Have you or a loved one been injured in an auto accident in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? Contact our team of Pennsylvania car accident injury attorneys for legal guidance and counseling. Depending on the nature of the accident, you may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, loss wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania car accident attorneys know first hand how stressful motor vehicle accidents can be. Our practice focuses on handling serious car accident cases throughout all of Pennsylvania. We are here to help you in your time of need.
Contact our experienced Allentown, Pennsylvania car accident lawyers today for a free consultation. We will thoroughly analyze your claim, determine the present value of your claim (which may increase in the future) and take the necessary steps to get you the benefits and financial compensation you deserve. Our car accident lawyers serve all of Pennsylvania including Allegheny County, Blair County, Lehigh County, Erie County, Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Berks County, Chester County, Lancaster County, Schuylkill County and York County, Pennsylvania. Se Habla Espanol
Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawsuit Overview
In order to establish fault and hold the negligent driver accountable for the car accident, you will have to file a civil cause of action. You will have to prove that the driver owed you a duty of care, breached the duty of care, was the cause of your injury, and that you suffered harm as a result of the negligent driver. All drivers owe other drivers and pedestrians a reasonable duty of care to drive as a skilled driver. A breach occurs when the driver fails to uphold the duty of care. For example, if the driver gets behind the wheel under the influence of a controlled substance and causes a car accident, then that driver has breached the duty of care.
Once breach is established, you will have to show that the driver’s actions were the cause of your injuries. But for the driver running the red light, the car accident would not have never occurred. To discuss your case, your rights and what benefits you may be entitled to please contact our Scranton, Pennsylvania car accident lawyers.
Common Causes Of Pennsylvania Car Accidents
Most car accidents occur for the following reasons:
1. Distracted Driving: One of the leading causes of Pennsylvania car accidents is distracted driving. Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes a person’s attention away from driving. The three main types of distracted driving occur when a person takes his/her eyes off the road, takes his/her hands of the wheel, and takes his/her mind off driving, such as texting while driving.
If you were involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, contact us for a consultation. Pennsylvania has taken a strong stance against distracted drivers. Contact our Erie, Pennsylvania accident lawyers to find out what your legal options are in recovering damages related to your car accident injuries.
2. Drunk Driving: Drunk driving is another leading cause of car accidents. According to MADD, every two minutes, someone is injured in a car accident due to a drunk driver. Contact us for a consultation if you were involved in a drunk driving accident. You can file a civil cause of action against the drunk driver for compensatory and punitive damages.
3. Speeding: Excessive speeding is another leading cause of car accidents. People driving at excessive speeds are five times as likely to be involved in a car accident in comparison to drivers who stay within the speed limit. In 2014, over 31% of all fatal crashes were caused by speed related crashes.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Serious car accidents, trucking accidents and motorcycle accidents happen everyday throughout Pennsylvania. They can happen in an instant and their injuries can have a lasting effect on your life. In the event that you are injured in Pennsylvania while operating a motor vehicle you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries sustained. Contacting a skilled York County car accident attorney who handles injuries suffered in auto accidents is a smart move.
Common car accident injuries can be:
Head injuries including concussions, closed head wounds and open head injuries.
Back injuries such as sprains, strains and disc injuries.
Joint and ligament injuries including fractures, tears and sprains.
Neck injuries like whiplash, strains and cervical spine injuries.
Broken bones which can include femur fractures, humerus breaks and fractured disc injuries.
Sprains and strains including in the back, neck and other muscle groups.
Central Nervous System (CNS) injuries including paralysis, brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Wrongful Death including drivers, passengers and unborn babies.
Compensation Sources In PA Injury Cases
When, where and how your car accident took place has a lot to do with determining what sources of compensation you may be entitled to. Common means of compensation in Pennsylvania auto accident injury cases are: current and future medical benefits, therapy costs, surgery costs, financial compensation, lost wages compensation and, if applicable, pain and suffering compensation. Working with a Dauphin County car accident injury lawyer will ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation and benefits for your injuries.
Pennsylvania Motor Tort Laws
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania employs full tort and limited tort automobile insurance options in an effort to lessen the number of pain and suffering lawsuits in Pennsylvania courts. Concerned about the high rates of automobile insurance, Pennsylvania, like all states, has mandatory minimum personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage in the attempt to reduce the number of lawsuits resulting from automobile accidents. PIP insurance covers the medical bills of drivers involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. The idea behind the creation of PIP insurance was that it would reduce the number of ‘pain and suffering’ or ‘loss’ lawsuits, thereby reducing insurance company payouts and ultimately reducing insurance premiums.
When motorists buy auto insurance insurance in Pennsylvania there are 2 types: limited tort or full tort. The word tort is legal jargon for wrongdoing. In civil lawsuits such as auto accident, personal injury and wrongful death claims it refers to a wrongful act for which damages can be sought by the injured party.”
In Pennsylvania, insurance companies offer full tort coverage which gives covered individuals the ability to sue in court for all damages, and limited tort coverage which “limits” the ability to sue for pain and suffering. Both full tort and limited tort coverage only apply in situations where the driver or passengers have been injured in an accident that is not the driver’s fault. The victim then has the option of bringing charges against the at-fault driver to sue in court for unpaid medical bills, property damage, loss of income, pain, and suffering.
Limited tort coverage is less expensive, so it is appealing to consumers as a way to save on their insurance premiums. This option will save approximately 15% in premiums annually. However, by choosing limited tort, consumers give up the ability to sue for “pain and suffering” unless the injuries suffered are considered a “serious injury” as that term in defined in the standard automobile insurance policy in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, consumers likely will not read these lengthy policies before electing “limited tort” or “full tort” and consequently, they could be misled by the terms in the election. In particular, “serious injury” is defined as “death, significant deformity or impairment of body function.” As a result, most consumers who elect “limited tort” believing it is reasonable to only make a claim for “pain and suffering” if their injury is serious, do not realize that most insurance companies do not consider even permanent injuries to be “serious injuries” if the consumer is not dead, disfigured or crippled. For example, insurance carriers will deny claim for “pain and suffering” where the injured victim has suffered a herniated disc or even broken bones.
Where Accidents Happen In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, particularly the Philadelphia area has an extraordinary amount of roads, highways, by-passes and interstates running through its length and width. Also, as Pennsylvania borders New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware it has a very high percentage of non-Pennsylvania resident drivers on its many miles of roads. Many people living in neighboring states work, shop and enjoy the culture in the Philadelphia area. For the most part people drive in and around Philadelphia with no major problems or incidents. However, there is the potential of being involved in some type of car, truck or motorcycle accident while in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Highways And Interstates
Some of the more common roads, highway, and interstate accidents in the Allentown, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Harrisburg areas are below. Our Altoona auto accident attorneys have experience handling the following types of accidents:
PA Turnpike Accidents Accidents Route 1 Accidents Route 52 Accidents
I-95 Accidents Route 30 Accidents Route 63 Accidents
I-76 AccidentsRoute 611 AccidentsRoute 73 Accidents
I-276 Accidents Route 113 Accidents Route 322 Accidents
I-476 Accidents Route 202 Accidents Route 90 Accidents
I-376 Accidents I-79 Accidents I-80 Accidents I-279 Accidents
Car, truck and motorcycle accidents on highways and interstates can vary and commonly include rear end collision accidents. These can occur at varying levels of speed depending on the road conditions and circumstances. Often, when changing lanes and not taking proper safety precautions such as looking in your blind spot, side swiping or front end clipping accidents can occur. On roads without medians, head on collisions may occur if one car drifts into the oncoming lane or proper passing techniques are not employed. Catastrophic and fatal injuries can be caused in a highway accident if a large vehicle such as a tractor trailer, or commercial service vehicle is involved.
Injuries and wrecked vehicles are just some of the casualties of an auto accident. Many times, you may need medical care, long term care, rehabilitation, medications and lost wage reimbursement. Working with an Erie County Pennsylvania Accident Attorney is always in your best interest if you have been involved in a car or truck accident. They will determine the full amount of your claim and get you the financial compensation and medical care you are entitled to.
Pennsylvania is a “Choice No Fault” Car Insurance State
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of numerous states that employs a “no-fault” system when it comes to financial responsibility for injuries sustained in a car accident. In a no-fault state, a driver usually turns to his or her own insurance policy to get compensation for injuries up to the personal injury protection (PIP) limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Under Pennsylvania insurance laws drivers have the right to choose between no-fault insurance coverage and traditional insurance coverage. Going the traditional coverage route means that all options are on the table after a car accident. If injured in an accident you can sue the at-fault driver, but you’re also opening yourself up to a lawsuit if you’re to blame for the accident.
If drivers choose no-fault, a liability claim or lawsuit against the other driver can still proceed, but only if the accident involved “serious injury” under state law, which usually means something more than soft tissue injury — and even head injuries don’t tend to qualify unless they’re pretty significant. Severe injury in Pennsylvania typically requires serious impairment of a body function or permanent and serious disfigurement, according to recent court decisions in the state.
Keep in mind that the no-fault rules only apply to personal injury; if you have suffered property damage as a result of the accident, the at-fault driver can still be on the financial hook for those losses.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania requires that any operator of a motor vehicle maintain certain minimum amounts of liability insurance on that vehicle. Pennsylvania’s minimum coverage amounts are:
- $15,000 (per person) personal injury protection for third parties (passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, etc.)
- $30,000 total per accident personal injury protection for third parties (other motorists and pedestrians)
- $5,000 per occurrence property damage protection
- $5,000 in no-fault PIP coverage
In addition, the state also accepts certain all-purpose policies with a minimum of $35,000 total coverage.
While these are the minimum amounts of auto coverage required under Pennsylvania law, you should strongly consider carrying a policy with higher limits. If you are held liable after an accident and the damages exceed the other party’s PIP limits and the coverage limits of your policy (not all that far-fetched a scenario if you’ve only met Pennsylvania’s relatively low minimum requirements), then you may be personally liable for paying the difference.
Uninsured-Underinsured Motorist Coverage Laws In PA
Pennsylvania does not require that motorists purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). UIM is a supplemental feature of your policy that provides protection if you are injured in an accident where the at-fault driver either has no auto insurance at all, or their policy is insufficient to cover your damages. For example, if you have $30,000 in damages above the PIP limit and the other driver carries only the state minimum coverage of $25,000, then your UIM will kick in to pick up the remaining $5,000.
Pennsylvania Car Accident Laws
If your injury claim is serious enough to let you step outside of Pennsylvania’s no-fault system and file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident, there are a few state laws that could come into play, starting with the deadline for filing a personal injury case in court. This kind of law is called a “statute of limitations,” and every state has one; different deadlines apply to different kinds of cases.
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after an car accident in Pennsylvania are:
- two years after the accident for filing a personal injury lawsuit (42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. section 5524(2))
- two years after the accident for filing a lawsuit for property damage (i.e. making a vehicle damage claim) (42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. section 5524(3)).
If you miss the two-year lawsuit filing window, the court will probably throw your case out, so it’s crucial to pay attention to the Pennsylvania statute of limitations as it applies to your claim. Even if you’re only making a third party insurance claim against the other driver and you think it’s bound to settle outside of court, you always want to keep open the option of turning to the court system for a remedy if the settlement process isn’t promising a satisfactory solution.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyers
Our Lancaster, Pennsylvania auto accident lawyers and Harrisburg accident attorneys are standing by ready to assist you. They provide legal representation to accident and injury victims throughout all of Pennsylvania. Contact them for a free initial consultation. Our Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania automotive accident attorneys charge no fee for accident and injury claims unless they recover for you.
They proudly help auto accident and personal injury victims get the benefits and financial compensation they deserve throughout Pennsylvania including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Upper Darby, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Bethlehem, Lower Merion Township, Norristown, Lancaster, Chester, West Chester, Media, Kennett Square, York, Harrisburg, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Lebanon, New Castle, Kennett Square, Lansdale, Abington, Bensalem, Pottsville, Pottstown, Gettysburg, State College, Lock Haven, Warminster, Radnor, Wayne, Intercourse, Williamsport, McKeesport, Monroeville, Cranberry Township, Easton, Horsham, Feasterville, Doylestown, Blue Bell, New Hope, Phoenixville, Bloomsburg and Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.