A car, truck or motorcycle accident can change your life and leave you with serious injuries, vehicle damage, and expensive medical bills. Drivers have to deal with reporting the accident, meeting with the insurance company, and fighting to get payment for damage and injuries. If the other driver was at fault for the accident, they should be responsible for your damages.
Handling an accident on your own can be stressful, complicated, and take a lot of time. If you contact an experienced Northwest Pennsylvania automobile accident lawyer, your attorney can deal with the insurance company so you don't have to, and work to get you the money you deserve.
Motor Vehicle Accidents in Pennsylvania
In 2017, there were more than 128,000 motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania, including 80,612 injury accidents and 1,137 fatalities. In Crawford County alone, there were more than 900 auto accidents, including 340 injury crashes and 10 fatal injury accidents. These accidents can be caused by any number of reasons, including:
- Distracted driving (texting or using the phone),
- Running a red light or stop sign,
- Dangerous road conditions,
- Weather, and
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Car Accident Injuries
Car accident injuries can range from minor scrapes and sprains to serious bodily injury or even fatal injuries. Even if the accident didn't seem that bad or the vehicles were moving slowly, an accident can still result in serious injury. Many of these injuries are not obvious and can include damage to the neck, back, or spine. This is why it is important to see a doctor after an accident.
Common car accident injuries in Pennsylvania may include:
- Broken bones,
- Eye injury,
- Head injury,
- Neck injury, and
- Spine or back injury.
What Damages Are Available After a Car Accident?
Damages in a car accident claim can include injury costs, property damage, and even emotional damage. In a personal injury or car accident case, the injured person requests damages from the person or parties liable for causing the accident. These compensatory damages in a car accident case can include:
- Medical bills,
- Continuing medical treatment,
- Vehicle damage,
- Lost income,
- Loss of future earnings,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of a limb or disfigurement.
If a loved one or family member is killed in a car accident, the deceased person's personal representative can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent parties. This may include funeral expenses, medical expenses prior to death, and lost wages and benefits the deceased would have provided to the family if he or she had not been killed in the accident.
What to do After an Automobile Accident
After a car accident, drivers and passengers should get medical attention if they are injured. Even if the people involved don't feel injured, it may be a good idea to see a doctor because some car accident injuries don't become evident until hours or days later.
Drivers are generally required to provide information to the other driver involved, including contact information, driver's license number, and automobile insurance information. You should not say anything that can be used against you to show you were at fault for the accident. Even if you think you may have been at fault, the other driver may have contributed to the accident.
It may be a good idea to take pictures or video after the accident, including damage to the vehicles and the location of the accident. If there are any witnesses to the accident, you may want to get contact information from the witnesses.
Call the Police After an Accident
Drivers need to contact the police for any accident that resulted in:
- Injury, or
- Damage to any vehicle that requires towing.
If the police show up for the accident, they will make a report of what they observed and the parties involved. If the police don't investigate the accident, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDOT) requires drivers to report an accident and submit a Driver's Accident Report within 5 days of an accident
After the accident, you should request a copy of the crash report and review it to make sure there aren't any mistakes. The officer may have recorded the wrong information or got the drivers mixed up, which could hurt your claim. You can purchase a copy of the crash report online or by mail.
An auto insurance policy generally requires drivers to notify the insurance company about the accident immediately after it occurs. However, you should be careful if the other driver's insurance company contacts you. Tell them to talk to your lawyer instead.
Dealing With the Insurance Company After an Accident
Dealing with the insurance company after an accident can be a hassle. Insurance companies are not known for being generous and you may have to jump through a number of hoops before they cut you a check. Talk to your lawyer so they can advocate for you and not based on the insurance company's bottom line.
Let Your Car Accident Attorney Deal with the Other Driver's Insurance Company
The other driver's insurance company may try and get a statement from you or tell them what happened. The insurance representative may seem like they just need some simple information but they may be trying to get you to say something they can use against you. Before talking to the other driver's insurance company and risk hurting your claim, talk to your car accident lawyer. Let your attorney deal with the insurance company so you don't have to.
Should I Accept a Settlement Offer After an Accident?
Be careful about accepting any settlement offer or signing anything after an accident. The insurance company may be offering a lower amount than you deserve, hoping that you'll accept the money instead of fighting to get the full amount you are owed.
Make sure you understand that by accepting a settlement, you may be giving up your legal rights. Talk to your attorney about the settlement offer and what other options you may have.
Benefits of Getting a Lawyer After a Car Accident
Liability and fault in a car accident can be complicated and hiring an experienced car accident can be the simplest way to make sure your rights are protected. As the victim of an auto accident, you have the right to seek compensation from the person who caused the accident.
With medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, and future medical care at stake, there may be a lot on the line. The car insurance company is a business and may not have your interests at heart. A car accident lawyer will be an advocate for you and will deal with the insurance company to make sure you receive what you are owed.
A lawyer will evaluate your case and explain all your options. Your lawyer can investigate your case and gather evidence to support your claim. Your attorney can prepare you for court and represent you during trial and negotiate with the insurance company to maximize your compensation.
At the Shafer Law Firm, we will never ask you to pay a fee unless we are able to win your case.
Crawford County Auto Accident Injury Lawyer
For 29 years, Crawford County attorney Jeffrey Millin at the Shafer Law Firm has been representing clients in automobile accidents and personal injury cases across Northwest Pennsylvania. Experienced. Proven. Contact Jeffrey Millin in Meadville or Conneaut Lake today for a free consultation.