Everything You Need to Know About Car Accidents in Pennsylvania

blurred motion photo of driving on highway at night
February 3, 2020

People are given their driver’s license on the contingency that they follow the rules of the road when operating a vehicle. However, this is unfortunately not always the case and people act negligently on the road. This can cause car accidents to occur. Sometimes, these accidents are minor and there is little to no damage done. Other times, they can be severe and cause serious injuries that have the potential to change the lives of those who are involved. This can include not only physical, but emotional and financial burdens as well. It is because of this that victims of these incidents often wish to pursue legal action in order to recover compensation for these damages. When facing these situations, it is important to retain the services of an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer to assist you in a time of need.

Causes of Car Accidents

All drivers have a legal obligation to be on their best behavior behind the wheel of a car. This means they must be of sound mind and pay attention to their surroundings the entire time. If they fail to do so, this can cause serious accidents that have the potential to injure many people. This is considered negligent driving. While there are many different actions that constitute negligence, they can be categorized in two ways:

  • Dangerous driving: The rules of the road require all drivers to act safely while driving. If a driver does not abide by these rules, it is called dangerous driving. Actions that can be classified as dangerous driving can include speeding, reckless driving, disregarding traffic signs/signals, improper lane changes, drunk/drugged driving, unsafe lane changes, and much more.
  • Distracted driving: One of the leading causes of automobile accidents in the country, this is when drivers do not give the road their undivided attention. If for a moment they are distracted, it can cause a serious accident. Common distractions behind the wheel can include using a cell phone, eating, looking for something in the car, speaking to other passengers, and more.

Stats for Philly?

The most recent report from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shows that there were 128,420 reportable automobile accidents in 2018. Of these car accidents, there were 1,190 fatalities and 78,219 injured. There were about 15 crashes per hour, totaling up to 352 per day. In the county of Philadelphia specifically, there were 100 fatal injury crashes, 7,599 injury crashes, and 3,304 property damage only crashes. In total, there were 11,003 reported car crashes in the county of Philadelphia in 2018.

What To Do After an Accident

All drivers should know how to conduct themselves and handle the situation in the event that they find themselves in a car accident. After the accident occurs, it is crucial to stay on the scene and contact the necessary emergency services immediately. This includes medical assistance for any injuries as well as the police. The police can ensure that the scene is safe, a police report is conducted regarding the incident, and witness statements are taken. While waiting for them to arrive, be sure not to issue an apology to the other driver. It is enough to simply be polite, as an apology can sometimes be seen as an admission of fault.

Evidence is crucial in order to move forward with filing a claim after a car accident due to negligence. It is because of this that it is important to take pictures and/or videos of the scene before anything is moved. This can include any broken glass, deployed airbags, skid marks, bloodstains, the direction of the cars, any street signs present, road conditions, and more. In addition to this, all important details should be collected. This can include the names of those involved in the accident as well as any witnesses, their phone numbers, and the registration information of all vehicles.

No-Fault Law in PA

In the state of Pennsylvania, all individuals who own and operate a motor vehicle are required to purchase and maintain a minimum amount of car insurance coverage. Part of this policy entails choosing between “limited tort” and “full tort” coverage. This impacts your options in the event that you are in a car accident. It is because of this that Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault car insurance state.

Under no-fault law in Pennsylvania, a driver’s own car insurance coverage pays for medical treatment and other out of pocket expenses that are incurred after a car accident up to a certain limit. This is regardless of who is at fault for causing the incident. However, it is important to know that Pennsylvania vehicle owners can opt-out of the no-fault system when purchasing a car insurance policy.

What if the accident was partially my fault?

In Pennsylvania, the state follows what is known as a “modified comparative fault” rule. This comes into play when both parties share blame for a car accident. In most cases, the jury will calculate two things based on the evidence that is presented. This includes the total dollar amount of the plaintiff’s damages and the percentage of fault that belongs to each party involved. Under the modified comparative fault rule, the plaintiff’s damages award is reduced by a percentage that is equal to their share of fault. It is important to note that if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you will receive nothing.

How long will my accident case take?

Every car accident case is unique, making it difficult to pin down exactly how long each case may take to come to a close. This depends on different variables. The first thing to consider in these situations is the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, there is a two-year statute of limitations from the date of your accident to file a suit for personal injury cases. The longer you wait to file a claim, the longer it can take to complete the case and recover the compensation you desire.

It is also important to consider the length of investigation that is required to prove negligence, the injuries that are sustained as well as the course of medical treatment, and where the lawsuit is filed. Depending on the nature of these factors, claims can sometimes be settled quickly within a few weeks or months, or they can take much longer.

Will my accident case have to go to trial?

When a car accident takes place, this does not necessarily mean that the case must go to trial. Instead, a settlement can be negotiated between the parties that are involved outside of the courtroom. If a settlement cannot be reached, then it may be necessary to move forward with a lawsuit. However, this still does not mean that the case will go to trial. In fact, over 90% of personal injury cases settle even after a lawsuit is filed. Usually, car accident cases are settled early in the litigation process or before going to court. It is important to know that Philadelphia courts require a case management conference to process the case from one stage to another in order to quicken the pace before trial.

If I was injured as a passenger in someone else’s car, do I have to sue the driver?

There are many people who rely on others to drive them to where they need to be. This may be through a family member, friend, taxi driver, etc. When an accident occurs due at the expense of a driver, passengers can pursue legal action against the individual in order to receive compensation for any damages they incur. In these situations, the passenger can make a claim under the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy. This is known as a third-party car insurance claim. When this happens, this liable party’s insurance company will be responsible for paying the passenger’s related expenses after the accident. However, it is important to know that the passenger may be required to prove negligence in order to receive this compensation.

Who pays for my medical bills after a car accident?

When a person is injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, they often want to pursue legal action as justice for their suffering. This can be done by filing a personal injury claim. If the injured party is successful in their lawsuit, they may be able to recover compensation from the negligent party. This is coverage for any expenses relating to the accident, including medical bills. However, it is important to know that this coverage is awarded only if the injured party can prove negligence. This can be done by satisfying the burden of proof with evidence that shows the driver’s behavior directly caused the accident and their injuries. Evidence that can be used to do so can include medical documentation of the injuries, pictures of videos of the accident, a police report, witness testimonies, and more.

How much is my claim worth?

Those who are injured in a car accident due to negligence usually wonder how much their claim would be worth if they choose to pursue legal action. During this time, it is important to know that every personal injury case is different than one another. This is because the facts of the case can differ each time, making it difficult to narrow down a specific amount that can be awarded in compensation. However, it is important to know that compensation can be awarded for both physical and emotional ailments after an accident. This is seen through economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical bills, loss of income, loss of future income, in-home care, and more. Non-economic damages include emotional traumas such as the loss of quality of life, pain and suffering, and more.

How long do I have to file my claim?

It is understandable that an injured victim may hesitate to pursue legal action after a personal injury accident. However, it is important to not wait too long to do so. This is because there is a statute of limitations in place, giving victims of negligence a deadline they are required to meet in order to file a claim. If this window of time is missed, the injured party may lose their right to pursue legal action and recover compensation. In the state of Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the injury.

What should I bring to my initial consultation?

It is important to be prepared for an initial consultation with a personal injury attorney. This means bringing important documentation that provides the attorney with a thorough understanding of the case. Documents that should be brought to an initial consultation can include:

  • A written, chronological description of how the accident and your injuries occurred.
  • A copy of the police report from the accident.
  • The names and contact information of any witnesses to be used for testimony.
  • Your medical records to prove your injuries.
  • Receipts of any expenses related to the injuries. This can include any out-of-pocket expenses for treatment and in-home care.
  • Photos or videos of the accident and your injuries
  • Your insurance information. This can include health, automobile, renter, or homeowner policies.
  • Any contact with the other party or their insurance company. This can include letters, emails, phone calls, etc.
  • Any questions for the attorney regarding your case

Why choose Rand Spear?

Even though car accidents are common occurrences, they should not be taken lightly. These situations can cause significant damages that have the potential to change the lives of those who are involved. In addition to this, the aftermath of these situations can often become tricky for those who wish to pursue legal action against a negligent party. These cases require a great deal of evidence in order to prove that the injured party should recover compensation for these damages. It is because of this that victims of these accidents need an aggressive and skilled legal team to fight for their rights and best interests. The attorneys at Spear Greenfield are determined and committed to providing the best possible defense for all clients facing personal injury matters. Do not accept less for your case. Demand Rand today.

Contact Rand Spear

If you or a loved one has been in a personal injury accident in Pennsylvania, it’s important that you contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney to help you with your case and to make sure that you are not taken advantage of. Contact Spear Greenfield to get the right attorney in your corner.