How Long Does It Take Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers to Settle a Case in PA?
A car accident is everyone’s worst nightmare. It not only ruins your day, your schedule, and everything you had planned, but it also could cause injury, medical issues, and a whole host of other problems related to your car, transportation, and day-to-day life until you get everything sorted out. Thank goodness there are practiced, professional Philadelphia Car Accident Laywers who can help you navigate the process of settling your car accident case so that you can concentrate on getting your life back together as soon as possible.
Car accident claims aren’t as easy as you might think. There are documents to file, evidence to prove, and medical situations to explain, as well as pain and suffering damages that need to be calculated. Choosing a qualified attorney, like those at Mattiaci, means that you have someone who is fighting for the compensation and justice you deserve. This way, you don’t have to stress over representing yourself and wondering if you were able to get all the money you could have in your settlement case.
You want this done quickly, though, right? No one wants to wait around for their settlement amount while they’re already suffering through healing and dealing with the mounting medical bills that are probably piling on the counter. So, let’s look at the timeline for settling a car accident case in Philadelphia and how an attorney can help you get through that process quickly and efficiently.
Reporting a Car Accident in Pennsylvanai
This will be your first course of action, after making sure that everyone in the car is safe and sound, or after seeing to their initial medical needs. If the police were not called to the accident (taking a report themselves) and if no one was seriously injured or there were no fatalities, but if there was severe property damage (to your can and/or the other vehicle), then you must report the incident to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (also known as “PennDOT”) within five days.
This is a legal requirement that you agree to when driving in Pennsylvania. If you fail to report an accident that has serious property damage, you could be at risk of having your driver’s license suspended. Better to report it as soon as possible so the days don’t slip away from you—and while you’re at it, take the opportunity to call an attorney as well.
Tort Liability and “No-Fault” Car Insurance Cases
Drivers in Pennsylvania have two choices when it comes to car insurance. They can either purchase a policy that covers typical tort liability, or they can take out a no-fault insurance policy.
When you have tort liability, this is like keeping all your options open. You can sue a driver who was at fault for hitting you or causing an accident, and you can recover both tangible and intangible losses during this process. However, this type of insurance coverage also means that another driver can sue you, too, either in the same incident or if you are ever at fault in another accident.
On the other hand, no-fault insurance coverage means that your carrier will cover economic (or tangible) damages, whether or not the accident was your fault. (Pennsylvania is one of only a few states that has this option.) Although you can’t sue another driver for any type of economic or non-economic damages, you are protected from being sued, as well! There are situations where you may sue though, if the accident caused serious or severe injury to the other party, such as permanent impairment of a bodily function, loss of a limb, or severe disfigurement.
No matter which type of insurance policy you choose, your policy must cover minimum amounts of insurance under Pennsylvanian law. These include:
- $15,000 per person of personal injury protection (non-driver)
- $30,000 total personal injury protection for all third-party persons
- $5,000 in protection for property damage
- $5,000 no-fault protection for personal injury
Because there are so many drivers on Pennsylvania roads with no-fault insurance, hiring a lawyer is one of the most important ways you can ensure that you are able to get what you deserve in your settlement case. You can always file a claim under your own insurance policy which covers personal injury protection (if you have no-fault insurance and can’t sue the other driver), but an attorney will be able to help you sort out all the details and make sure you’re following the best course of action.
Pennsylvania is also a state that follows the “modified comparative fault” rule. This means that if you were more than 50% at fault for the accident, you are barred from suing the other driver for any type of damages.
Timelines for Settling a Car Accident Case in Philadelphia
When you’re talking about receiving the money to cover vehicle and medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering, these cases often end in what is called a “settlement.” This means that both parties agree to payout (or receive) a certain amount, and this decision is made out of court. Basically, both parties are solving the problem “on their own” (but with the help of their attorneys) without having to go through the lengthy and expensive process of a court trial.
In Philadelphia, the law requires that both parties participate in a case management conference, too, if they choose to go to trial and not settle. This usually makes the court proceedings themselves go more smoothly, but it’s one more step that has to be taken if you choose not to settle.
Although you have to report your car accident to PennDOT within five days, you have up to two years to file for a lawsuit, whether it is for personal injury, property damage, or both. Although this might seem like a long time, the months can slip away from you while you are concentrating on healing and figuring out how your daily life will change now that this accident has happened, so having an attorney at the ready is a smart choice. You don’t want that two-year mark to sneak up on you and be left out in the cold with medical and vehicle bills that you should be reimbursed for, but now can’t be.
If, tragically, the car accident caused someone’s death (whether it was the driver, a passenger, someone in the other car, or a pedestrian), the two-year clock doesn’t begin until the person actually dies. So, if they were seriously injured and in the hospital in a coma for weeks, but then died, the lawsuit could be brought about two years from the date of death.
Depending on the severity of the case, it could take anywhere from a couple of weeks or months to a couple of years to go from beginning to end. Choosing an experienced, qualified attorney can mean the difference, though, in getting what you deserve much sooner. There usually isn’t an average time for a car accident settlement case, because every situation is unique and there are so many factors at play.
How an Experience Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Settle Quickly
Even though settling means that you don’t have to go to court, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need an attorney. Well-practiced attorneys have seen the gamut of car accidents and personal injury cases, and they know when you are being offered an unfair settlement. Don’t let someone lowball you and accept the offer, just to get it done and over with! You have the right to have every type of suffering you have been caused compensated.
Your attorney will first get all the information from you, including documentation of your hospital, doctor, and medical bills; physical therapy costs; prescription medications; etc. They’ll need all the documentation, too, for what happened to your car and how much it cost to fix it (or if it was totaled). They’ll then let you know if there is any other information that they need before they speak to both insurance companies.
Then, the insurance adjuster (from the negligent or at-fault driver’s company) will offer a settlement amount. Here’s where your attorney will be of service to you because they will be able to determine whether or not the amount is fair or if you should ask for more. If the insurance adjuster refuses to offer you what you deserve, you already have your attorney on board ready to go forward to court.
Car Accident Attorneys in Philadelphia will also be able to pull from their network of resources to get testimony from medical and vocational experts so that what you are saying can be backed up by professionals. The more people you have supporting your case, your innocence, and your possible long-term suffering, the more likely it is that you will see the settlement amount you want, and see it quickly. Remember, this isn’t something you want to undertake on your own on top of your accident recovery.
Call Today For A Free Case Evaluation From An Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident can turn your whole world upside down. Don’t let it get any worse than it already has—hire the experienced car accident lawyers at Mattiacci Law. From right here in Philadelphia, PA, they will help you get the justice and compensation you deserve, and they’ll do it without holdups or delay. Whether or not you decide to settle or go to court, the attorneys at Mattiacci know what it’s like and are confident that they can win your case.