Car accidents happen every day. By now, most people take them as a fact of life. But still, when they happen to you or someone you love, they bring injury, stress, and expense. On top of all this, you could spend countless hours arguing over who was at fault and negotiating with insurance companies.
Let a car accident lawyer in Allegheny County from Berger and Green handle that stress for you. We know the best steps to take after a serious car accident and will fight to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve, either from your own insurance company or from the driver at fault. Let us do the work while you get back on your feet.
Call us today: 412-661-1400.
How do car accident claims work in Pennsylvania?
The process for filing a car accident claim in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania can be overwhelming at first. That is because Pennsylvania’s “choice no-fault” insurance laws are a little different that the insurance laws in the rest of the country.
How to File an Auto Insurance Claim
In Allegheny County, you can file a car accident claim with either your own insurer or with the driver at fault’s insurance company. In addition to these options, you may also be able to file a lawsuit in court to recover compensation.
Depending on whether you have full tort or limited tort insurance, you can recover compensation for your medical bills, damage to a vehicle, lost wages, and other financial losses. If you have full tort coverage or if you meet strict requirements, you can also receive compensation for your pain and suffering.
Our attorneys know Pennsylvania insurance law like the back of our hands. We can help you determine whom to file your accident claim with to ensure that you receive the most compensation possible for your accident. We also regularly work with medical experts to help our clients establish injuries serious enough to qualify for full tort benefits.
Should I hire a lawyer?
Insurers want you to believe that the claims process is easy. So easy in fact, that you do not need to hire an attorney. For the average person, this is simply not true.
Think about it. How will you know if the settlement amount that an insurance company offers you is fair? Do you know whether the amount the insurance company offers you is similar to the amounts they offer other people in similar accidents? What if the amount they offer you is much lower than what they offer to other people? Would you know?
The car accident lawyers in Allegheny County at Berger and Green know how to deal with insurance companies. They also know what a fair settlement amount is for the types of injuries you received. If an insurance company tries to pay you less than you deserve, we will catch it and we will not stop fighting until you get proper compensation.
While many people do successfully navigate the car accident claims process alone, those who choose to hire an attorney are left with the peace of mind of knowing that they will receive a fair settlement offer.
How long do I have to file a claim?
Under Pennsylvania law, you have two years after the time of the accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury or property damage. Obviously, the sooner you file, the better. If you try to file a claim after the two-year period is over, the court will likely toss your case out and you will be unable to recover compensation for your damages.
Consider the following advantages of filing your claim early:
- The memories of those involved with the crash will still be fresh.
- The memories of the police officers and other emergency responders will still be fresh.
- Evidence such as damage to cars, highway railings, and the road (e.g., skid marks) will still be available to use. If you wait, the state or the car owner could repair this damage.
- You avoid losing your chance to recover compensation because you missed an important deadline.
- You will likely recover compensation sooner.
Of course, the sooner you speak with an attorney, the sooner you can decide what steps to take. Remember that it may take some time after you meet with one of our car accident attorneys before we can file your case properly. Do not wait until the last minute.
How much compensation can I recover?
Every case is different and your compensation should fairly reflect the actual damages you sustained in the car accident. However, under Pennsylvania insurance laws, you are entitled to certain minimum coverage. The following amounts are the least that you should expect after an accident.
The minimum insurance coverage in Allegheny County includes:
- $5,000 Medical: This is your own policy. If you file a no-fault claim with your own insurer, you are entitled to, at the very least, $5,000 for your medical bills.
- $15,000/ $30,000 Bodily Injury Liability (BIL): This is the minimum amount ($15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident) that the driver at fault’s insurance company must cover for your bodily injuries after an accident.
- $5,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL): This is the minimum amount that the driver at fault’s insurance company must cover for damage to your property, including your car.
Keep in mind, however, that these amounts are only the minimum coverage amounts. Some policies cover higher amounts. These amounts should serve as a starting point only.
Your compensation award will be much higher if you qualify for pain and suffering damages in addition to your other financial damages like lost wages and decreased income earning capacity.
Remember, if you have full tort coverage, you automatically qualify for pain and suffering damages.
Call Berger and Green for Help Today
Do not try to take on the insurance companies alone. Call the knowledgable car accident lawyers in Allegheny County for help filing your claim. We will fight to prove that you are entitled to fair and full compensation for your damages, including pain and suffering damages, and we will not stop fighting until you receive it.