Like any major city, Philadelphia has its fair share of traffic congestion, road rage, and distracted driving. Along with this reality comes the simple fact that accidents happen; in an urban environment with lots of vehicles and little patience, accidents happen often. Because the laws governing car accidents and compensation vary state to state, it can be confusing to try and navigate the insurance and legal hurdles that follow a collision.
You don’t have to face these trials along, though. Retaining an experienced legal representative can help to ensure that you get the payment you need to handle your losses after an accident. The team of professionals at the Reiff Law Firm have more than 40 years’ experience fighting through the Pennsylvania legal system to find justice for their clients. For a free consultation, call us today at (215) 515-3913.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you have just been in the middle of a car accident, the first thing you should do is take stock and see if you have any injuries. Your first concern should always be for the health and safety of you and your passengers; if necessary, seek medical attention for your injuries. Then, if you are physically able, try to gather as much information as you can about what happened. This will help establish the facts of your case later on.
- Gather all pertinent information about all other drivers involved, including their name, driver’s license number, address, phone number, insurance company, and car insurance policy number.
- Talk to any witnesses at the scene and see if anyone is willing to make a statement. Get their contact information – name, address, phone number.
- Ask for the name and badge number of any officer who responds to the scene. Make sure to find out when and where you can obtain a copy of the police report.
- Take photographs of the scene, making sure to capture the traffic conditions, damage to your vehicle, road conditions, weather, and any other details that could have bearing on the situation. If you are not able to take the pictures yourself, consider asking a bystander to take photos and send them to you.
Police policy in Philadelphia does not require police to respond to minor accidents, those in which there are no injuries or damage to surroundings. If this applies to the incident you are involved in, don’t expect the police to arrive; in this case, documenting the scene yourself is all the more important.
Who is Liable After a Crash in Pennsylvania
The key issue at stake after most accidents is the idea of fault: who is to blame for what happened, and what should the consequences be? The laws in Pennsylvania have specific guidelines that apply to car accidents and other types of personal injury cases. These laws will shape the course of any legal action you take and will determine your ability to recover any losses.
Car Insurance Laws
After an accident, the first concern of most drivers is, understandably, gathering insurance information from those involved. In Pennsylvania, however, the damages and costs caused by an accident are paid for by your own insurance, rather than the other driver’s.
This is because PA is a “no-fault” car insurance state; under Pennsylvania law, fault does not matter after an accident unless it caused “serious injury.” A skilled legal representative can help you determine whether your injuries could meet this threshold, thereby allowing you to hold the other driver or drivers liable.
Comparative Fault in Pennsylvania
Assuming that you are able to circumvent the state’s no-fault laws and establish liability on the part of the other driver, you will then need to grapple with the concept of comparative negligence. This is the standard by which the state metes out blame and calculates compensation in civil cases: a determination will be made as to your level of fault in the accident, then the restitution you receive will be reduced by a commensurate amount.
For example, if you are found to have suffered $100,000 in damages but are considered 30 percent at fault for the accident, the amount you receive will be reduced by the same percentage; in this example, you would be paid $70,000 at the end of the proceedings. For this reason, using the expertise of a legal professional can make all the difference. An attorney can work to reduce your level of blame and increase the amount you are ultimate awarded.
Temple Student Car Accident Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
If you have recently been involved in a car accident in Philadelphia, don’t wait to act. Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations requires that you file your suit within a certain time frame; delaying could cost you in the end. An experienced lawyer can help guide you through the process and maximize the recovery of your losses. Over the last 40 years practicing law, the attorneys of the Reiff Law Firm have won hundreds of millions of dollars for clients. Call us today at (215) 515-3913 and schedule your free consultation.