident scene for additional evidence.
A lawyer can also serve as a liaison with auto insurance adjusters and other parties involved in the accident. Oftentimes, accident victims talk too much or say the wrong things, which can be used against them to reduce the amount of compensation they receive.
How Important are Medical Records?
Health care providers can be difficult to deal with, especially when patients need copies of pertinent medical records. Smaller offices might be too busy to respond to requests, and larger medical facilities can send patients in circles looking for the right place to get the information from. Gaining access to health insurance provider records is not always easy, either.
Even when any of this information is obtained, it could be incorrect or incomplete. To help establish liability, the physician’s report needs to show the cause, diagnosis, and resulting injuries and disabilities. This medical evidence is needed to prove that the patient’s condition was indeed caused by the at-fault driver. If this information is not included in the report, a lawyer will take steps to obtain it.
What If I Have to Go to Court?
A car accident lawyer can prepare and file a personal injury claim with the liable party’s insurance company and negotiate for a fair settlement. In some cases, the insurance company will refuse to negotiate, so the lawyer may have to represent the accident victim in court. It may not get this far, especially if the lawyer is able to work out a good settlement for the claimant. If the claim does go to court, the lawyer will prepare the case against the insurance company and liable parties. Additionally, a respected lawyer will be at the plaintiff’s side throughout the entire process.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Provide Legal Representation to Car Accident Victims
Your car accident case can lead to costly medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You are entitled to fair compensation, and we are ready to help. Speak to a trusted Philadelphia car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC today. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-8488 for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.