Every driver has a responsibility to maintain their vehicle in a safe and working condition. Not doing so constitutes negligence, and they may be responsible if their inaction leads to a car accident. Failing to replace worn tires, for example, can lead to tire tread separation and a serious crash.
If you suffered injuries because of another driver’s inadequate vehicle maintenance, Pennsylvania law allows you to hold them responsible for compensatory damages. In some cases, you may also be able to recover pain and suffering damages. An inadequate vehicle maintenance accident lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA, can help you pursue fair payment for your losses.
At Berger and Green, our car accident lawyers can help you understand who is liable for your car accident injuries and explain your options for compensation. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
Recoverable Damages After an Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance Accident
Our attorneys are well-versed in Pennsylvania’s choice no-fault auto insurance system. We can explain your options and help you understand how to get the maximum payout based on the circumstance of your accident.
Filing a Claim Based on Your No-Fault Policy
Every driver in Pennsylvania must carry a no-fault policy to cover their medical care following a crash. You can file a claim based on this policy no matter who caused the crash or any other factors. It will pay for your initial medical care, up to the limits of the policy.
Filing a Claim for Economic Damages
You can file a claim for economic damages if:
- You suffered additional damages not covered by your no-fault policy;
- You have proof of negligence and liability against the other party; and
- You opted for either full tort or limited tort
The economic damages available through this type of claim include:
- Any remaining expenses related to your medical care;
- Lost wages;
- Property damages, including the repair or replacement of your vehicle;
- The cost of a rental car while yours is in the shop; and
- Other related expenses.
Filing a Claim for Non-Economic Damages
You can also file a claim for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages if:
- You carry full tort auto insurance coverage; or
- You meet one of the limited tort exceptions in the state auto insurance law.
This is important because the non-economic damages in a car accident case can be significantly larger than the economic damages. We can review your situation and determine if you meet the state’s serious injury threshold or another exception to the limited tort rules.
Proving Liability in a Pittsburgh Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance Accident Case
Inadequate vehicle maintenance can cause auto accidents in a number of ways. Improper maintenance or neglect can cause almost any vehicle component or part to fail. We have all spotted a loose bumper held on with tape or a bungee cord while driving on the interstate. Some components, of course, are more important to safe operation than others. These include:
- Steering components; and
- Headlights, brake lights, tail lights, and turn signals.
If we can prove the driver failed to maintain their vehicle in proper working order, we can hold them responsible for the damages you suffered by filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
If the improperly maintained vehicle was a commercial truck, the legal doctrine of respondeat superior allows us to hold the trucker’s employer liable. Under respondeat superior, employers are responsible when employees behave negligently. This means we file our claim based on the trucking company’s large corporate liability policy instead of a driver’s individual coverage.
Collecting Evidence and Filing Your Claim Based on Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance
Our team investigates every car accident case we handle. Our goal is to build a strong case to show the at-fault party acted negligently. This allows us to hold them liable for the damages they caused, and fight for the full value of compensation you deserve.
When investigating a crash that involved inadequate vehicle maintenance, we:
- Identify and analyze all possible physical evidence;
- Send a survey team to document the scene of the accident and recover any remaining evidence;
- Request copies of the police report, your medical records, and other relevant documents;
- Enlist the help of accident reconstruction specialists to demonstrate what caused the crash;
- Call in automotive industry engineers and other experts to analyze the other driver’s vehicle; and
- Collect copies of bills, receipts, estimates, and other documents showing your damages.
Once we feel confident in the strength of the case we built against the liable driver, we send a demand letter to their insurance company. This letter outlines our case against the driver and explains your damages—including non-economic damages if you are eligible. The insurance company typically responds with a counter-offer, which begins the settlement negotiation process. This back-and-forth negotiation continues until the insurer agrees to a fair settlement.
If the insurance company in your case refuses a fair payout, we can file a personal injury lawsuit. This allows us to present our case to a judge and jury, and ask them to award us a fair payout based on the facts of your case.
Talk to an Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance Accident Lawyer in Pittsburgh.
If you believe your accident and injuries occurred because another driver failed to keep their vehicle in safe, working order, the statute of limitations allows you two years to take legal action and hold them accountable. We encourage you to act quickly, so we can get started investigating your accident as soon as possible.
At Berger and Green, we offer complimentary consultations. We can help you understand your options for compensation after a Pittsburgh car accident. If you qualify for non-economic damages, we will pursue the maximum compensation possible in your case. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for your free case review.