A car accident can be an overwhelmingly stressful experience, especially if you are injured. If this happens, you will likely have many questions, particularly on how to recover compensation for your injuries or how to file a personal injury claim. If your injuries or property damage are minor, then your car accident claim may not be too difficult to process. However, the more severe the injury, the more complex your claim could be, requiring prompt action and planning.
Every accident case is different, and there are options available. Depending on your insurance, some drivers who have been injured in a car accident have the option to sue the at-fault driver for economic damages and non-economic damages.
The claims process typically includes these elements:
- Identify the parties: The first step in filing a complaint is for the plaintiff to identify the defendant. This includes their legal name and address. It may be necessary to name multiple parties, as there may be more than one party liable for causing your damages.
- Factual allegations: This includes a chronological history that pertains to how the accident occurred, which is written to support the plaintiff. The police report could be used in this step.
- Cause of action: This step contains the cause of action as to why the defendant is responsible for the damages caused. For instance, this will likely include an account of the defendant’s negligence in which they breached their duty of care and is legally responsible for the damages that occurred.
Filing a lawsuit requires careful consideration and the counsel of an experienced attorney. An attorney can go through each of these elements and more, such as gathering evidence and handling the paperwork.
Accident Laws in Pennsylvania
Before filing your accident claim, it is important to understand the laws in your state. In Pennsylvania, you should know:
- Report: In most cases, you have to file an accident report with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) within five days of the accident. You must do this if the police did not file a report, someone was injured or killed, or the property damage was severe.
- Car insurance: Pennsylvania follows a no-fault car insurance system, which means drivers can choose an insurance policy based on traditional tort liability or a no-fault policy. Under traditional tort liability, you can sue a driver who is at fault for both economic and noneconomic damages. Under no-fault coverage, your own insurance company will compensate you for your damages regardless of who caused the accident. You are unable to sue the other driver, but compensation is a lot quicker. You can only sue the at-fault driver if you have a serious injury, such as disfigurement or disability.
- Statute of limitations: In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations, which is the deadline you have to file, is two years.
- Comparative negligence: Pennsylvania follows “modified” comparative negligence. This means that each party will be assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. Your percentage of fault will be deducted from the reward. However, if you are more than 50 percent at fault, you are barred from recovering compensation.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Clients With the Claims Process
If you have been injured in a car accident, you need the best legal team on your side. Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help you with the complicated legal process. Call us today at 215-569-8488 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Abington, Pennsylvania, as well as Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.