It is certainly nothing anyone wants to deal with, but most of us will be involved in an accident at some point in our lives. In fact, there was an average of 14 traffic accidents every hour in the state of Pennsylvania in 2014, reports the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). While some are mere fender benders, others are more serious; each day, 219 people were injured and three people were killed statewide in crashes.
If you or your loved one were recently involved in an accident, call Berger and Green for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Washington County. We can answer any questions you may have about filing a claim and explain what your legal options are. Contact us today at 412-661-1400.
What steps do I need to take after a car accident in Washington County?
The aftermath of a car accident is often somewhat of a blur. There are a lot of things to deal with. Getting to safety and seeking medical attention is the priority, but then there will be an onslaught of other things to tend to like giving your information to the police, informing the insurance company about the accident, and getting your car repaired. If you suffered serious injuries, there will also be many physical, emotional, and financial issues to face.
After you have addressed your immediate medical needs, there are a couple of initial steps you will want to take after a car accident.
First, if possible, start gathering any information or evidence about the crash that you can. This includes a copy of the police report, the other driver’s information, photos or video of the scene, and eyewitness contact information.
Next, you will need to report the accident to the insurance company and begin the claims process. Only provide the basic facts to the insurance representative. Assume that the representative is recording everything you say to use against you later.
You do not want to admit fault (even if you think you were partly to blame, you do not know all the facts of the case, yet), nor do you want to give definitive information about your medical conditions (your medical conditions may not have fully manifested and you do not have a clear picture of the long-term effects yet.)
Many car accident victims unwittingly say things to the insurer that thwart their chances of collecting compensation. It is good practice to speak to a lawyer before you talk to the insurance company to avoid any mishaps. We can coach you on what to say and what not to say or just handle all communication with the insurer.
What types of losses can I seek reimbursement for?
The types of reimbursement available to you depend on a couple of factors, namely, what types of insurance coverage the involved parties have and who was at fault for the accident.
Pennsylvania insurance law is complicated. It is a “choice-no-fault” state, which means policyholders can elect whether they want to stick with a full tort policy or pay a little less for a limited tort policy. Those who choose full tort can recover far more in the event of an accident because they retain the right to collect pain and suffering damages.
Some of the losses you may be able to recover include:
- Medical expenses: You should be able to recover your medical and rehabilitation expenses under your own medical benefits coverage and/or under the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.
- Loss of income: Wage loss coverage is optional in PA, so if you miss work due to your injuries, you may or may not be able to recover those expenses.
- Property damage: Damage to your vehicle is compensable either under your own collision coverage (if you carry it) or under the other party’s property damage liability coverage (if s/he is at fault).
- Pain and suffering: You can only collect pain and suffering damages from an at-fault party when your injuries meet certain criteria or you have a full tort policy.
We will help you determine the value of your claim, which insurance company to file a claim with, and how to maximize your recovery.
Do I need a lawyer for my car accident?
If your accident was minor and no one was injured, you can probably get by without a lawyer. However, if there were injuries, fatalities, or substantial property damage, there is a lot more at stake so you will certainly want to consult a lawyer.
Car accident claims are not always simple or straightforward. The parties may argue about fault, the insurance company could dispute the extent of your injuries, and you might not be clear about what your rights are. It is also not uncommon for insurance companies to offer you a settlement that is lower than what you deserve, in hopes you will settle quickly out of desperation.
We will protect your rights and help you pursue full and fair compensation. Because we offer comprehensive service (with no upfront legal expenses on your part), we can assist with various important tasks, such as:
- Collecting evidence
- Proving fault
- Drafting and filing paperwork
- Calculating your damages
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Reviewing any settlement offers to see if they are fair
If we cannot reach a fair settlement, we can take the case to court and continue to fight on your behalf. Our lawyers are not only savvy negotiators but also skilled litigators. We have a genuine passion for helping injured people and families in Washington County, and we have won substantial verdicts and settlements for our clients.
What types of car accident cases does Berger and Green handle?
Berger and Green handles all types of auto accident cases, even the most serious. In addition to common passenger car wrecks, some of the cases we can assist with include:
- Accidents involving large trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicycles
- Drunk driving accidents
- Distracted driving accidents
- Multi-car collisions
- Accidents caused by faulty roadways or defective auto parts
Call our office today 412-661-1400 for a free consultation to discuss how we may be of service to you.