If you are worried about getting the money and benefits you are entitled to from the insurance company, the Pennsylvania car accident attorneys at Berger and Green can help. Give us a call today, and let us help you recover the money you deserve.
Unfortunately, many people suffer injuries on Pennsylvania’s highways and interstates each year. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics, there were 127,127 car accidents in Pennsylvania in 2015. These crashes left 80,004 people injured and 1,200 people dead.
Safer vehicles, an increase in the use of safety belts, and a decrease in the use of alcohol have helped to lower the number of deaths and injuries resulting from car accidents; however, the number is still alarmingly high.
If you sustained a serious injury in a Pittsburgh car accident and you need money to cover expensive medical bills and lost wages, you may not know what to do or who to turn to for help. You may find yourself wondering: “How can I pay my bills and support my family when I cannot return to work?”. You may have many other questions about how to get the compensation you need and deserve.
Hiring a Pennsylvania car accident attorney from the law firm of Berger and Green is the best course of action to get the answers you need. Contact us to schedule a free hospital or home visit, or a time to discuss your case in detail.
If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident in Pittsburgh, a neighboring borough, or any of the surrounding areas, the team from Berger and Green will review your case for free. We can explain your rights and help you understand how the Pennsylvania auto accident laws apply in your case.
We may be able to pursue a payout from the insurance company or at-fault party to cover your accident-related losses and expenses. We know how stressful it can be to need money to pay for your medical care and other bills, and also be out of work because of your injuries. The expenses can add up quickly, and you should not be stuck paying them out of your pocket for the injuries someone else caused.
Call Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400 for your free initial consultation with a member of our Pittsburgh car accident team. We can review your case and get to work pursuing compensation on your behalf today.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me Win My Case?
When you agree to let a car accident lawyer from Berger and Green handle your case, they will take care of building a case, filing an insurance claim, and filing a civil lawsuit, if necessary. All you need to do is focus on healing from your injuries. As you can imagine, this greatly reduces your stress about the whole process.
From the moment you start discussing your car accident case with an attorney, they can go to work, protecting your rights to compensation for your full range of damages. This is one of the most important roles of a personal injury lawyer, although it is often overlooked.
Insurance company representatives want to pay out as little as possible, so they will try to get you to admit to being partially at fault or make other mistakes that could reduce your claim. When your attorney is handling all communication about your case, this is unlikely to happen unless they have strong evidence to show your actions did contribute to the accident, and even then, your attorney can work to mitigate the effect this has on your financial recovery.
Your lawyer will also build a strong case that will support negotiating a settlement with the insurance company or winning your case in court. This requires us to gather evidence, prove fault and liability, and document your accident-related damages. We can even call in expert witnesses to bolster your case, something you likely would not have the resources to do on your own.
Your attorney will handle all communication and negotiations with the insurer, demanding they pay out a fair settlement and using effective techniques to try to get a larger offer when they initially refuse to do so. This is often effective, and most car accident cases handled by Berger and Green end without going to trial.
Of course, if legal action becomes necessary, your car accident lawyer can take legal action on your behalf. Our team understands the laws related to taking this type of case to trial, including the statute of limitations that applies to your case.
All of our attorneys are trial attorneys with experience handling cases very similar to yours. If we do need to go to trial and represent you to the Judge and jury, we will not hesitate to do so. We will aggressively pursue the court award you deserve.
How Can I Increase My Car Accident Settlement?
You have several options to increase your Pittsburgh car accident settlement over the amount the insurance company originally offered you or over the total you initially believe your case may be worth. The first step in ensuring your settlement takes your full range of losses and expenses into account is to discuss your case with a car accident lawyer.
At Berger and Green, we offer free case evaluations to all Pittsburgh area car accident victims. Just reach out to our team about your case today.
One way you may be able to increase your car accident settlement is by qualifying to pursue compensation based on full tort coverage. We will review your insurance policy and facts of your case to see if:
- You opted for full tort coverage when you bought insurance
- Your injuries meet the “serious injury” threshold
- You meet another exception to these laws
If any of these are true, we can pursue pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages on your behalf, in addition to your economic expenses and losses.
Once we discuss your case, we will begin our investigation into your accident. We will take steps to gather evidence that proves the other driver caused the accident. As a part of this process, we will attempt to show you did not contribute to the accident or your own injuries. If we find proof you did, we can work to minimize the effect it has on your payout.
Our investigation will also need to document your damages. Recoverable damages in this type of case may include:
- Past and future medical care costs
- Ongoing care costs
- Past and future lost wages and benefits
- Repair or replacement of your vehicle
- Other property damages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Noneconomic damages, if the full tort option is available
- Wrongful death damages
Once we build a case to document your range of car accident expenses and losses and put a fair value on your case, we will contact the insurance company and begin working to negotiate a fair settlement agreement. We know the most effective negotiation tactics and can take on any auto insurance company. We will not settle for less than you deserve.
If the insurance company refuses to agree to a settlement that compensates you for your full scope of documented accident-related damages, we will not hesitate to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial.
How Much Can I Get for Pain and Suffering?
One of the most difficult parts of calculating a value for a car accident case is putting a price on the victim’s pain and suffering damages. In Pennsylvania, this is even more difficult because the “choice no-fault” financial responsibility laws bar some car accident victims from pursuing this type of damages.
In general, there are three ways you may qualify to seek pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages following a Pittsburgh car accident:
If you opted for full tort liability insurance coverage, you can pursue pain and suffering damages from the at-fault driver without meeting any other exceptions to the rule.
Pennsylvania law defines a serious bodily injury as: “Bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.” If you or a loved one sustained an injury severe enough to surpass this threshold, you can pursue pain and suffering damages.
There are several other exceptions to the rules that allow you to pursue noneconomic damages in the same way you could if you had full tort coverage. These exceptions include such things as the at-fault driver being convicted of drunk or drugged driving, the at-fault driver’s vehicle being registered in another state, or the at-fault driver not having any auto insurance.
Once we determine that you may qualify to pursue pain and suffering damages, we will collect evidence to prove it and begin to build a case that allows us to maximize this type of payout.
How much you can recover for pain and suffering damages depends on several factors, including:
- The facts of your case
- The severity and nature of your injuries
- How long your treatment and care last
- The economic value of your case
We know the most common ways to calculate a fair value for noneconomic damages, and to put a fair settlement value on your claim includes pain and suffering. We often use the economic losses you experienced as a basis for these calculations, so it is important that we uncover all accident-related expenses and document them adequately as a part of building the case.
Can I Win a Car Accident Settlement on My Own?
Car accident settlements can be extremely complicated to negotiate, especially if you do not have the experience and knowledge necessary to understand the full range of your losses and put an accurate, fair settlement value on your case. The Pennsylvania auto insurance system is one of the most complex in the nation to navigate. Unless you have a good understanding of how it works, you may leave a lot of money on the table.
While it is possible to negotiate a car accident settlement on your own after a Pittsburgh accident, your settlement may not cover the range of damages available to you and not be worth the stress and legwork necessary.
Determining how you can recover compensation after a Pennsylvania car accident can seem complicated, but there are just two terms you need to know: limited tort and full tort.
Because Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault state, you can either file a claim with your own insurer or file a claim against the at-fault driver. This is where full tort and limited tort come in.
If you have a full tort policy, you can recover compensation from the at-fault driver for all your damages—both economic and noneconomic. However, if you have limited tort, you must be able to prove you sustained a serious injury before you can recover noneconomic damages from the other driver. A serious injury is one that results in “death, serious impairment of body function, or permanent serious disfigurement.”
We can help you prove you meet the serious injury threshold or are otherwise eligible to collect the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
Our Pittsburgh car accident lawyers also handle truck accidents, motorcycle crashes, and bicycle and pedestrian crashes, although the insurance laws differ somewhat in each of those situations. Call us to learn more about how we can help you determine your best course of action after a crash.
What is the Average Car Accident Settlement?
There is no such thing as an average car accident settlement. Every car accident is different, and each car accident victim suffers different losses and expenses. This makes it impossible to calculate a payout for an “average” car accident or to put a possible value on your case until we have a better understanding of the damages you suffered.
The potential value of your car accident case depends greatly on your actual economic losses and expenses. These will be different for every car accident, even when two victims suffered similar injuries. There are many factors that contribute to your accident-related economic damages. This includes:
- The nature and severity of your injuries
- Whether you required ambulance or airlift transportation from the scene
- The cost of your treatment and related expenses
- How long you were away from work
- Your salary or usual pay
- If you can return to work after suffering serious injuries
- Your out-of-pocket expenses
- The value of your vehicle
- Whether your vehicle requires repair or replacement
Even after we investigate your case and put a price on your economic losses, there is more work to be done. We need to determine if you qualify to pursue noneconomic damages as a part of your claim. Pennsylvania’s “choice no-fault” car accident law limits the rights of some drivers when pursuing this type of damages. Pursuing noneconomic damages may be possible if:
- You opted for full tort insurance coverage
- You meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold
- You meet another exemption from the limited tort laws
If possible, we can help you collect evidence to show that you meet the criteria and pursue noneconomic damages on your behalf. Of course, because they are not based on actual expenses or financial losses, noneconomic damages are more difficult to value.
Our team knows how to put a fair value on your pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages. We know how insurance companies try to undercut these damages, and we will fight for the full value of your claim.
Every Pittsburgh car accident attorney from Berger and Green has extensive experience taking cases like yours to trial, but we generally try to resolve these cases with an out-of-court settlement when possible. Only once we prepare your case and are ready to file your claim will we understand what a just settlement will look like.
We can discuss the possible value of your case with you before settlement negotiations begin and keep you up to date about the progress of these negotiations throughout the process.
How Much Should I Ask for in a Car Accident Settlement?
Many people involved in car accidents in Pennsylvania require immediate medical attention. Some of these injuries are minor and might simply require stitches or an over-the-counter painkiller. Others, such as traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and burns, require critical care. The procedures to treat major injuries are complicated and expensive; between an ambulance ride, surgery, and an extended hospital stay, you may wind up with thousands of dollars in medical bills.
After you receive the lifesaving treatment you need, your medical bills are not likely to come to an end. Many Pittsburgh car wreck victims transfer to inpatient rehabilitation centers or even long-term care facilities. Even relatively minor injuries such as broken bones or soft tissue neck injuries like whiplash require physical therapy. Some people require ongoing care for weeks, months, or even the remainder of their lives. All of this requires money, and the costs add up quickly.
Unfortunately, it is not just the medical bills you have to worry about. After an accident, you may be off work for some time due to the nature of your injuries; if you lose your wages, paying those medical bills can feel overwhelming. Some people lose their jobs or suffer injuries severe enough they cannot return to their previous career. This makes it impossible to pay their household bills and support their family in the way they could before.
These expenses are why your insurance claim matters so much after a serious injury car crash in Pittsburgh. It is the easiest and quickest route to get the money you need and deserve.
Putting a price on your economic expenses and losses is not easy, however. This is especially true if you spent days or weeks receiving inpatient care. It is easy to lose track of your accident-related expenses or overlook an expense that you could recoup. To find out how much you should ask for in a car accident settlement, you will need to:
- Identify all of your damages
- Add up your accident-related expenses and losses
- Determine if you qualify to recover noneconomic damages
- Put a value on your pain and suffering, if eligible
We understand the complexities associated with this process. We will go through it with you step-by-step and will work with you to help you understand the potential settlement value of your case. Then, we can handle settlement negotiations on your behalf.
We encourage all accident victims to discuss their case with a car accident attorney before agreeing to a settlement.
How Will My Lawyer Calculate My Car Accident Damages?
Calculating car accident damages is one of the most important parts of building any car accident case. Forgetting to include damages, misplacing bills or receipts, overlooking expenses, and failing to put an accurate price on things can cause you to agree to a settlement that does not cover all your current expenses or leaves you paying for future expenses out of your own pocket.
When a Pittsburgh car accident attorney from Berger and Green takes on your case, a part of our job is to gather evidence and take a full accounting of your damages. This is necessary before we file an insurance claim on your behalf, because we need to know what a fair settlement offer will look like before we demand a payout from the insurer.
As a part of this process, we will take steps to identify your full range of expenses and losses and document them. This may require us to:
- Retrieve copies of all medical bills related to the accident
- Catalog all treatment-related expenses, including medical equipment rentals, medication, and other items
- Obtaining information about your normal pay, documenting your time away from work, and calculating lost wages
- Determining if you will likely return to your previous job in the future
- Looking at repair estimates for your vehicle or calculating a fair replacement cost
- Considering any other expenses related to your accident, injuries, or treatment
Because we want to recover the full value of your losses, and because we use the amount of your economic damages to help calculate your noneconomic damages, when available, it is imperative that we identify and document as many expenses related to your accident as possible. Some often-overlooked expenses may include:
- Parking at the doctor’s office or hospital
- Taking an Uber, Lyft, taxi, or bus to appointments because of damage to your car
- Rental car costs
- Necessary remodeling to make your home wheelchair-accessible
- Repair or replacement of personal items including your smartphone, eyeglasses, laptop, or other items in your vehicle at the time of the accident
Once we have a good idea of all your accident-related expenses and losses, we will add them up to get a fair value for your economic damages. This determines the range we will aim for if you have a limited tort policy. If you opted for full tort, suffered permanent or disfiguring injuries, or meet another exception to limited tort, we will also calculate the value of your noneconomic damages, including your pain and suffering losses.
How Long Will My Car Accident Case Take?
How long your car accident case takes depends greatly on how your case progresses. If we can reach an out-of-court settlement on your behalf, this is generally much faster than taking your case to court. However, whether this is possible in your case is not something we will know right away.
We will need to build a case to prove negligence and liability against the at-fault driver, and document your full range of damages. This requires us to investigate your accident, gathering evidence to support our argument for an out-of-court settlement or court award. This type of investigation takes time. We need to walk through many steps to identify, gather, and analyze evidence. This includes:
- Obtaining documents including the accident report, any police tickets or other documents, your relevant medical records, your medical bills, and more
- Interviewing witnesses
- Surveying the accident scene
- Securing any available video of the accident or photographs from the scene
- Identifying and working with experts, including accident reconstruction specialists, economists, and medical experts
- Analyzing damage to all vehicles involved
- Collecting evidence to prove your accident-related expenses and losses
Only once we conclude this investigation and have strong evidence to prove fault and a fair settlement value for your damages will we take action to pursue a payout.
We generally try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company first. We approach them with a demand for a fair payout, presenting the case we built to show their policyholder caused the accident and the full range of your damages. This usually begins the settlement negotiation process, and we can often recover a fair settlement after days or weeks of negotiations.
Sometimes settlement negotiations take longer because the insurance company:
- Denies their policyholder caused the accident
- Blames you for contributing to the accident
- Refuses to agree to a fair settlement agreement
When this happens, we may need to consider whether it is necessary to file an injury lawsuit in your case. Sometimes going to trial gives us the best chance of recovering a fair payout for car accident victims. However, this can take significantly longer than an out-of-court agreement.
Taking a car accident case to court can take months, and there may be significant delays during discovery or getting a trial date set. The timetable is dependent on the time available on the court’s docket. If this is the only way to pursue the recovery you deserve, though, it is worth the wait. We will be by your side throughout the process.
Do I Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident Case?
You might have to go to court to try to recover compensation in your Pittsburgh car accident case, but we can often reach an out-of-court settlement on behalf of our clients that prevents the need for filing a civil suit. No matter if your case ends in a negotiated, out-of-court settlement or with a trial, your Pittsburgh car accident lawyer from Berger and Green can represent you throughout the entirety of your case.
Our attorneys are trial attorneys and will prepare your case as if it was going before a judge, even when most of these cases settle outside the courtroom. This ensures we know we have the strongest case possible for you if we do need to take legal action.
If the insurance company denies their policyholder caused the accident or refuses to agree to a fair settlement agreement, we may need to discuss the possibility of filing a civil suit against the driver. We generally try to reach an out-of-court agreement in this type of case, but the insurance company does not always cooperate.
By the time we enter negotiations with the insurer, we know what a fair payout will look like based on the facts of your case. We will not accept a settlement offer that we do not believe is fair. We want to ensure you have the money you need to cover your past and future accident-related damages, including medical care and lost wages.
In some cases, simply taking the first step toward legal action is enough to convince the insurer they want to offer a more reasonable settlement offer. The at-fault driver and their insurance company do not want the expense of a trial or to spend the time only to lose their case and have to pay you anyway. For this reason, they may up their offer if we take legal action against them.
If your case does go to trial, you will have the same Berger and Green lawyer by your side that walked with you through the earlier stages of your case. They will ensure you know what to expect in court and help you prepare.
Your lawyer will present the facts of your case, from negligence and liability to the damages you suffered, to the Judge and jury. They will outline a strong case and ask the Judge to award a fair payout based on your actual losses and expenses.
How to Prove Fault
Proving fault in a Pittsburgh car accident can be somewhat complex, but it is necessary to ensure you can pursue and recover the compensation you need to pay your medical bills, cover lost wages, and more.
Under PA Code Title 75 (Section 1705 (d)), you can hold the at-fault motorist liable for your economic losses and expenses even if you opted for limited tort insurance and do not meet the criteria to recover noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering.
This requires proving fault by:
- Identifying the liable party or parties
- Proving they acted negligently
- Showing their negligence caused the accident
- Documenting your injuries and damages
When we take on an auto accident case, we will conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident and rely on all of our resources to prove fault. This may include:
- Surveying the accident site
- Interviewing witnesses
- Reviewing accident reports and other documents
- Analyzing the damage to each vehicle
- Working with accident reconstruction experts
- Taking other steps to learn as much about the accident as possible
Many of these steps will be difficult, if not impossible, for an individual trying to build a case against another driver. This is especially true if you are still undergoing treatment for serious injuries. Let us help and feel confident knowing that you have someone fighting for your best interests.
Even if it appears you may be to blame, whether it is the police ticket or the accident report pointing to you, you may not be entirely at-fault for the accident. We can review the facts of your case and help you understand what happened and whether you have options for pursuing compensation.
Do not immediately assume the blame for your car accident. Drunk drivers, defective tires or parts, dangerous road conditions, and improperly placed traffic signs have contributed to thousands of car accidents that occur in Pennsylvania every year. Even if you are partially at-fault for the accident, you may still recover money for damages and injuries.
Let Berger and Green Help You Prove Fault
If you have been in a car accident that has left you or a loved one seriously injured, or if a loved one has died as a result of the car collision, contact a car accident lawyer in Pittsburgh at Berger and Green. Call (412) 661-1400 today to get started with a free case review.