How Important Is Hiring a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer?
Nobody ever expects to be involved in an auto accident. However, we all know things happen when we least expect them. We would say it’s a safe bet nobody thought the need to retain a Philadelphia car accident lawyer would be on their list of things to do.
If you commute to and from work every day in high-traffic areas, your chances of being involved in an accident increase exponentially. This is especially the case if you commonly find yourself in rush hour traffic.
Although most of these accidents are minor, contacting a Philadelphia car accident lawyer could still be the best course of action. However, many people not only fail to contact an attorney, but they fail to report the accident altogether.
In most states, it’s against the law to drive away from the scene of an accident without filing a police report. Many of these minor accidents end with both car owners agreeing that the damage isn’t substantial enough to pursue the matter further, and the situation ends with a handshake.
During the moments after an accident, most people aren’t thinking clearly. It’s probably been a long day, and instead of waiting at the scene for an officer, you’d rather be on your way – especially if there’s no damage to either vehicle.
However, aside from the potential legal ramifications for leaving the scene, you’re losing any recourse you have for future issues that could arise. What do we mean by this? Consider the following scenarios.
Days After the Accident in Philadelphia
Many studies have proven that minor injuries resulting from a fender bender often don’t manifest until the day after the initial incident. Maybe, the other car tapped your car from behind, and aside from a headache, you feel fine.
However, two days after the accident, you mow your lawn and suddenly collapse in agonizing pain. After visiting your physician, you find out you have a slipped disc due to the accident.
Not a problem – you have insurance and a Philadelphia car accident lawyer. You’re good to go.
Wrong. Because you failed to file a report, any information you attempt to file at this point is null and void.
You failed to contact a police officer – you also failed to report the incident to your insurance. You probably didn’t even get the other guy’s information because it was a “no harm, no foul situation.”
What If You Did Get Information?
Let’s say you did get the other driver’s information. You contact his insurance company to find out what your potential recourse is. However, you find out he’s already reported the accident to your insurance and contacted a Philadelphia car accident lawyer.
You’ve found yourself in a potential court situation where it’s your word against his. If only you had filed a report and contacted your attorney, you’d be in a position to have your medical expenses covered.
The following section will outline the proper steps to take if you’re involved in a minor accident.
What to Do After a Fender-Bender in Philadelphia
Let’s assume enough damage was done to keep you and the other party at the scene. Maybe some paint was traded – or a bumper was dented. Nothing major, but enough to warrant the other party’s insurance company covering the damage costs.
You end up filing a police report. He contacts his insurance company, and you contact yours. He rear-ended you, so it’s a pretty cut and dry case. After a short investigation by the insurance company, he’s found to be at fault.
His insurance company reaches out to offer you a settlement. It might be a thousand, maybe two-thousand bucks, so you take it. It seems like a fair trade for the dent on your vehicle, a little paint, and a few hours of your time.
Well, you take the car to your body guy and find out there’s frame damage to the vehicle. It’s actually pretty close to a total loss. A week later, your neck hurts so bad you can barely turn your head.
Guess what? You already settled with the other driver’s insurance company, so you have no recourse anymore. If you call his insurance company and tell them, “well, on second thought, there’s this wrong, and that wrong,” they’ll say, “well, that’s not what we have here in this signed settlement.”
You should have contacted a Philadelphia car accident lawyer to get on top of your case immediately. Most people believe that the figure an insurance company offers you is fair, and there’s no way you would be eligible to receive any more.
“They’re an insurance company, and they’re professionals. It’s their job to make sure things get handled fairly.”
No, it’s their job to make money, and if they pay you out what’s rightfully owed to you, it’s bad business for them. Insurance companies make billions of dollars each year by giving people less than fair amounts after “minor” situations just like this one.
Even for the most minute situations, having a car accident lawyer in Philadelphia look at your case could save you thousands. It’s their job to get you the highest compensation for your misfortune. Otherwise, you could be stuck paying for repairs and medical expenses out of your pocket.
To make sure you’re calling the right plays, here are some things that you SHOULDN’T do after being involved in an auto accident.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident in Philadelphia
Use this list to ensure you don’t end up in an unfavorable situation when you’re involved in an auto accident.
Don’t Leave Yet
Remember, never leave the scene of an accident before calling law enforcement. Any Philadelphia car accident lawyer will tell you that this is the first step you take. Having this accident report is your burden of proof in court.
Don’t Leave Without Gathering Evidence
You need certain materials to hand over to your Philadelphia car accident lawyer. Take as many photos of the scene as you can and document everything. If witnesses are present, get their phone numbers and tell them your Philadelphia car accident lawyer might be contacting them. This step could end up making or breaking your claim.
NEVER Admit Fault
This is one of the most important rules any Philadelphia car accident lawyer would give you. Never admit fault, even if you’re certain the accident was your fault. The truth is, it’s impossible to know the facts surrounding who is at fault immediately after the accident. Allow your attorney to handle this portion of the case.
Don’t Skip the Doctor
After the smoke clears and you’ve contacted the police and spoken to a Philadelphia car accident lawyer, your next phone call should be to your primary care physician. Don’t wait a few days or a week. You need to go the next day if possible. They can review your physical condition immediately after the accident and attribute any injury to the crash. If you wait a week, the other party or their attorney may claim the injury was caused elsewhere.
Don’t Forget About No-Fault
Remember, Pennsylvania has no-fault insurance. No-fault insurance provides personal injury protection regardless of whose fault the accident was. You pay for it every month, and you need to take advantage of it. This ensures that you’re protected during a car accident. Don’t be afraid to claim the accident, regardless of how minor it seems.
Don’t Remain Ignorant
Insurance companies have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. Their modus operandi is to generate as much revenue while paying as little as possible. It’s simple economics. Allow your Philadelphia car accident lawyer to handle them – otherwise, they’ll probably try to sucker you into a settlement that’s much lower than what it should be.
Don’t Ignore the Police Report
Go over the police report a few times, and then go over it again. You need to make sure that every detail of the police report is correct. Before you leave the scene of the accident, read the police report a few times. Speak clearly to the officer while you’re giving them the details of what happened. After the officer is finished writing it, they will read it back to you. Listen to them, then ask to read it again for yourself. Once you are 100% sure that it’s accurate, you can sign it – but not until then.
Don’t Take the First Settlement Offer
If you’ve never negotiated before, here’s a life lesson: Never take the first offer. This will always be the lowest possible number someone believes they can get away with. An insurance company is no different in this regard. If they believe they can satisfy you with a grand, that’s the figure they’re going to shoot you. However, if you have a Philadelphia car accident lawyer, you won’t have to worry about this issue since they’ll be handling it for you.
Don’t Try and Settle Your Own Case
You may be under the impression that the accident was simple enough and you can handle it on your own. However, you should ALWAYS contact a Philadelphia car accident lawyer to handle an accident in the eastern portion of Pennsylvania. Did you know that settlement checks are often 200 to 300% higher when you have a car accident lawyer in Philadelphia?
Rely On a Solid Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
If you’re involved in an auto accident, the professionals at Mattiacci Law in Philadelphia can help. Don’t ever try and take these matters into your own hands.
Contact an attorney who has the experience to get you the settlement you deserve. Contact Mattiacci law.