Unfortunately, car accidents a simple fact of life. That does not mean that car accidents are easy to deal with. On the contrary, after being involved in an accident you must face hours and hours of arguing over who caused it, negotiating with insurance companies, waiting at the hospital to see a doctor, and waiting for the mechanic to repair your vehicle. All of these post-accident tasks are stressful, to say the least.
But there is good news. A car accident lawyer in Erie from Berger and Green will handle the stress of filing a car accident claim while you focus on recovering. Give us a call today: 412-661-1400.
Car Accident Claims in Pennsylvania
For most people, the Pennsylvania process for filing an accident claim in Erie County is overwhelming and stressful. The main reason that people find these claims difficult is that Pennsylvania’s insurance laws are different than any other state in the U.S.
Pennsylvania has what is known as “choice no-fault” insurance.
In Erie, you can file a claim with both your own insurer and the at-fault driver’s insurer.
You can recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, decreased income earning capacity (for example, if you must take a less demanding and lower paying job after your accident), other financial losses, and damage to your vehicle and other property.
If you have full tort coverage, you are also entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. This will dramatically increase the amount of your compensation award.
If you have only limited tort coverage, you will not automatically qualify for pain and suffering damages, but we can help you qualify to recover this type of award for you if you fall into a specific exception.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
When you speak with an insurance company representative, she will do her best to convince you that the claims process is simple. She will try to convince you that you do not need to hire an attorney because she will take care of everything. Do not be fooled. Insurance companies are acting in their best interest.
Consider your automobile insurance policy: pages and pages with fine print and exceptions to coverage. It is not simple.
Worst of all, the insurance company’s bottom line is saving the company money. That means a smaller compensation award for you.
How will you know if the settlement amount the insurer offers you is fair? What if the amount it quotes you is much less than you deserve and much less than other, well prepared, people receive?
The car accident lawyers at Berger and Green know what amounts are fair. We will not stop fighting until you receive the full compensation that you deserve.
While it is possible to navigate the complicated insurance claims process on your own, it will be exceedingly difficult and you might make a mistake that jeopardizes your claim.
When should I file my claim?
Typically, you want to file your claims as soon as possible after an accident. This provides you with enough time to gather evidence and make your case the best it can be.
The absolute latest you can file your lawsuit is two years after the time of the accident. If you wait until after this two-year time period has expired, the court will throw out your claim.
We know that you are busy, especially after an accident. But it is imperative that you do not delay when planning to file a claim. If you file your claim sooner rather than later, the benefits include:
- Your memories and recollections of the accident are still fresh in your mind.
- The memories and recollections of police officers or other emergency responders to the scene are still fresh.
- You are less likely to miss the deadline to file a claim.
- Important evidence, such as damage to vehicles, roads, and highway railings are still available. For example, skid marks on the pavement indicating breaking patterns of the drivers will not remain on the road indefinitely.
- You will receive your compensation sooner than if you wait to file.
Remember, even after you take the first step and speak with a car accident attorney, it will take some time to file your claim. Do not wait until the last minute.
How much compensation can I recover?
Although every case is different, under Pennsylvania law, everyone must have the same minimum coverage. This minimum coverage includes:
- Medical Benefits of $5,000: Because Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state, regardless of who was at fault, you are entitled to at least $5,000 in coverage for your medical bills from your own insurer.
- Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) of $15,000/$30,000: If you are able to prove the other driver was at fault, you can recover up to $15,000 (or more if her policy is higher) for your injuries.
- Property Damage Liability (PDL) of $5,000: If the other driver was at fault, you can recover up to $5,000 for your property damage.
Of course, this is only the minimum amount of compensation you can expect after a serious accident. Actual awards could be much higher depending on your damages.
Berger and Green Can Help
The car accident lawyers at Berger and Green are here to help you fight the insurance companies. We can help you get full and fair compensation for your car accident without the hassle and stress of dealing with the insurance company on your own. Call us today to find out more: 412-661-1400.