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  • Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers

    Serving Clients Throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania Including in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading.

    Many people spend a lot of time in their vehicles and, because of this, may experience an auto accident at some point in their lifetime. Although driving can be a dangerous activity, certain behaviors make the roadways even riskier.

    Causes of Car Accidents

    There are multiple reasons why a car accident might occur, and not all of them point to driver error. Sometimes there are conditions outside the vehicle that play a major role in the cause of an accident. However, there are accidents caused by irresponsible drivers. Causes of car accidents include the following:

    • Distracted driving: Driving while distracted includes the driver participating in any activity that takes their attention away from the road. The most common distraction is talking on the phone, although recently texting while driving has also become a major problem. Many states have made it illegal to text while driving. Other states have also made it illegal to talk on the phone unless the driver is using a headset or a hands-free device. Other forms of distracted driving include eating while driving and performing other morning routine activities, such as shaving or applying make-up.
    • Aggressive driving: Driving aggressively is one of the most dangerous types of driving. This behavior can lead to an accident and also road rage in other drivers. Aggressive driving constitutes a motorist weaving in and out of traffic to get somewhere as quickly as possible or exiting parking lots or other confined spaces at a faster speed than is considered safe. Given the increased adrenaline that can occur while on the road, it has been reported that approximately seven percent of all road rage incidents result in a physical confrontation between the two parties.
    • Drowsy driving: Driving while tired is a common problem that affects all drivers and is often seen in long-haul truck drivers. Federal regulations limit the amount of time truck drivers can be on the road before they must take a break. Some elect to continue driving beyond their time limit, whereas others are pressured by their employers to keep on schedule. However, all drivers can fall asleep at the wheel and cause havoc on the road. Drivers of passenger vehicles can be impacted by drowsy driving as well, especially if they are driving outside of hours when they are usually awake. If a person is driving late at night or early in the morning, their chances of falling asleep at the wheel are greater.
    • Drunk or impaired driving: This type of problem has been the target of numerous campaigns by governments and private organizations and has led to numerous road deaths in the United States. It is illegal for someone to get behind the wheel if they had too much to drink or took any illegal drugs. Even some prescription drugs make driving dangerous. Drugs and alcohol will impact a person’s reflexes and reaction time, meaning they may not be able to brake in time in an emergency. If a person is found to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it could lead to an arrest and criminal charges.
    • Failure to signal: Although failing to signal might seem to be a more common infraction and in some cases, the least consequential, it could have severe ramifications to other drivers. Failing to alert fellow drivers that a motorist is planning to change lanes or make a turn means the surrounding vehicles are unable to prepare for the upcoming change. That means someone in the next lane might be accelerating to move ahead while the other driver is merging into the lane. Failing to signal can result in several major accidents on the road.
    • Reckless or careless driving: Although similar to aggressive driving, reckless driving can lead to accidents; careless driving can be the result of distracted driving. In both instances, a driver is not paying attention to the road or the traffic around them and making decisions, which can cause significant accidents depending on the location and the amount of traffic on the road at the time. In some instances, reckless driving can rise to the level of police involvement.
    • Speeding: Another common violation is speeding. It is a dangerous practice that can lead to accidents. When a driver speeds, they reduce the amount of time they have to react to a situation. It also limits a vehicle’s ability to stop in time, even if the driver reacts properly. Overall, speeding is the cause of about a quarter of all accidents. Speeding is dangerous enough for car drivers, but it is an even greater issue for those who drive massive trucks and other large vehicles. Although it takes large trucks time to speed up, it also takes them much longer to slow down.

    Not all accidents are the result of problems with the driver. There are some instances when outside factors can lead to a problem on the road, such as:

    • Weather conditions: Bad weather conditions can cause massive traffic accidents when ice and rain result in slick surfaces on the road. High winds can also push cars and trucks into oncoming traffic or adjacent lanes. Heavy rain or snow can also limit visibility. A driver must consider any inclement weather and determine whether it is safe to drive.
    • Product defects: There have been cases in which a defect in the manufacturing of a vehicle causes an accident. A driver might lose control of the vehicle through no fault of their own. In the case of a defect, the responsibility for the accident and injuries rests with the car company or the manufacturer, depending on the origin of the defect.

    Types of Car Accidents

    m Accidents can range in severity from minor fender benders to multiple-car pileups. These accidents can lead to a variety of issues, from minor injuries to permanent injury and even death. The various types of car accidents are as follows:

    • Hit and run accidents: During these accidents, one of the parties, usually the aggressor, flees the scene either immediately following an accident or during the commission of it. This is a crime and can result in criminal charges against the person. Under those circumstances, the parties involved are unable to exchange insurance information. If possible, the victim should write down the fleeing driver’s license plate so that the police can track the person down.
    • Rear-end accidents: These are usually the result of the driver not paying attention to the road. Someone might be stopped for a red light and the driver behind fails to stop in time. These accidents could also be the result of a person changing lanes and failing to look ahead of them. Although they are common, rear-end accidents are easily preventable with alert and attentive driving. In most cases, a rear-end accident can be avoided by moving into an empty adjacent lane or the shoulder.
    • Multi-vehicle accidents: Accidents involving several vehicles are a problem in more ways than one. Not only can they be a headache for all involved, but they can be a legal and liability challenge. Typically, an incident on the road occurs, which results in a chain reaction that causes the multi-vehicle pileup. These types of accidents occur mostly when there is greater congestion on the roads. The liability complexity comes from multiple accidents occurring at once. A driver could get rear-ended by a vehicle; in which case the victim can file an insurance claim against that person. However, the driver might hit the person in front of them, who can file an insurance claim against them.
    • Sideswipe accidents: A sideswipe accident is the result of a driver changing lanes and impacting a driver in that lane. This accident usually occurs because the driver does not see the other person because they are in that person’s blind spot.
    • T-bone accidents: These are intersection accidents and happen when a driver is not paying attention to the traffic signal in front of them. A driver may run a red light or a stop sign and either impact oncoming traffic or encounter a vehicle entering the intersection. All drivers must pay close attention to traffic signals and their fellow drivers to avoid these types of collisions.
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    It is important to note that after an accident, it may be unclear that someone sustained an injury until much later. Some injuries do not fully manifest until days or weeks later. It is important to seek medical help immediately after an accident, even if the accident was considered minor.

    What can Victims Receive in a Liability Case?

    When someone is injured in a car accident, their entire life can change, and they could be facing a financial hardship for which they were not prepared. A car accident lawyer can help make sure that the victim and their family are not impacted financially because of the accident. When a lawyer takes the case, there are a few financial areas that will be addressed so that the victim can recoup any losses sustained:

    • Medical bills: The person responsible for causing the accident should be responsible for the victim’s medical bills. The injured party should not be made to file a claim through their health insurance, nor should their automobile insurance pay for their medical bills. The victim should keep a record of all medical bills accumulated because of the accident, and the lawyer will include them in the liability case.
    • Continuing medical care: A lawyer can consult with the victim’s doctors to determine the extent of the injuries, as well as what additional costs that might be incurred as a result because of future surgeries, doctor visits, and physical therapy. It might take some victims months or even years to recover.
    • Lost wages: If the accident forces the victim to lose work for an extended period, they are entitled to lost earnings. Moreover, if the victim can no longer work, they are entitled to the amount of money they would have made over the remaining course of their career.
    • Pain and suffering: This is a non-economic hardship that most victims endure after they suffer an accident. There are long-term psychological effects that can impact a person’s relationships and their quality of life. Some victims may even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can last long after the accident.
    • Punitive damages: These damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for their reckless behavior.

    Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers protect the rights of families impacted by the loss of a loved one to a negligent driver.

    Options If a Loved One Died in an Accident

    A victim’s family has two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident. However, only certain individuals are eligible to file such a suit. Immediate family is the first group, which includes spouses, children, parents, and grandparents. The next group is extended family that might have been dependent on the deceased. Lastly, heirs or administrators of the deceased’s estate may sue.

    It is important to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible so that they can work with the family to build a strong case with plenty of time before the two-year deadline expires.

    What Should Victims Do After an Accident?

    Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers secure maximum compensation for victims of car accidents.

    It can be a traumatic experience to be involved in an accident. As stressful as it might be, it is important that the victim remains calm and follows a few simple steps. Following these steps will enable the victim to better collect evidence and data that will be needed in pursuing the case:

    • Call 911: If you feel pain or discomfort, all victims should seek medical help. Usually, there will be an EMT on the scene who will perform a preliminary examination and make a recommendation whether the victim should go to the hospital. If the EMT releases the victim on the scene, they should still see their own doctor the next day to verify that they did not sustain any major injuries.
    • Get out of the road: If possible, victims should remove themselves and their vehicles from the road. In instances in which a vehicle is inoperable, police will assist in clearing the road.
    • Report the accident to the insurance company: Insurance companies require that drivers inform them about all accidents after they occur. However, a victim is not responsible for providing the insurance company with all the details associated with the accident. Many insurance companies like to manipulate the victim’s story to the company’s advantage. A car accident lawyer can help the victim provide the necessary information to the insurance company.
    • Take pictures of the scene: Someone should take pictures and video of the scene. This will help the lawyer in gathering the evidence needed in litigating the case. This type of evidence cannot be obtained from the accident report, as the police are required only to determine fault in an accident and usually provide minor details in the report.
    • Exchange insurance information: The victim should speak with all of those involved in the accident and collect their personal and insurance information. This is essential to know who insures the other drivers so that a claim can be filed. Some motorists may drive without insurance, which is illegal. The police officer on the scene should be informed if it appears one of the drivers does not have insurance.
    • Find eyewitnesses: One of the best ways to help an investigation is to find any eyewitnesses at the scene and get their information. A lawyer can gather information about the events that led to the accident that will help the case.
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    Although it is a challenge for the victim of a car accident to remember all these steps and to execute them, they are important. If the victim is unable to perform these essential steps, a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the accident can assist. Drivers might want to keep a copy of these steps in their vehicle in case of an accident. The more information that can be gathered at the time of the accident, the stronger the victim’s case will be. That increases the ability to collect any award for lost wages that might have occurred because of the accident.

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    What to do if you are in an Auto Accident

    • Call police immediately
    • Exchange necessary information
    • Get names and addresses of witnesses
    • Seek necessary medical attention
    • Notify your insurance company
    • Take pictures of damage
    • Call for prompt legal help

    Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers advocate for injured accident victims.

    Types of Car Accident Injuries

    Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers always fight hard for their clients impacted by car accident injuries.

    The types of injuries someone can sustain during an accident can range from mild to severe. If you feel pain or discomfort, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to get an official diagnosis. If someone is severely injured at the scene, it is important not to move until help arrives. EMTs on the scene will know how best to move a victim so not to exacerbate their injuries. Common types of car accident injuries include:

    • Broken bones: Broken bones are the most common injury during an accident. Sometimes significant bruising can mask a broken bone. A doctor can verify the full extent of the victim’s injuries.
    • Cuts and scrapes: While seemingly minor, cuts and scrapes may lead to more significant injuries if left untreated.
    • Head injuries: Injuries involving the head can be the most dangerous because they are the most difficult to detect. Immediately after an injury, a driver may feel fine but have no idea they sustained a head injury, that is why a follow-up appointment with a doctor is necessary.
    • Neck and muscle Injuries: A car accident victim may suffer neck and muscle injuries, like whiplash. Often, the symptoms of these injuries do not appear until days later. These injuries are caused by the forceful back and forth motion many experience in a car accident. Victims might find themselves having a difficult time concentrating or getting to sleep, suffering neck pain or stiffness, experience loss of motion in the neck or back, and suffer from headaches, tingling, fatigue, or dizziness. If you suspect you have whiplash or other head, neck, and back injuries, you should see a doctor or go to the hospital immediately. Medical professionals will perform tests to determine the extent of the victim’s injuries. It is important to keep a copy of those reports.
    • Herniated disks: A herniated disk may occur because of a car accident and can cause excruciating pain in the back, which will not go away. Hospitals and doctors will have to conduct imaging tests to determine the extent of any damage to the victim’s back.
    • Burns: Burns can be painful and life-altering, depending on their severity. If they are severe enough, the victim may be hospitalized for an extended stay or require surgery to repair damaged skin.
    • Internal bleeding: This is another hidden injury that can cause irreparable damage if left untreated. If internal bleeding is detected, doctors must act quickly. Internal bleeding can be a sign of damage to an internal organ. A doctor or hospital will be able to detect internal bleeding.
    • Arm and Leg trauma: Injury to the hands, wrists, arms, or legs is a common injury during a car accident given the type of damage vehicles traditionally sustain. As with all injuries, obtaining medical treatment quickly will increase chances of recovery.
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    Some car accidents will not result in severe injuries, but many can cause significant hardships for victims. Some victims may be forced to stay home from work or even go on disability, resulting in lost wages and more expenses.

    Types of Accidents Involving Other Vehicles

    Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers advocate for injured car accident victims throughout Pennsylvania.

    When on the road, drivers need to be mindful of all vehicles around them. Another driver’s carelessness can lead to an accident. Types of accidents involving other vehicles include the following:

    • Ridesharing accidents: Someone may be involved in an accident as a passenger in a ridesharing vehicle (like Uber or Lyft) or a taxi. The drivers of taxi and ridesharing vehicles must be insured. If involved in an accident in this situation, the victim will need to file a claim against the ridesharing or taxi driver, even if they were not at-fault. The victim should also file a claim against the driver who is at-fault. And, potentially, the victim may need to file a claim against the ridesharing or taxi companies.
    • Bicycle accidents: Some bicyclists travel on roads that are not intended for them. Others do not obey stop signs and red lights. This makes it difficult for a driver to maneuver around them on the road. Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings when trying to pass a cyclist. Drivers should make sure there is no oncoming traffic and watch out for a bicyclist who quickly darts out into traffic.
    • Motorcycle accidents: Although not as flexible as bicyclists, motorcycles are still dangerous given how difficult it is to see them on the road. Many motorcyclists also tend to weave in and out of traffic and travel between lanes. Extreme caution needs to be exercised when driving near motorcyclists.
    • Pedestrian accidents: There is always a risk of hitting a pedestrian, especially if they dart out into the middle of traffic, jaywalk, or run across a busy road when they think it is clear. Pedestrians need to be given their space when they are on the side of the road or trying to cross. Drivers must keep in mind that pedestrians in the cross walk have the right of way. In some states, it is required that drivers yield to give pedestrians the opportunity to cross.
    • Truck and bus accidents: These can take place for a variety of reasons, including distracted or drowsy driving, tire blowouts, failed brakes, speeding, overloaded trucks, or bad weather conditions. Because these vehicles are much larger than passenger cars, injuries can be catastrophic.
    • Trailer and carrier accidents: There are two different targets for liability in these accidents. One focus is on the companies that hook up the trailers. If they fail to do it properly and an accident occurs, the company could be held liable for any damages that result. The driver can still be liable if they cause an accident by driving in an inappropriate manner.

    Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers advocate for car accident victims fighting for justice.

    What is the Best Way to Avoid a Traffic Accident?

    There are certain steps that drivers can take to avoid the conditions that lead to an accident. Motorists should always remain focused on the road whenever they are driving. If the phone is too much of a distraction, notifications can be turned off until it is safe to use the phone. If someone has been out drinking, they should not drive. Consider a taxi, rideshare service, or designated driver.

    If a major storm develops while someone is driving or visibility suddenly deteriorates, the best move is to pull over until the visibility improves. It might make sense to find a place to spend a few hours or the night until conditions improve.

    Types of Auto Insurance

    The laws in Pennsylvania have changed dramatically in recent years and the insurance coverage you choose will drastically affect whether you and your family are protected in the event of an accident. Our clients often say they are “fully covered” for accidents. Too often, they find out later they are not protected. It is up to you to make the right choices about insurance coverage. The best way for you to make these choices is to understand exactly what you are buying and whether you need it.

    How Do I Know What Coverage I Have?

    Every insurance policy comes with a “Declaration Sheet” that lists the coverage you have. This usually is one or two pages with individual typewritten, not pre-printed, information. It is a kind of laundry list that tells you the specific types of coverage you have; the amount of each type of coverage; and the cost, or premium, of each coverage for each vehicle on the policy.

    You need to understand this “Declaration Sheet” and know the coverage options it sets out. Although an insurance agent can sometimes offer useful information, you are the one who makes the ultimate decisions about the coverage that is important to you.

    Understanding Insurance Coverages

    The best way to understand insurance coverages is to think of your insurance policy as a large chest of drawers. Each drawer represents a type of coverage. You have the: Liability (Bodily Injury) Drawer; Underinsured Motorist Drawer; Property Damage Drawer; and so on.

    You must decide how much coverage you need and can afford for each drawer. Just because one drawer has a lot of coverage does not mean that they all do. Likewise, there may be drawers that have coverage you do not want or need. Keep in mind that you pay for every drawer that has something in it. You will see on your Declaration Sheet that there is a separate charge, or premium, for each coverage. These all are added up at the bottom for a total annual, or six-month premium.

    Below are some of the different coverages you will find on most insurance policies.

    • Liability (Bodily Injury): This coverage protects you from claims made against you by someone you injure in an accident that is your fault. Without this coverage, you would be responsible to pay damages to those injured in the accident. Insurance companies must make coverages available in the following range: $15,000/30,000 to $100,000/300,000. The first number represents the limit any one person can collect for an accident and the second number is the total amount the insurance company will pay for an accident in which more than one person is injured. An insurance company may offer higher limits, but there is no requirement that it do so.
    • Property Damage: This coverage protects you from claims made against you by someone whose property you damage in an accident that is your fault. Insurance companies must make this coverage available for at least $5,000. There is no range of coverage listed in the law but most companies offer a variety of coverages up to $50,000.
    • Medical Expenses: This coverage pays for the medical bills of you and your family, regardless of who was at-fault in the accident. The range of coverages that insurance companies must offer is from

    $5,000 to $100,000. These medical expenses include hospitalization, surgical, chiropractic, ambulance, physical therapy, psychiatric, psychological, medications, medical supplies, prosthetic devices, audiology, speech pathology, osteopathic, dental, occupational therapy, optometric services, and nursing services. These bills should be paid by your insurance company within 30 days after it receives reasonable proof that the medical expense was required for necessary treatment

    • Uninsured Motorist: This coverage protects you and your family if you are injured by a careless driver who has no insurance. It also covers you if the accident is caused by an unidentified driver who flees the accident scene. This option pays for pain and suffering, uncompensated medical expenses, uncompensated wage loss or the permanent decrease in your ability to perform work, and other damages. The insurance company must offer coverages in the following range: $15,000/30,000 to $100,000/300,000. However, your coverage cannot be at a higher amount than your Liability (Bodily Injury) coverage. Coverage of $100,000/300,000 or higher is recommended.
    • Underinsured Motorist: This coverage protects you and your family if you are injured by a careless driver who has low coverage. Suppose the person who hits you has only the bare minimum of insurance. This may not come close to compensating your losses. In this situation, underinsured motorist coverage allows you and your family an additional source of coverage in the event the other driver’s insurance is not enough to cover your losses. Insurance companies must offer you coverage from $15,000/30,000 to $100,000/300,000. Underinsured Motorist coverage cannot be at a higher amount than your Liability.
    • Full Tort or Limited Tort: A tort is a legal term that means a “wrong” or injury to a person. For example, if you hit someone’s car and hurt them, you have committed a tort against that person. You must choose on your policy between Full Tort or Limited Tort coverage. If you choose Limited Tort, you give up your right to claim important compensation for injuries caused by another driver unless your injuries are deemed serious. A serious injury is one resulting in death, serious impairment of a bodily function, or permanent serious impairment.
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    For a comprehensive discussion of Auto Insurance and your rights, download a free copy of our booklet: Auto Insurance – Understanding Your Policy and Rights.

    Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Seek Justice for Victims of Car Accidents

    If you were injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and ensure that you receive the assistance you deserve. Our dedicated team will explain the claims process and address all your questions and concerns. For a free consultation, call 800-222-8792 or contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we proudly help clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.