How a Philadelphia Accident Lawyer Can Help With Your Accident Claim
You're probably asking yourself this question after being involved in a traffic collision that resulted in injury or property damage. As the victim of the accident, it's natural to be concerned about what will happen next, especially if you were not at fault for the incident.
A Philadelphia accident lawyer may have experience helping clients file claims against those who are liable for accidents involving injuries or vehicle damages. However, without legal training, many people don't know where to begin when dealing with such issues as medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering, and other costs associated with their time away from work and inability to perform daily tasks while recovering from their injuries.
An experienced Philadelphia accident lawyer can guide you through each step of the process, including filing a lawsuit and negotiating settlements on your behalf. In addition, they may also provide referrals to local hospitals, doctors, and rehabilitation facilities.
What Should I Do If I'm Involved In An Accident in Philadelphia?
Call 911 immediately if someone else was responsible for the traffic violation(s) leading up to the accident (e.g., drunk driver).
Get names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses. Contact them by mail or telephone within 48 hours of the accident; however, get there as soon as possible. This will be useful to your Philadelphia car accident lawyer later.
Take photos of any damaged vehicles. Use your camera phone to take pictures of your car, the other person's car, and any landscaping or items relevant to the accident. Take photos of any tire tracks.
Make sure the information you give the police officer filling out the report has all the details correct. Ask them to read it back to you, then read it for yourself.
Contact a Philadelphia accident lawyer.
Seek treatment from qualified health care providers. You should try to get in on the same day if possible. Do not wait until symptoms worsen before getting treated.
Do not sign anything unless you fully understand its contents. Ask questions if something does not make sense to you. If you have any questions, your Philadelphia accident lawyer will be able to guide you.
Know your rights! Research state laws related to automobile collisions. Contact your insurance company and report the accident to them. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, meaning you'll have coverage for your medical bills regardless of who was at fault.
Remember this as a tip: never let an uninsured or unlicensed driver take control of your vehicle. If there is an accident and the person driving is unlicensed, it could be difficult to obtain favorable results, even from the most talented Philadelphia accident lawyer.
Additionally, if your insurance company finds out an unlicensed and uninsured driver was in control of your vehicle, they may not cover the costs of any damage. This could be a stipulation in your policy, and in many no-fault states, this disqualifies you from the benefits of the no-fault laws.
Who Pays Who?
When multiple parties are involved in a single motor vehicle accident, determining whose responsibility is primarily at issue becomes important. Generally speaking, the party who caused the accident has primary liability.
For example, let's say one driver rear-ended another driver's parked truck. That first driver would likely have the most direct involvement in paying for repairs to both vehicles, but he might want to ask himself whether his actions led to the accident.
Was he speeding? Were his tires balding? Did he drink alcohol before driving? What kind of defensive moves did he attempt during the altercation? Is his insurance company willing to offer him financial assistance? All of these things factor into establishing primary liability.
Normally what happens (assuming both parties are insured properly) is both insurance companies will perform a short investigation. They'll use evidence from the scene along with the police reports to determine who that at-fault driver is.
Once this determination is made, the at-fault driver's insurance company is responsible for covering the other party's auto repair and medical bills. This is where a Philadelphia accident lawyer comes into play.
They'll probably try to offer you a settlement. It's important that you don't accept ANYTHING until you've consulted with your Philadelphia accident lawyer.
What About Loss of Income?
Loss of earnings refers to a reduction in how much money the claimant earned over the course of a year. If your injuries are severe enough, a Philadelphia accident lawyer can help you take the case even further.
The at-fault party's insurance company is also liable for monetary losses as a result of the accident. Your attorney can help negotiate a fair settlement (which often doesn't happen). Most likely, he or she will put together a case and sue the insurance company for lost wages.
If the case proceeds to litigation, additional factors may play into deciding the amount awarded. If the insurance company believes your lawyer's case is strong enough, they may indeed end up offering a fairly handsome settlement amount. Although generally, insurance companies end up fighting these cases tooth and nail.
Loss of future earning capacity, which involves projecting a worker's potential salary over his lifetime, can also be difficult to calculate. Nevertheless, your Philadelphia car accident lawyer can help you navigate these difficult and confusing situations.
What are all the potential areas you could potentially be compensated for?
Areas of Compensation
If you're in an accident and the other party is found at fault, these are the potential categories you could end up being compensated for.
- Lost past earnings. You've lost these earnings since the accident up until the court date. Your Philadelphia accident lawyer can help you total these figures to make sure you're properly compensated.
- Future earning capacity. This is an estimate of how much you would have earned had you not been permanently injured as a result of the accident. This type of compensation claim only happens during severe injuries that involve the victim being rendered physically incapable of working for the remainder of their lives.
- Pain & Suffering. Pain and suffering is an estimates of the emotional toll the accident took on you. Your Philadelphia accident lawyer can help you come up with a monetary total that appropriately conveys the damage the accident has caused in your personal life and your mental state.
- Permanent disability. This is similar to long-term earning loss but is a separate figure for being permanently injured or disfigured.
- Medical Care. This is the total cost or estimate of the total cost of your medical expenses past, present, and future.
- Property Damage. If an accident involving property damage (if a vehicle hit you in your front yard and then ran into your house) takes place, this covers the cost of the damaged property.
- Legal Costs. This is the total of all your attorney's fees. You may sue for this amount as well.
- Court Costs. This is the total figure of how much it costs for court filings and proceedings.
- Other Expenses. Any additional expenses you incurred as a result of the accident and case – gas, or anything else you can think of that you came out of pocket for.
- Rehabilitation Services. If you require physical therapy or rehabilitation, your Philadelphia accident lawyer may help with this as well.
What Happens If The Insurance Company Doesn't Settle?
Once you retain counsel, they'll start gathering documentation supporting your claim, such as witness statements, sworn affidavits, photographs of the scene, etc. Once they complete their investigation, your attorney will draft a formal complaint outlining the facts surrounding your accident.
Afterward, you'll appear in front of a judge to settle the case. At this hearing, the opposing side will present its defense and challenge the validity of your claim. If the judge finds enough merit, s/he will set forth findings of fact and conclusions of law detailing exactly how much your lawyer is asking for in return.
Based on these findings, the judge makes a decision as to whether the claim succeeds. If a verdict favorable to the plaintiff is reached, the judge will decide upon a fair amount that the insurance company is responsible for paying.
Your Philadelphia accident lawyer can help you put all of this information together. They will communicate for you, handle the insurance company, handle all legal proceedings, and file any necessary paperwork. They're basically the expert go-between for you and the other side and the legal system.
Can the Insurance Company Appeal in Philadelphia
Yes, they can, and they most likely will. Insurance companies will never admit guilt, regardless of the results of the civil proceedings. However, sometimes they choose not to contest liability outright.
They may even argue they're not at fault because of an error on the part of their insured client. In this case, they're hanging their client out to dry, which is another entirely matter.
Insurance companies almost always deny wrongdoing. Furthermore, they will often threaten that you won't receive any money at all if you take the matter to court.
In the end, the last thing they'd ever want is a judgment against them. Your Philadelphia car accident lawyer will rely heavily on expert testimony to combat this tactic.
Experts evaluate the accident's aftermath to prove the severity of the injuries suffered. Medical reports document specific details of treatment received, allowing experts to describe the patient's physical condition accurately. Without such evidence, juries often struggle to comprehend complex matters.
Additionally, insurance companies hire outside consultants to review accident reports and interview witnesses. Their goal is to determine the true scope of the accident and support their argument that their insured client wasn't negligent.
However, the right Philadelphia accident lawyer will be armed with experts of their own to investigate the scene o the accident and get you the results you deserve.
Call Today For A Free Consultation From An Experienced Philadelphia Accident Lawyer at Mattiacci Law
Don't let an insurance company intimidate you. Contact Mattiacci Law to get expert representation in the Philadelphia area.