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  • Philadelphia Auto Accident Attorneys

    Serving Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, Reading, and all of New Jersey & Pennsylvania

    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.

    after auto accidentFour Steps to Take if You Get in an Auto Accident

    Our attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP recommend that anyone involved in an accident take the following steps:

    1. Call 911.
    2. Seek medical attention.
    3. Call your insurance carrier.
    4. Talk to a lawyer before signing anything.

    What Should I Do After an Auto Accident?

    Anyone involved in an auto accident should take the following steps:

    • Call 911, even if the accident seems minor. It is critical to get a police report. Insurance companies use police reports to decide whether to pay a claim. A police report can provide an independent record of what happened. It is common for other drivers to change their story after the accident, and a police report helps document statements and impressions made at the scene of the accident.
    • Do not wait to get medical attention. You may be injured even if you think you are not hurt initially because injuries may not show up right away. Also, the longer you wait to get treatment, the harder it can be to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident. Nobody likes to go to the hospital. At a minimum, call your family doctor and explain that you have been in an accident. If you do not have a family doctor, go directly to the emergency room.
    • Call your insurance company. Insurance companies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are required to pay for medical treatment from an auto accident up to a certain limit.
    • Speak with a lawyer before signing anything. Whatever you write down or say in a recorded statement can be used against you in court. You can protect your rights by speaking with a lawyer. Many are unaware that the law does not require you to provide a recorded statement after a collision. The fact is that insurance companies pressure people to give statements even when it is not required by law. That is why it is best to call a lawyer first before giving any statements or signing any agreements.

    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.

    Should I Contact a Lawyer After an Auto Accident?

    You should contact a lawyer after an auto accident if it results in any of the following:

    • Significant personal injury.
    • Injuries to pedestrians.
    • Involvement of a hit-and-run driver, uninsured driver, or underinsured driver.
    • Collisions with a truck, motorcycle, or bicycle.
    • An accident in a school zone.
    • An accident in a construction zone.

    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.

    Why Should I Contact a Lawyer Sooner Rather Than Later?

    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.

    Auto LawWhy Contact Galfand Berger LLP?

    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.

    How Do Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Laws Affect My Auto Accident?

    In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, drivers must purchase a minimum amount of insurance coverage:

    New Jersey

    Minimum coverage amounts include:

    • Bodily injury liability: $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident.
    • Property damage liability: $5,000 for damage to others’ property.

    New Jersey residents also have these mandatory coverages:

    • Personal injury protection (PIP): Pays medical expenses if you or others covered under your policy are injured in an automobile accident. Often called “no-fault insurance,” it pays your medical expenses if you were or were not at fault.
    • Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage: Protects you if you are in an accident with someone who does not have insurance coverage or adequate coverage.

    Pennsylvania

    Minimum coverage amounts include:

    • Bodily injury liability:$15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident.
    • Property damage liability: $5,000.

    Pennsylvania residents must also carry:

    • Personal injury protection (PIP): Pays medical expenses if you or others covered under your policy are injured in an accident. PIP covers your medical expenses if you were or were not at fault.

    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).

    auto insuranceHow to Buy Auto Insurance:

    • Learn as much as you can about the coverage options available to you.
    • Ask questions about the benefits of higher limits and other options.
    • Get price quotes for options from several insurance companies.
    • Check out reviews before you choose an insurer.

    Get a head start! Read our free booklet: Auto Insurance: Understanding Your Policy & Rights.

    How Are Accidents Involving Commercial Trucks Different Than Two-Car Collisions?

    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:

    • In a two-car collision, the insurance companies of the two drivers involved typically arrive at a settlement.
    • In a truck accident, multiple insurers may be involved because several parties may be held liable, even if there was only one truck in the accident.

    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.

    Auto Accidents Involving ATVs

    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.

    pedestrian accidentsHow Common Are Auto Accidents Involving Pedestrians?

    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:

    • Speeding at intersections: Intersections are particularly dangerous for pedestrians. Cars trying to beat the traffic light often hit pedestrians.
    • Turning at intersections: Drivers making left-hand turns are more likely to strike a pedestrian than if they are driving straight or turning right.
    • Distracted driving: Drivers who are using the phone or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs account for a significant majority of serious pedestrian accidents.
    • Multi-lane highways at bus stops and train stations: Pedestrians may be struck by cars when trying to cross busy roads after getting off a train or bus.

    Motor vehicles are more likely to strike pedestrians over 65 years old and children under 15 years old.

    What Types of Auto Accident Cases Does Galfand Berger LLP Handle?

    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:

    • $4.5 million-dollar settlement for spinal injury from a car accident. Our client was left paralyzed after a head-on collision caused by another driver. Our lawyers successfully pursued a case against the at-fault driver and secured a settlement from the auto manufacturer for selling a vehicle with defective seat belts.
    • $3 million-dollar settlement for tractor-trailer accident. Our client suffered severe injuries resulting in amputation of both legs below the knee after a collision with a tractor-trailer. Our lawyers investigated the circumstances of the accident and found that truck’s tires and brakes were worn, and the driver’s log indicated he had been driving excessive hours.
    • $1.5 million-dollar recovery for injured pedestrian. Our client was directing traffic at a job site when he was hit by a car. In addition to suffering a closed head injury, his leg subsequently required amputation. The insurer of the at-fault driver initially denied the claim. Our lawyers challenged the insurer and won at trial.
    • $301,000 recovery for boy injured in ATV accident. Our client was a 14-year-old boy who was injured while riding an ATV, which rolled over onto him.

    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.

    How Does Galfand Berger LLP Approach an Auto Accident Case?

    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.

    Philadelphia Auto Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Can Help You After Any Type of Auto Accident

    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.