Getting into an auto accident can be frightening and confusing. On top of dealing with injuries, missing work, and car repairs, insurance companies start calling and asking for statements.
If you have been in an auto accident, you should think twice before signing anything or giving a statement to insurance companies. Instead, take a moment to reach out to an experienced auto accident lawyer. A lawyer can take away some of the worry so that you can focus on getting on with your life.
Our attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP recommend that anyone involved in an accident take the following steps:
Anyone involved in an auto accident should take the following steps:
At the scene of an accident, if possible, speak with the other driver briefly to exchange names, addresses, car registration, license information, license plate number, and proof of insurance. However, never admit fault or discuss the circumstances of the accident. Just saying that you are sorry can be used to show that you admitted fault for the accident. It is also helpful to collect evidence by taking photographs of the damage and road conditions.
You should contact a lawyer after an auto accident if it results in any of the following:
You should also contact a lawyer if you obtain a police report that has details you dispute or if it is not at all clear who was a fault for the accident.
If your insurance company has questions about who is liable for an accident, or if multiple insurers disagree on liability concerns, contact a lawyer.
If you have any doubts, you should contact a lawyer sooner rather than later because of several time elements involved. The clock starts ticking after an accident with respect to getting medical attention, collecting evidence, and filing a case before the statute of limitations expires. The longer you wait to get medical attention, the more reasons an insurance company can argue that your medical problems were not caused by the accident. Evidence and witness accounts can be lost over time.
It is also important to keep in mind that in Pennsylvania, you have only two years from the accident to file your case in court. Otherwise, you lose your rights to file a lawsuit.
Prompt investigation and the preservation of evidence are the best way to protect your legal rights. There is no reason to wait because most lawyers will not charge you a fee for an initial consultation. After discussing the facts of your case, an experienced auto accident lawyer should be able to advise you regarding whether to pursue the matter.
At Galfand Berger LLP, we know auto law inside and out.
Insurance companies make extra money when they unjustly deny claims. At Galfand Berger LLP, we do not let them get away with such tactics. We fight every day for our clients to receive justice.
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, drivers must purchase a minimum amount of insurance coverage:
Minimum coverage amounts include:
New Jersey residents also have these mandatory coverages:
Minimum coverage amounts include:
Pennsylvania residents must also carry:
UM/UIM coverage is available in Pennsylvania, but it is not mandatory.
In addition to these minimum requirements, insurance companies in both states must also offer options for higher liability coverage limits.
With limited tort coverage, drivers give up their right to claim compensation for injuries caused by another driver unless the injuries are deemed “serious.” A “serious” injury is one resulting in death, disfigurement, serious impairment of a bodily function, or permanent impairment. While there are several exceptions to this limitation, drivers who choose limited tort rarely receive compensation for all their injuries and damages caused by an accident.
Drivers who select full tort have no limitations on their rights to make a claim for someone else’s negligence in a car accident.
Galfand Berger LLP strongly recommends that you do not give up your rights to compensation by choosing limited tort coverage. If you do, the insurance company of the at-fault driver may not have to compensate your losses, including pain and suffering. It is always better to fully protect yourself by choosing full tort coverage.
Additionally, since Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule, injured claimants cannot obtain damages if they are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. This law influences car insurance claims as well as court verdicts.
A legal advocate can help you in maximizing insurance coverages and recover the highest amount of compensation in an accident. Talk to a lawyer before you renew your current insurance policy. Coverage is especially important when an automobile accident involves a truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, or an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
Get a head start! Read our free booklet: Auto Insurance: Understanding Your Policy & Rights.
Accidents involving commercial trucks are different from two-car accidents because they often result in more devastating injuries. More than two-thirds of the individuals who die in truck accidents are passenger vehicle occupants. Another 15 percent are people riding bicycles, motorcycles, or pedestrians.
Furthermore, it is much more difficult and complicated to establish who is liable for damages in accidents involving commercial trucks. The complexity of establishing liability stems from two reasons:
Some of the parties that may be held liable in a commercial truck accident include not only the truck driver, but also the trucking company, the leasing company, the truck’s maintenance company, and companies responsible for loading the truck. Manufacturers of trucks or components that may also be held responsible for the truck or truck parts are found to be defective.
Each of the parties potentially liable in a truck accident will likely have sophisticated lawyers at the ready to represent their interests. That is why it is important for anyone hit by a truck in an auto accident to contact a lawyer.
Given this multi-layered complexity, it is crucial that you retain the legal services of a qualified lawyer with experience in handling collisions involving trucks.
An ATV is designed for off-road use and, for that reason, has a much lower tire pressure than other automobiles. Low tire pressure is ideal for off-road use, but not on the highway. Despite this fact, most ATV injuries occur on public roads or highways. Many states do allow ATVs on certain roads under special conditions.
It is estimated that at least 15,000 individuals suffer severe injuries annually in ATV accidents, although it is likely that many accidents and injuries are not reported. Tragically, ATV accidents may result in debilitating spinal cord and brain injuries, as well as bone fractures and other serious injuries.
Drivers who are involved in collisions with an ATV should contact a lawyer immediately to find out if the ATV driver has insurance coverage. ATV owners in Pennsylvania must carry proof of liability insurance if they drive their vehicle anywhere on a public road or anywhere else that is not their own property.
Auto accidents involving pedestrians are common. More than 5,000 pedestrians are killed each year in auto accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More than 120,000 pedestrians are treated each year in emergency rooms as well. These figures are tragic, considering that most pedestrian accidents could have been prevented. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include, but are not limited to, the following:
Motor vehicles are more likely to strike pedestrians over 65 years old and children under 15 years old.
Galfand Berger LLP handles all types of auto accident cases, including but not limited to those involving cars, commercial trucks and vans, buses, tractor trailers, bicycles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and ATVs.
Several examples of the types of cases our lawyers have successfully handled for our clients include the following:
The circumstances surrounding every accident are different, and no one can predict the outcome of a case. At the same time, it is important to note that our record of success in helping our clients recover damages speaks volumes about the level of experience that we bring to each auto accident case. More than 98 percent of our cases are wins.
When we take on a case, we do it with confidence and skill. Getting into a car accident is a frightening experience. Our lawyers understand this well, and they guide their clients through this experience with skill and compassion. We have successfully handled thousands of auto accident cases.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, contact our Philadelphia auto accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP. We have decades of experience in the investigation of car accidents. We will answer your questions and work hard on your behalf. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.