Car accidents often lead to devastating injuries and fatalities. When you are involved in a serious car accident, there is a lot you need to deal with, such as treating your injuries, dealing with missed time from work, repairing your car, and filing your car accident claim. It can be very overwhelming and stressful, especially when you are recovering from an injury.
One of the first steps you need to take after a car accident is to call a West Mifflin car accident lawyer and briefly review your options. Most car accident lawyers, including those at Berger and Green, offer free initial consultations. A lawyer will be able to quickly review the facts of your accident, explain what your legal options are, and provide counsel on how to best proceed to maximize your recovery.
To speak with an auto accident lawyer at Berger and Green, call 412-661-1400.
How do car accident claims work in West Mifflin?
Pennsylvania is a “choice no-fault” state, which means that when you are in an accident in West Mifflin, you have a couple of options for filing your claim. If you are at-fault for the accident, you will need to turn to your own insurance company for recovery. Your medical benefits coverage will pay for your medical bills. If you have income loss benefits coverage and collision coverage, you can also recover a portion of your lost wages and the cost of your vehicle repairs.
If another party was at-fault, you have additional options for recovery. While you can always file with your own insurer, you can also file a liability claim against the other driver and recover under the policyholder’s bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverages.
Of course, you will need to be able to prove the other driver was at fault if the insurance company or driver disputes your claim. Your Berger and Green attorney can help you gather the evidence necessary to support your case and negotiate with the insurance company for the highest settlement possible.
When is the other driver liable for my injuries?
Car accident liability claims hinge on the concept of negligence. That is, a victim can only hold another driver (i.e., the defendant) liable when the s/he was negligent or careless, and when the his/her negligence caused or contributed to the accident. Negligence, in legal terms, simply means neglecting one’s duty of care to act in a reasonably safe manner. There are various things drivers can do that are considered negligence under the law. Here are just a few examples:
- Driving while intoxicated
- Texting and driving
- Daydreaming or driving while sleepy
- Fumbling with the radio or looking around for something in the car
- Eating or grooming while driving
- Not paying attention, e.g., looking at things on the roadside
- Speeding and driving too fast for conditions
How do I prove the other driver’s negligence?
Any information that points to causation for the accident and that ties the defendant’s actions to the accident can be evidence in a car accident claim.
For example, the police report and breathalyzer results will show if the other driver was intoxicated. A report will also note if the other driver received any citations for any traffic violations. If you think the driver caused the accident because he was texting or on his phone, we can subpoena the phone records to confirm it. Sometimes, there is even video footage of the accident we can acquire from traffic or security cameras that will be helpful in proving fault.
Much depends on the specifics of your case. Begin collecting all the evidence and documents you can, including eyewitness contact information and statements they made about the accident, photos of the damage to the cars, photos/records of your injuries, and your recollection of what happened (do this as soon as possible after the accident).
How much will I receive for my auto accident claim?
The amount you can recover after a car accident depends on several factors including the details of the auto insurance policy, whether you contributed to the accident, the severity of your injuries, and your lawyer’s ability to accurately portray your losses to the insurer or court.
The policy’s limits will cap your settlement. If you file a claim against a driver who only carries the minimum coverage, you can recover up to $15,000 in medical expenses and up to $5,000 in property damage.
You can also take your claim to court to file against the at-fault driver for additional recovery. If you have a full tort policy, you can recover pain and suffering damages in addition to your monetary losses. Pain and suffering damages can increase a settlement or verdict exponentially. They are often one to five times the amount of your financial losses, depending on the severity of your injuries.
If you have a limited tort policy, our team can help you prove you suffered a serious injury and are therefore entitled to request damages for pain and suffering.
You may be entitled to various damages, including those for:
- Current and future medical and rehabilitation costs
- Loss of wages and long-term disability
- Household services
- Transportation expenses for medical care
- Loss of quality of life
You and your lawyer should be as thorough as possible when calculating the value of your case. This can be particularly tricky when estimating the value of your future medical needs and loss of wages. Our team at Berger and Green can analyze your case, work with financial experts to estimate future damages, and create a comprehensive demand for damages so that you receive an appropriate award.
Do I need a West Mifflin lawyer for my car accident?
Claims entail a lot of paperwork, deadlines, and negotiation that our attorneys are well-trained for. There are also a lot of losses you may be able to recover that a lawyer can point out. Many claimants represented by attorneys can collect much larger settlements than those who file on their own.
Our attorneys at Berger and Green have been helping people in and around West Mifflin with their auto accident cases for over 40 years. We know how to deal with insurance companies and maximize our clients’ recoveries. We can assist you with all the legal aspects of a claim and alleviate a lot of the burden of paperwork and collecting evidence so that you can focus on getting better. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 for a free consultation.