Whitehall Car Accident Lawyer
Filing a Car Accident Claim in Pennsylvania
When you or someone you love is involved in a car accident, the aftermath can be financially and emotionally taxing. If someone else was at fault for the accident, you likely have a lot of questions about what happens next. Does the other driver have to pay for your medical bills and other damages? How do you file a car accident claim? Do you need to talk to an attorney?
First and foremost, we always recommend that you seek legal counsel following any car accident that results in injuries or the death of another person. At Knafo Law Offices, we offer our legal services on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront or out-of-pocket expenses for you. Instead, we only charge attorneys’ fees if/when we win your case. This means you have nothing to lose in calling our Whitehall car accident lawyers and discussing your legal rights and options. We can help you navigate the legal process and fight for the maximum compensation you are owed. Since 1982, our firm has been successfully representing injured Pennsylvanians, and we are ready to fight for you.
Liability in Car Accident Claims
While the issue of liability in car accident claims is not usually as complex as it is in cases involving large trucks and other commercial vehicles, determining who is legally responsible for damages after an accident in Pennsylvania can be somewhat confusing. Pennsylvania is what is known as a “choice no-fault” state. This means that motorists can choose to have no-fault insurance coverage, or they can opt out. This is important, as the type of insurance you have will determine how you will file an accident claim.
Below is a brief overview of the difference between no-fault and fault insurance coverage:
- No-Fault Insurance: If you have no-fault insurance, your own insurance provider will pay certain damages after an accident, regardless of who was to blame for the crash. In Pennsylvania, “no-fault” insurance is referred to as “limited tort” coverage. With limited tort coverage, you can only receive compensation for certain financial damages (e.g. medical bills, lost wages) up to a limited amount. You cannot receive compensation for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
- Fault Insurance: If you opt out of no-fault coverage, you are still required to carry minimum liability insurance. However, this insurance is meant to compensate another party in the event of an accident, not yourself. If you do not have no-fault coverage and are injured in an accident, you will need to prove that the other driver (or another party) was at fault. You will file your claim against the other party’s insurance provider, not your own. Pennsylvania refers to this type of coverage as “full tort” coverage, and it allows you to seek compensation for all damages arising from the accident, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Going Outside the No-Fault System
If you have limited tort coverage, you are not covered for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and trauma caused by the accident. However, there are times when you may go outside the no-fault system and seek compensation for such damages.
If your injuries are considered “serious,” meaning they result in significant impairment of a bodily function and/or serious and permanent disfigurement, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance provider and seek compensation for your non-economic damages.
Additionally, if you have elected full tort coverage, you can file a claim based on a fault system. Under Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence rule, you will have to prove that the other driver was more than 50% to blame for the accident (meaning you were less than 50% at fault). If you were partially at fault, but less than 50%, you can still recover compensation, but your total award will be reduced by your at-fault percentage.
What to Do After the Accident
After a serious car accident, there are certain things you should do to protect your safety, your health, and your rights:
- First, seek medical attention; even if you believe you were not injured (or not severely injured), some injuries can take hours or even days to appear. Always follow all of your doctor’s orders—don’t miss any follow-up appointments and take all prescribed medications.
- While you should notify your own insurance company of the accident, avoid making any statements about what happened or who was at fault. In fact, the less you say about the accident, the better. Some insurance adjusters, whether from your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance provider, will try to get you to accidentally admit fault or downplay your injuries. They do this so that they can then dispute or deny your claim. It’s in your best interest to avoid talking to any insurance adjusters until you have sought the counsel of an experienced attorney.
- Talk to an attorney as soon as possible, especially if you were injured in the crash. An attorney at our firm will be able to go over your rights with you during a free initial consultation and can advise you of how to proceed. At Knafo Law Offices, we have an in-depth understanding of Pennsylvania’s insurance and personal injury laws; we are ready to use this knowledge to help you maximize your recovery.
Contact Knafo Law Offices Today
Our Whitehall car accident lawyers are ready to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are always available to discuss your situation and set you up with a free, confidential consultation with one of our attorneys. At our Whitehall office, we provide compassionate, client-focused representation and aggressive advocacy tailored to you.
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