Lancaster Car Accident Lawyer
Car Accident Claims in Pennsylvania
When you are injured in a car accident, your first instinct may be to try to handle your claim on your own and get it settled as quickly as possible so that you can move on with your life. While this is certainly understandable, you could be losing out on fair compensation without even realizing it.
All too often, insurance companies—whether it’s the other driver’s or your own—do everything they can to avoid paying out claims. They might offer a lowball settlement, and you might accept it, not realizing that you are actually owed a lot more for your damages. The insurance company might even deny your claim outright, leaving you with seemingly no options for recovery.
At Knafo Law Offices, we have dedicated our entire legal practice to advocating for injured victims and standing up to insurance companies on their behalf. At our Lancaster, PA office, we provide comprehensive legal representation to those injured in serious car accidents, as well as those who have lost loved ones in tragic motor vehicle collisions. We understand the challenges you face, and we are ready to fight tirelessly for your rights.
What to Do After a Car Accident
While all sorts of evidence can be useful in proving liability for a car accident claim, oftentimes, the best evidence is that which is collected at the scene of the crash. The evidence that you collect at the scene f your car accident will depend on you because, even though our law firm is known for quick responses and attentiveness, we cannot be there immediately after a wreck. Although, we might be able to start investigating the scene within a few days or hours for certain high-stakes cases, depending on where the accident happened and our availability. Overall, you have to be the one to get some of the freshest, best evidence of liability after a car accident.
Let our attorneys know if you did the following after your car accident:
- Called 911: If someone is injured in a crash or either vehicle is significantly damaged, then the authorities should be notified at once. If someone is seriously injured, then 911 must be called. When paramedics, police, and firefighters arrive at the scene, they can begin providing much-needed aid. Afterward, those same brave professionals can be crucial to your case because our attorneys can use the reports that they generate to improve your case. For example, a police report of the scene might note that the other driver appeared intoxicated.
- Took photographs: Videos and pictures are irrefutable, unlike word-of-mouth. After an accident, serious or not, you should use your smartphone to photograph and record the scene as much as possible. You need to take pictures of vehicular damage, injuries, traffic conditions, weather and daylight conditions, and so on. Give our attorneys a copy of any photos and videos you capture, so we can review them for useful information and evidence later.
- Got insurance and identifying information: Of course, it is difficult to file a claim against a negligent driver if you don’t know who they are or who insures their vehicle. You must always provide and collect insurance and identifying information. We suggest writing it down and taking pictures of any ID cards to create two copies of the information, making it more difficult to lose track of it.
- Went to the doctor: Following a car accident, it is important to always see a doctor, assuming you didn’t need emergency medical attention. Take yourself to urgent care as soon as you can, and let the medical staff know that you were hit by another driver. They can look for underlying injuries you might not notice right away due to confusion, exhaustion, and adrenaline aftereffects. Also, our attorneys will thank you for seeing a doctor the same day because it will create a timestamped medical record that verifies when the collision occurred. Some insurers try to argue that a client’s accident never happened, but they won’t be able to use this tactic if you have a clear and corresponding medical record.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Based on the information you give us and what we can gather through our own investigation, we can pin the liability for the crash on the other driver. It all depends on uncovering the cause of the car accident and how that tied into or was directly caused by the other driver’s actions and decisions.
Common causes of car accidents include:
- Intoxication: Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as safe “buzzed” driving. When a driver has just one drink, they will soon suffer a noticeable decrease in their ability to safely drive. If the other driver admits that they had “just one drink” before the accident, then our attorneys need to know about it.
- Distraction: It seems like at every corner and intersection you stop, you can spot a driver holding their smartphone. Distracted driving has always been a problem, but modern technology is certainly making it worse. Let us know if you think the other driver was texting while driving, and we can explore ways to prove it.
- Speeding: Reckless driving is a menace to all responsible, defensive drivers everywhere. Speeding is perhaps the worst and the most common form of recklessness behind the wheel. Evidence from around the crash scene can usually show if the other driver was speeding. For example, tire marks might show that the other driver tried to slam on the brakes but was too slow because they were breaking the speed limit by a huge margin.
- Exhaustion: Tired motorists are dangerous drivers. By many studies’ accounts, an exhausted driver can experience the same loss of focus, motor control, and reaction time as a drunk driver. If you were in an accident late at night, then it might be that the other driver was exhausted.
Should I File a Claim with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company or My Own?
The answer to this question depends on what type of insurance coverage you have, as well as other factors involved in the accident. Pennsylvania is one of the few states to follow a “choice” no-fault system. This means that Pennsylvania drivers have a choice to be covered by no-fault insurance (referred to as “limited tort”) or to opt out of such coverage (by choosing “full tort” coverage).
With no-fault insurance, you can file a claim with your own insurance provider after an accident and receive compensation, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If you have no-fault coverage, you will typically file a claim through your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses resulting from the accident.
Notably, PIP does not cover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. The only way to receive compensation for non-economic damages is to go outside the no-fault system and sue the at-fault driver directly, and the only way to do that is to prove that your injuries are “serious.” The state defines “serious injuries” as those that result in lasting and significant impairment of a bodily function or permanent serious disfigurement.
Examples of “serious injuries” might include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial injuries/disfigurement
- Severe fractures
In contrast, if you have opted out of the no-fault insurance system, you do not have PIP coverage. This means that you will need to file a claim against the driver who caused the accident. And, in order to successfully recover compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you will have to prove that the other driver was more than 50% to blame for the crash.
Under Pennsylvania’s rule of modified comparative negligence, you cannot recover compensation if you were more than 50% at fault. Even if you were less to blame than the other driver, your total recovery will be reduced by your at-fault percentage if the jury finds that you were partly responsible for the accident. So, for example, if you suffered $10,000 in damages but the jury says you were 20% at fault, you can only recover up to 80% of that total amount, or $8,000.
Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Claims
Like other states, Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations on all motor vehicle accident claims, including those involving car crashes, truck collisions, and motorcycle accidents. This means that you only have a certain time period in which you can bring a claim; failure to bring a claim within the statute of limitations will result in your case being dismissed in nearly all instances.
The statute of limitations on car accident claims in Pennsylvania is two years. Typically, the clock begins ticking on the date of the accident. However, in cases involving the wrongful death of a car accident victim, the two-year statute of limitations will usually not begin until the date of death, which could be later than the date of the accident.
How Knafo Law Offices Can Help
If you or someone you love was involved in a serious car crash, it’s important to turn to a legal team who can help you navigate the legal process of obtaining a fair settlement. As your Lancaster car accident lawyers, our team is ready to stand up for your rights and take on the insurance company so you don’t have to. We are aggressive negotiators and have a proven track record of recovering fast, favorable settlements for our clients. However, in the event that the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, we are fully prepared to take your case to trial.
We are committed to remaining always accessible to our clients. With multiple office locations and 24/7 availability, we are ready to help you when you need us most. Don’t wait to contact us if you were injured in a car accident, as your time to file a claim is limited!
Record-Setting $15.2 Million Wrongful Death
Wrongful death case ended in a verdict of over $15 million dollars.
$8.2 Million Car Accident
Car accident verdict.
$7.25 Million Motorcycle Accident
Using mediation after a motorcycle accident, $7,250,000 was awarded.
$4.1 Million Medical Malpractice
Secured a settlement of over $4 million dollars after medical malpractice occurred.
$3 Million Negligent Trucker
Secured a $3 million dollar settlement for client involving a negligent truck driver.