When you’re injured in an accident, the insurance companies and the at-fault driver will not take your needs into account. Many car accident victims find themselves with serious injuries and difficulty getting the compensation they need without the help of an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer.
The Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Reiff Law Firm use their decades of experience to help clients get compensation for their trauma and injuries. Our attorneys approach every case’s unique circumstances with strategies to help clients achieve their goals. Our focus on investigation and fact-finding helps us find the proof to maximize your compensation, with a goal of getting you the best outcome possible. For a free consultation on your case, call our Philadelphia car accident lawyers today at (215) 709-6940.
Does Your Car Accident Injury Qualify for Compensation?
First, you should understand that any injury you get in a car accident, whether a tailgating accident or a head-on crash, can qualify for compensation. Whether the money comes from your insurance, the other driver’s insurance or from a lawsuit, any injury should be eligible. No government agency decides what qualifications there are for you to file a car accident lawsuit for compensation.
The type of compensation that an insurance company may offer you is often limited, though. For instance, insurance companies do not pay for pain and suffering. That means that smaller injuries that did not need medical treatment might not get you compensated for the pain you faced.
Different types of insurance sometimes restrict your right to sue for compensation. “Limited tort” insurance policies in Pennsylvania might prevent you from suing the at-fault driver for injuries unless you meet certain damage thresholds or your injuries meet certain definitions.
You should speak to one of our attorneys about what process is best for your case: an insurance claim or a lawsuit.
How Much is a Car Crash Claim Worth in Philadelphia?
The value of a car accident claim depends on many factors. First, what injuries you suffered will significantly affect the value of your case. The type of car insurance you have, what coverage levels you carry, and what supplementary coverage options your policy has will also play a significant role in determining potential settlements. Finally, your negotiation ability is a huge factor.
Usually, your insurance will only cover damages up to a relatively low dollar amount compared to the total damages you might have faced in your case. This means that if your injuries go beyond these low limits, you will need to file a third-party claim against the other driver’s insurance, or you might need to fight to prove your injuries and the other driver’s fault in a lawsuit to get the damages you need.
Insurance companies often have highly-paid legal teams on their side. These teams fight to reduce your injury claims, hire their own experts to argue that you were at fault, and otherwise seek to drive down the cost of settlements through sharp negotiations. To fight these tactics, you need a legal team of your own.
The Reiff Law Firm’s experience with motor vehicle accident cases puts them at the same level as these legal teams and can help get you the settlement you deserve. If they refuse to settle for a fair price, we will take them to court and fight to get you the compensation you need at trial.
What Types of Damages Are Awarded After a Car Accident in Philadelphia?
Many car accident victims are concerned with what their injury case is worth and how much compensation they will be able to get. When you are facing expensive medical bills, time off work, and severe pain and suffering, it can be difficult to know how you will be able to support yourself financially moving forward. If you have a family to look out for, you will need to know the damages you can claim and start working to collect them as soon as possible.
Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers have handled thousands of car accident cases, and we understand what kinds of damages our clients need. The damages you can claim are often split into a few different categories of damages, and there are some important things to know about how to claim these damages and how to prove what damages you faced. Our attorneys explain:
Most damages that car insurance claims will pay are known as “economic damages” because they have a clear monetary value associated with them. The main two areas of economic damages that car accident victims face are medical bills and lost wages.
Medical bills for emergency transportation to the hospital, emergency care and surgeries, follow-up appointments with your doctor, and ongoing physical therapy or mental health counseling are all included in the economic damages you can claim in your case. These damages will vary from case to case depending on what injuries you faced and what kind of care you reasonably needed to treat them. Our attorneys will be able to crack open your records and check with the hospital and your health insurance company to find out what expenses you paid and what future charges you might face for your injuries.
Lost wages are also a vital factor in your case. If your injuries are severe enough that you had to miss work, then you and your family could be without economic support when you need it most. If your injuries keep you from going back to work entirely or force you to go on disability, then you could be losing out on significant funds today and for the foreseeable future. Our auto accident lawyers work to calculate not only the past and present lost wages you face, but also the reduced earning capacity that will continue to affect you for years to come.
Economic damages can also include other costs and expenses you faced because of the accident, such as vehicle repairs, alternative transportation, childcare during medical appointments, payments for household services, and other damages linked to the crash.
If one area of damages is called “economic damages,” it makes sense that another is called “non-economic damages.” Where economic damages deal with bills, pay stubs, and other records of how much the damages cost you, non-economic damages pay you for things that do not have a clear monetary paper trail. The most common non-economic damages to claim in a car accident case in Philadelphia are pain and suffering damages.
Pain and suffering damages compensate you for the experiences you faced, the physical pain of a bad injury, the emotional distress of the injury, the mental anguish associated with it, and more. One area of pain and suffering damages compensates victims for reduced enjoyment of various activities or an overall loss of enjoyment in their life. When injuries are especially severe and stop you from participating in fun activities like tennis or swimming – or when they prevent you from picking up your children or holding your spouse – these damages can be quite high.
Sometimes damages are awarded to victims in order to punish the at-fault parties. These damages are usually known as “punitive” or “exemplary” damages. They are not paid specifically to compensate damages like those for medical bills or pain and suffering, but rather to punish the at-fault parties for especially severe negligence or a pattern of negligence that continues to put others at risk.
Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in severe cases involving drunk driving, reckless driving, or road rage in order to punish a seriously dangerous driver. They are also sometimes awarded in cases against at-fault truck drivers and the dangerous companies that hire them.
If drivers repeatedly cause accidents and have a record of causing severe accidents, that could inspire the court to award their victims punitive damages at well. However, these damages are rare.
Our attorneys can help you determine whether punitive damages could be available in your case and how much we might be able to ask for.
Proving Damages in Philadelphia Car Accident Cases
Before the court can award you any payments for your injuries, vehicle damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other expenses, you will need to prove your damages to the judge or jury. Our attorneys have decades of experience assembling financial records, estimating the cost of injuries, hiring experts to project future damages, and proving all of these values in court.
The first step in proving damages will be to collect all the evidence we can. This includes your medical bills, your pay stubs, any receipts for other payments related to the crash, your overall financial records, and other documents showing the cost of damages. For non-economic damages like pain and suffering, your testimony and the testimony of those around you will be the most important evidence. If you can keep a journal of your recovery, these contemporary statements could also be good evidence showing where you were in your recovery, how you felt about everything, and how the injuries were affecting your life.
The second step will be to calculate the total value of these damages. In many cases, pain and suffering damages are calculated by comparing them to awards in other cases to see what similar juries awarded similar victims for the same kinds of injuries. Then, we adjust the claims based on the facts of your case. Furthermore, some damages might require economic experts to help calculate them properly. We can hire experts to give evidence of what future medical bills will cost and calculate the current value of those damages so we know how much to claim.
The third step will be to actually present these damages in court. As part of your case, we will either send letters to your insurance company detailing the total value of damages we are claiming or we will file paperwork with the courts listing the total value of damages. If the case goes to trial, we will present the evidence in a clear way that the jury can follow and prove these costs alongside the other facts we need to prove in your case.
Types of Car Accidents for which You May be Able to File a Lawsuit for in Philadelphia
Car accidents can happen in a number of different ways. We generally assign names to some of these accidents based on how the cars hit each other, and many of these car accidents within each type share similar fact patterns and are resolved in similar ways. For instance, we usually know that a driver who rear-ends another in a rear-end collision is the one who was at fault, unless of course the driver in front was backing up at the time of the crash.
Our Philadelphia auto accident lawyers explain some of the different types of car accidents in Philadelphia and explain how these cases can be resolved, what laws are violated, and who is typically at fault in these kinds of accidents:
As mentioned, rear-end crashes are usually caused by the car to the rear. If one driver is tailgating another or following too closely, they are usually at fault for the crash. This happens because there are laws dictating how far back you can follow someone, and it is generally considered unsafe to follow so closely that you cannot stop in case of an emergency. However, the driver to the front could be at fault if they were backing up into the other driver, they rolled back on a steep hill, or they “brake-checked” the driver behind them by suddenly slamming on the brakes.
When two drivers crash straight into each other, there is usually a serious violation that caused the crash. These kinds of accidents are common when one driver crosses a double yellow line into oncoming traffic or when they go the wrong way down a one-way street. These accidents also happen when drivers fail to yield to oncoming cars at a left turn. All of these violations usually mean that that driver is at fault.
When one car crashes into the side of another car in a T shape, it is not immediately obvious which driver is at fault. Usually, these crashes happen at intersections where one driver enters the intersection illegally. Whichever driver entered the intersection illegally after running a stop sign or a red light or failing to yield to other signals is usually the one at fault for the crash. Whether they are the driver of the car that was hit or the car that did the hitting, they can be held responsible.
Sideswipe accidents usually involve parked cars or they occur between cars on highways or multi-lane streets. If you are getting in or out of a car parked on the side of the road and another driver sideswipes you, they are often at fault for the crash. If you are on the highway or a multi-lane road when this kind of crash occurs, whichever driver crossed a line into another driver’s lane is usually at fault. While merging, this means that the car coming onto the highway is usually at fault because PA law requires drivers to yield when changing lanes or merging.
Usually, these crashes do not cause much damage in the initial crash. Instead, drivers are often forced into other lanes or driven into walls on the sides of the road, suffering additional injuries in that secondary crash. The driver who caused the initial crash is usually responsible for any damages that stem from that crash.
Cars may seem difficult to roll, but when drivers are not careful, cars can be flipped far more easily than one might expect. If you were a passenger in a car where the driver was going way too fast around a dangerous turn, you could be entitled to sue the driver for damages if they rolled the car and injured you in the process. In many T-bone crashes and other side-impact collisions, cars could also be flipped.
In some cases, the increased rollover rate is a factor of serious design defects and dangers in the vehicle’s manufacturing process. If these kinds of problems contributed to the crash, you could be entitled to file a lawsuit against the auto manufacturer for the increased damages and injuries alongside the damages from any drivers who contributed to causing the crash.
Single Vehicle Crashes
If a car drives off the road, crashes into a stationary object, or flips because of driver error, inclement weather, or other problems, there might still be ways to seek compensation. Generally speaking, you cannot claim compensation from other people if you were wholly at fault for your single-car crash. However, your insurance might cover your injuries anyway, even if you cannot claim full compensation for your damages. If you were driving safely, but road conditions, inclement weather, or vehicle malfunctions cause the crash, there could be other parties to sue.
If you were injured as a passenger in a single-vehicle accident where the driver was acting irresponsibly, driving under the influence, or violating traffic laws, you could be entitled to sue them for the crash.
How Can Having a Car Accident Lawyer Help Maximize Your Ability to Recover Compensation?
One of the primary goals for an experienced car accident lawyer is not only to get you the maximum amount of compensation that your injury is worth but also to get it to you with the least amount of conflict. Hiring an experienced Philadelphia auto accident attorney can not only help you get a better idea of what your case is worth, but it will also put an experienced negotiator in your corner.
Trying to settle a lawsuit with insurance or against attorneys on your own without legal counsel can be difficult. Our Philadelphia car accident personal injury lawyers have the experience necessary to know what your injuries are worth and how high a settlement offer should be. Plus, for most people, an accident is personal; they hurt you, and you want compensation. Hiring an attorney can help put distance between you and the legal dispute, allowing cooler heads to discuss the issue rationally.
In many cases, insurance representatives and defense lawyers are very sharp negotiators, and they will do everything in their power to drive down the cost of settlements and exclude certain damages from coverage. Many settlement negotiations also end in low damages because that is considered to be part of the “cost” of settling since both sides save money by not going to court.
At Reiff Law Firm, we refuse to settle cases that do not compensate our victims fairly. If necessary, we will take your case to court and fight to get you higher damages than you would be able to get through an insurance claim. Most insurance policies exclude damages for pain and suffering, and you would likely not receive punitive damages in any settlement. Going to court can often be a better way to get the full damages you need in your case and maximize your compensation. Our car accident lawyers will help advise you on what path is best in your case.
Specific Issues That May Come Up During Your Car Accident Lawsuit
Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers encourage anyone who was injured in an accident to consult with an attorney before handling their case. There are many nuanced legal issues that could arise in your case, and the lawyers at Reiff Law Firm have decades of experience identifying these problems and resolving them for our clients.
Multi-Car Collisions and Pileups
One of the first legal issues you might face the question about what to do when multiple cars were involved in the crash. The law in Pennsylvania allows victims to apportion blame across multiple drivers, which can be especially helpful in three-way collisions, pileups, and other complex cases involving multiple drivers and multiple at-fault parties. Often in these cases, it is just as important to defend yourself as it is to accuse others of blame.
Partial Fault and Victim Blaming
Along with that, many car accident cases will see the defendant try to blame the victim for the crash. In some cases, they try to entirely reverse the claim, saying that they did nothing and that the crash was actually your fault. In others, they simply seek to reduce their damages by claiming that you made your own errors, such as speeding, distracted driving, or tailgating.
Pennsylvania law also has rules for dealing with this, and our Philadelphia car accident attorneys have decades of experience fighting these kinds of defenses and helping our clients avoid losing damages to these claims.
Statute of Limitations for Pennsylvania Car Accident Cases
Sometimes it takes a long time to recover from your injuries, assemble information about the case, find the right auto accident lawyer, and get your case filed with the courts. Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations blocks victims of car accidents from filing for damages more than two years after the crash in most cases.
If you were injured when you were a minor or while suffering from a disability that prevents you from appreciating and understanding your right to sue, this deadline could be delayed. However, it is still often better to file your claim as soon as possible.
Sometimes, adding a second defendant (such as the at-fault delivery driver’s employer) comes up far later in the case, but these additional joinders must be processed before the deadline as well, or else you might not be able to recover compensation against those parties.
Jurisdiction and Venue
Sometimes, car accident injury cases in Philadelphia deal with complex legal issues with jurisdiction and venue – questions of where the lawsuit can be filed. In most cases, Philadelphia courts will have jurisdiction over any car accidents that happened in Philadelphia. Sometimes, the accident might have occurred just over the line into Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, or even across the border into New Jersey. Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers can work to make sure that your case is filed in the right court so that you have a fair opportunity to have your case heard.
Filing Deadlines and Procedural Issues
Many cases are won and lost on procedural arguments. Being able to understand who was at fault and what evidence is needed to prove that is only half the case in many lawsuits. The other half is making sure that filing deadlines are met, or else cases could be dismissed. You must also make sure that arguments are made at the right time in the right way, or else the court could be entitled to ignore your claims. Our auto accident lawyers have over 40 years of experience working with substantive and procedural law throughout the Philadelphia area on behalf of our car accident injury victims.
The Issue of “Fault” in Car Accident Claims and How it Affects the Amount You Can Recover
One of the first questions involved in any car accident is the question of fault. Whether you are at fault for a crash is often one of the first things that a driver thinks about – and then most insurance claims and court cases for Philadelphia car accidents will revolve around proving who is at fault. Issues of fault specifically come up in both insurance claims and court cases, often in different ways. Issues of fault in a Philadelphia car accident case can also modify how much your case might be worth.
Full Tort and Limited Tort Auto Insurance in PA
Most states are either “fault” or “no-fault” states when it comes to auto insurance. In fault-based states, everyone is allowed to sue for injuries after a car accident, but the other driver’s insurance covers the accident. This can usually let drivers file insurance claims against the other driver’s policy instead of going to court. In “no-fault” states, the law prohibits lawsuits unless the case is worth over a certain amount of money or the injuries meet certain “verbal thresholds” and definitions of “serious.” In “no-fault” states, your own insurance covers you first, then you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance if your damages go over your policy’s limit.
Pennsylvania uses a mix of these systems, allowing drivers to choose limited tort options so that they can get damages fast and without proving fault from their own insurance company after a crash. However, if drivers want to preserve their right to sue and take the at-fault driver to court every time, they can pay a bit extra for “full tort” policies. This is why PA’s insurance system is called a “choice no-fault” system.
Whether you have a full tort or limited tort policy will change whether you can sue, what first-party benefits you can receive without having to prove fault, and how much you can claim against the other driver’s insurance. In any case, though, very expensive injuries and very serious or permanent injuries can usually go straight to court with the help of a car accident lawyer.
Proving Fault in a Car Accident Lawsuit
If your car accident injury case goes to court, you will have to prove that the other driver was at fault to get compensation. Proving fault usually means showing that the at-fault driver owed you some legal duty, and that they breached that duty, which resulted in your injuries. This “duty” can come from a traffic law, such as the duty to stop at red lights, or it can come from basic safe-driving regulations, such as the expectation that everyone behind the wheel will pay reasonable attention to the road.
Some clear examples of negligence in a car accident case involve the following:
- Distracted driving, e.g., texting, eating, or making a phone call
- Drunk driving
- Violating traffic laws, e.g., speeding, running red lights, or failing to yield
- Driving too fast for weather conditions
- Driving without full control of the steering wheel
If you can successfully convince a jury that the other driver was more likely than not at fault for the crash, the court can award you damages. Sometimes, the court apportions fault to multiple drivers, and then each at-fault driver would be responsible for the appropriate share of the damages.
Modified Comparative Fault Rules in PA Car Accidents
Since the courts are allowed to apportion partial blame to any driver involved in a car crash, that could mean assigning a certain level of blame to the victim as well. In some cases, the injury lawyer can overcome these accusations and keep the blame focused on the defendants. If not, the court could declare that the victim shares a certain percentage of fault in the crash.
When a driver is accused of contributing to their own crash, Pennsylvania’s modified comparative fault laws still allow them to recover compensation. However, the damages they receive will be reduced by their share of fault. For instance, if your damages total $100,000 in your case, but the court finds you were 10% at fault for the crash, then your damages will be reduced by 10% to a total of $90,000. Damages are cut off entirely if the victim was more at fault than the defendants.
Our lawyers will fight to avoid this if at all possible in your case.
How Does Insurance Work After a Car Accident?
Dealing with insurance companies after a car crash is often a huge hassle that ends up getting car accident victims far less than they are entitled to. At Reiff Law Firm, we often reject insurance settlements because they are far too low and fly in the face of what our clients actually need after a crash.
First, it is important to understand that insurance companies make money by not paying claims. When insurance companies collect insurance payments (premiums), they calculate them based on the risk that they will have to pay money for this driver. If they pay out damages after a crash, they quite simply lose money. If they pay you first-party damages through no-fault insurance, they might raise your premiums to help recoup some of their losses.
Insurance companies seek to reject claims for many reasons. Technicalities, confusing information, or even mistakes on an insurance form can lead to a denial. Adjusters are also encouraged to offer low settlements to help drive down the cost to the insurance company. If the other driver’s insurance company thinks the case was not their driver’s fault, they might also reject your third-party claim.
Insurance adjusters are trained to look at cases, analyze who was at fault, deny fault for their driver, request additional proof, and reject as many claims as they legally can. In some cases, talking with the insurance adjuster at all could be risky, as they could use anything you say against you. Instead, talk to a lawyer, and we will deal with the insurance company for you.
It is also incredibly important to be aware of “bad faith insurance” issues. The law requires auto insurance companies to deal in good faith, meaning that they have a legal obligation to make an honest effort to pay claims according to the insurance policy. If they deny claims, delay claims, delay payment, or outright reject claims without good cause, they could violate that duty. Our Philadelphia accident attorneys may be able to sue your insurance company for bad faith after an accident if they refuse to cover your claim.
Dealing with a Non-Driver’s Insurance Company
Sometimes the insurance companies you have to deal with are not auto insurance companies at all. For instance, many businesses with delivery drivers or companies who send workers out in trucks or vans to job sites could have their own business liability insurance. If you are hit by one of their drivers, that insurance company might be involved in the case. Business insurance or homeowners insurance could also be involved in cases where your car crashes into a storefront or a house.
One of the most interesting ways that a non-driver’s insurance company could be involved in a case is if you were hit by a drunk driver after they left a bar or restaurant. Pennsylvania’s “dram shop” act allows victims of drunk driving accidents to sue the bar or restaurant that over-served the driver. There may even be ways to sue private individuals and their homeowners insurance for social guests who were over-served before driving.
When you sue these bars and restaurants, they can be forced to pay damages because of the fact that they let someone become intoxicated and then failed to stop them from getting behind the wheel. This means you will have to fight not only against the at-fault driver’s insurance, but also against the bar or restaurant’s insurance company to get damages.
Whether you are seeking compensation through insurance claims or through a car accident lawsuit, our Philadelphia car accident attorneys can represent you in negotiations and fight the case in court if you do not get the offers you deserve.
Car Accidents that Involve Multiple Vehicles
When car accidents happen to involve more than two cars, issues of fault and lawsuits for injuries can become more complicated. In some cases, it may be that the crash can be blamed squarely on one driver. However, more often than not, multiple drivers will share responsibility, and the court will have to sort out who was responsible for what share of the responsibility of causing the crash.
Multiple drivers can be held at fault for a single crash. Take the example of a three-car pileup. In this case, let’s say you were the first car in the line and that you suffered injuries including whiplash and back injuries because the other two cars rear-ended you at a red light. The last car might have rear-ended the second car and caused the crash, but whether the second car might not have hit you if its driver maintained a proper following distance and stopped back further from your car is a question for the jury. Because of this, the other two drivers could both be accused of sharing fault, or the court could pin it all on the third car.
When courts assign partial blame, they often assign a percentage of the blame to each driver. When that happens, each driver will have to pay that percentage of the total damages in the case. If the court finds you partially at fault as the victim, they will reduce the total damages by the percentage of fault you shared, essentially making you responsible for that portion of damages out-of-pocket.
In some cases, the courts cannot clearly assign a percentage of blame to each party, but they can agree that multiple parties are still at fault. In these cases, they might require the damages to be paid by whichever party can afford them, and then the defendants can have a separate case to determine whether they can be reimbursed by the other defendant(s). This is common in cases with employers involved and often allows victims of car accidents involving trucking companies or delivery companies to get paid regardless of whether the individual driver could afford damages.
Drunk Driver Car Accident Injury Claims
If you believe that your accident was caused by a drunk driver, there are some initial steps to take. First, call the police. They can perform field sobriety tests and breath or blood tests to confirm the driver’s intoxication. Additionally, write down or record any statements the driver made that indicate they could be drunk, such as an admission that they came from a bar or that they spilled a beer leading up to the crash.
You should also take any notes about whether they appeared drunk. Even without training in identifying drunk driving, your past experiences seeing drunk people at bars or at parties can help you identify signs of drunkenness, including the following:
- Slurred speech
- Stumbling or swaying
- Odor of alcohol on the breath
- Confusion or disorientation
If the other driver was indeed drunk, getting compensation could be more difficult. Insurance companies often do not want to pay damages when their drivers are drunk because those damages are often more expensive. It is harder for the insurance company’s attorneys to argue against their client’s liability when blood tests clearly prove the driver was drunk. Because of this, you should definitely have a lawyer on your side to fight to get you the coverage you need. Our attorneys may even need to take the case to court to get you the damages you need.
With drunk driving cases, Pennsylvania’s “dram shop” act might also allow you to sue the establishment where the driver was drinking before they got behind the wheel. Bars and restaurants that over-serve patrons could be held liable for accidents they cause later. If the bar or restaurant should have known that the individual was drunk, they should not have continued to serve them alcohol or allowed them to get in their car. This could mean claiming additional damages from those parties.
It is important to understand that even if the other driver was charged criminally for drunk driving and for causing an accident while impaired, you could still be entitled to separate damages in a civil claim against them. Talk to a lawyer about how to claim these damages.
Car Accidents That Occur During Inclement Weather in Philadelphia
Bad weather often contributes to car accidents. When it starts to rain or snow, drivers on the road could become overly cautious – or they could refuse to take enough caution. Either way, a driver’s behavior in inclement weather could contribute to a crash.
Slick road surfaces, snowy roads, and icy streets could make accidents more likely. These road conditions make it harder to stop in a hurry and they make it harder to maintain traction around turns and curves, leading many drivers to spin out.
If the driver who hit you did all they could to stay safe on the road, the jury might not be able to find them at fault for your crash. Some road conditions are just too dangerous, and you might have to turn to your insurance company for coverage if you cannot prove the other driver made any mistakes that caused the crash.
In some cases, negligent government planning could mean the roads were not properly salted or cleared of snow. This could also contribute to your crash, potentially leaving the government accountable.
Talk to a Philadelphia auto accident lawyer for help with your case.
Suing a Driver for Causing an Accident by Violating Traffic Laws
Traffic laws in Pennsylvania and across the Philadelphia region are often an important factor in car accident cases. The way that car accident victims prove that the other driver was at fault for the crash is by proving that they were not driving safely or that they did something wrong to cause the crash. Generally speaking, if another driver was doing everything they were supposed to do behind the wheel, the law would not hold them accountable. Instead, there needs to be some level of negligence that the victim can point to to prove the other driver was at fault. Traffic laws often help the victim of a car accident prove that negligence.
Traffic laws set up clear legal duties and requirements that are instituted to keep other people safe on the road. For instance, drivers are required to stop at red lights because it would be dangerous to try to drive straight through cross-traffic, and speed limits are set up to ensure drivers do not go too fast to react to dangers in the road. As such, any violation of traffic law can help supply proof that a driver was at-fault for a crash.
There are dozens of traffic violations that create liability after car accidents, including the following:
Driving under the influence is incredibly dangerous. Not only does it make it harder for a driver to control their body and their vehicle while drunk, it also makes it harder for them to process what they see on the road and make reasonable choices about what is and is not safe. If a driver is found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher, or if they have enough drugs or alcohol in their system to make their driving unsafe, you could hold them accountable for a crash.
Running Red Lights and Stop Signs
Boldly running a solid red light or a stop sign that can clearly be seen is incredibly dangerous. If a driver enters the intersection when the light is red or before they’ve stopped at a stop sign, and you entered the intersection legally, then they should be responsible for a crash in the intersection. Many car accidents often hinge on whether the light was red or green during the crash and when the cars entered the intersection.
Failure to Yield
Drivers are required to yield to other cars on the road when they have a yield sign, when they are changing lanes, or when they are merging onto a highway. There are other situations where this duty applies as well, but these are the most common. When a driver fails to yield when they are supposed to, they could cause crashes. Other drivers might not expect the crash at all, since the at-fault driver should have yielded, so these accidents can often be quite serious.
PA law requires drivers to maintain a reasonable following distance. Driving too close to stop in an emergency can lead to collisions, especially in stop and go traffic on I-76 or Broad Street. If another driver hits you from behind, you could actually face an increased risk of whiplash injuries or back injuries from the crash. These laws might protect you in these cases, allowing you to prove the other driver was at fault because they failed to follow at a safe distance.
Distracted Driving and Texting While Driving
A driver who takes their eyes off the road for just over three seconds at highways speeds can travel the length of a football field without seeing any of what happened. Taking one’s hands away from the steering wheel to text or taking their concentration off the road to read a billboard or argue with a passenger could also be incredibly dangerous. There are laws against texting while driving in Philadelphia, and many other distracted driving rules and safe-driving standards could also help prove liability.
How to Sue When Road Rage Causes a Car Accident
Car accidents caused by road rage can be incredibly dangerous. When drivers’ tempers get the better of them, they might not be thinking about the consequences of their actions, which could lead to them cause catastrophic damage or injury.
Many road rage accidents are actually intentional accidents. If another driver intentionally hits you with their car and you suffered injuries because of it, you can sue them for assault. Even if there are criminal charges filed against them for assault, you could still be entitled to damages in a civil lawsuit. Talk to a lawyer about filing this kind of claim.
Unfortunately, proving that someone hit you intentionally is often harder than proving that they hit you negligently. Instead of proving that they intended to hit you, you could still sue them for hitting you while speeding, running a red light, tailgating, or violating other traffic laws. This could potentially make your case easier. Our auto accident attorneys can walk you through the differences and explain what case strategy is best in your case.
Other accidents are not caused directly by the driver’s actions, but because of how you reacted to them. If another driver forces you off the road, you may have no choice but to go off the road or else get hit by their car. Similarly, if another driver pulls a gun on you or visibly threatens you on the road, your natural instinct might be to swerve away from them, potentially getting into an accident. In many cases, our lawyers can still prove that these accidents were their fault because your actions were reasonable.
If You Were Hurt in a Crash, Our Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
How can a Philadelphia car accident lawyer help you? A serious car accident is an emotionally wrenching experience. Few people truly understand the psychological impact accidents have on victims and their families. The auto accident lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm care about the losses of victims and their families. That is why we fight hard on behalf of our clients to get compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, permanent disabilities, loss of enjoyment, and other costs.
Our auto accident attorneys have been handling car, truck, and drunk driving accidents on behalf of victims for more than 35 years. We have recovered enormous amounts for clients. Keep in mind, though, that each case is different, and every jury has a mind of its own. Not every case will win. Even so, choosing an experienced attorney with real trial experience can increase your chance of getting compensation. For a free legal consultation on your case, call our Philadelphia car accident lawyers today at (215) 709-6940.
How to Contact Us
- Fill out an online contact form
- Give us a call 24/7 at (215) 709-6940
- Visit The Reiff Law Firm located at: 1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd #501, Philadelphia, PA 19102