Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
Injured In a Crash? Consult an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
Safety features such as anti-lock brakes and air bags have prevented many car accidents and minimized the risk of injury for drivers. But even though cars may be safer than they’ve ever been, crashes happen every day – and usually, driver error is a contributing factor. People who drive in a dangerous or irresponsible manner could be found liable, should they cause an accident that injures other people. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and believe another driver is to blame, we may be able to help. Call our seasoned Philadelphia car accident attorneys today for a no-obligation consultation, at (800) 529-6600.
New drivers may make mistakes behind the wheel, simply because they lack driving experience. In general, though, many driving errors can be traced to inattention, recklessness, and dangerous behaviors like driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Car Accident Injuries
Costs associated with a car crash can be significant. Aside from vehicle damage, there may be other types of property loss. In 2015, there were several instances of Pennsylvania drivers’ crashing into a house, and on at least one occasion, a home’s resident was injured as a result.
Some car accidents don’t cause injury, or cause only minor scrapes. But some car crash injuries can be severe and require emergency medical treatment, surgery, or long-term care. Those injuries include:
- Whiplash – This neck injury occurs when the head is suddenly thrust forward and back, and it occurs primarily in rear-end collisions. Whiplash may cause neck pain, headaches, dizziness, stiffness – and in extreme cases, it may cause memory loss, depression, and sleep disturbances.
- Head injuries – The motion that causes whiplash can also cause head injuries, when the brain suddenly shifts position. Commonly, these injuries cause concussion, which is characterized by confusion, agitation, and slight memory loss. More severe injuries can occur when a person’s head hits a window or dashboard. A brain injury resulting from a car accident could cause loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, long-term cognitive impairment, and a change in – or loss of – the ability to smell and taste.
- Chest injuries – Drivers may experience chest injuries if a crash propels their body forward into the steering wheel. The impact can cause broken ribs and internal bleeding.
- Back injuries – Back pain is common after a car crash, and minor causes include sprains or strains. Severe pain that becomes worse with movement could be indicative of a spinal fracture, which may require surgery, extensive time off work, and rehabilitation.
A broken arm and a bleeding wound are obvious signs that a person needs medical treatment. But with whiplash and other internal injuries, the extent of damage may not be immediately known. The adrenaline that accompanies a frightening car crash may lessen pain, and people may assume they don’t need medical treatment.
Even if you consider a car accident to be minor and don’t think you’re injured, you should see a doctor for a medical evaluation as soon as possible. And if you have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Find out if you have a case. Contact a Philadelphia car accident lawyer today at (800) 529-6200.
How Much Money Can I Get?
The amount you can expect to receive from a settlement varies, depending on a number of factors. The most important of these factors is the type of injury you experience. Broadly speaking, a minor injury (such as whiplash) will often amount to a settlement of $10,000 to $25,000. More severe injuries, such as brain injuries that require surgery and that have lifetime consequences, may bring multimillion-dollar settlements.
The main factors determining the value of a settlement are:
- Medical expenses
A settlement should cover any expenses you’ve incurred through treatment costs.
- Property damage
This ought to cover the expenses resulting from damage to your vehicle or other property involved in an accident.
- Lost earnings
If you missed work or weren’t able to work as effectively due to your injury, these damages should cover that.
- Future lost income
This should cover any future loss of ability to earn.
- Estimated future medical expenses
If your treatment is ongoing, this will cover it.
- Pain and suffering
Usually applied as a multiplier that increases the other payouts by a factor ranging from 1.5 to 5.
How do I Know if I Have a Claim?
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, you have a claim. The main question in personal injury cases like this is in determining where the fault lies.
Determining fault is a complex legal process. Even if you think you were at fault in the accident, some facts unknown to you might shed new light on the situation. Don’t assume that you know who is at fault. Get in touch with a legal professional who can help you come to a better understanding. A skilled Philadelphia car accident attorney will be able to tell you if you have a case and estimate how much your case may be worth.
There are some cases where an individual can sue after a single-car crash:
- Passengers can sue a negligent driver
If you are a passenger in a vehicle whose driver causes an accident that injures you, you can file a claim for personal injury against the driver. If the driver is an employee of an organization (such as a taxi company or public transit company), you can file a case against the organization.
- Occupants can sue a negligent party
If another party’s negligence led to an accident, you can file a case against them. For example, if a mechanic does bad repairs on your brakes, leading you to crash into a wall, you would have a case against them. Other possible candidates for cases like this include organizations (like city governments) responsible for maintaining roads in reasonable condition.
What You Should do after a Car Accident
- Get the car out of traffic
If you can still drive the car somewhat effectively, get out of the path of traffic as quickly as possible.
- Get information from others on the scene
This includes obvious things, such as the contact and insurance information of any other drivers involved. It also includes seeking out contact information from any witnesses on the scene.
- Never apologize for the accident
Even if you think the accident was your fault, don’t apologize. Some people will want to say “I’m sorry,” even if they’re completely sure they weren’t at fault. Any apology can be taken as an admission of responsibility if your case goes to court. Don’t apologize.
- Contact an attorney before you talk to the other driver’s insurance company
Representatives from the other insurance company are trained to ask questions that will lead you to compromise the value of your claim. Don’t speak to them without first talking to an attorney.
Getting Medical Treatment
Get medical care after an accident, even if you don’t think you were injured. Some types of injuries won’t be obvious to a professional, so for your own good it’s important to seek medical care as soon as you can. If possible, it’s a good idea to drive straight from the scene of the accident to a physician’s office.
Another reason it’s important to seek medical care is so you can have medical records showing that your injuries were caused by the accident. If you wait too long, it may be difficult to prove that you received your injuries when and where you say you received them. So for your physical and legal well-being, it’s important to get medical care quickly.
Causes of Accidents
Accidents come from a wide range of causes, some avoidable, some not. Here are a few of the more common causes:
- Distracted driving
This includes things like texting while driving, adjusting the radio, or pretty much anything other than paying attention to the road.
- Drunk driving
Alcohol can kill. Drunk driving rates have declined in recent decades, but alcohol is still a factor in nearly one in three road fatalities.
It’s easy to start speeding when you’re in a hurry. Once you’ve started speeding, it’s easy to get stuck in the habit. Speed limits exist for a reason. Roads are designed to support vehicles driving at a certain speed. Getting where you’re going is more important than getting there fast.
Rain leads to reduced visibility, hydroplaning, and many other factors that make crashes more likely.
- Running red lights
Red lights are there to make sure we all get where we’re going in one piece. Just like with speeding, remember it’s better to get there than it is to get there fast.
7 Bad Habits of Drivers
Car Crash Trends
Pennsylvania has been collecting crash information since 1935, and data indicates the roads have gotten safer over time. In 2014, the number of reported crashes was the fourth lowest since 1950, and the crash fatality rate was the second lowest ever recorded. Alcohol-related crashes have decreased over time; however, even though they accounted for just 9 percent of crashes in 2014, they caused 28 percent of crash fatalities. Among drivers ages 21 through 25, 43 percent of fatalities were drivers who had been drinking.
Alcohol-related crashes result in about $114.3 billion in damages in the United States every year, with about $62.3 billion of that amount attributable to loss of life. It’s clear that despite the known dangers of drinking and driving, many people do it anyway, putting themselves, their passengers, and other motorists at risk.
In July 2015, a Philadelphia man was indicted for negligent manslaughter because he had been under the influence of alcohol when he crashed into a tree in Maryland, killing a woman and injuring her two children – all passengers in his car.
Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys – Protecting Your Rights
It’s difficult to put a price tag on a family’s pain and suffering, or the loss of a loved one, but the law at least allows families to hold drunk drivers accountable for their actions.
If you or a family member has suffered an injury because of an irresponsible driver, don’t wait to get help. Contact a Philadelphia car accident lawyer at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller today for a free consultation. Complete our online form or call us at (800) 529-6600.
Laws Related to Car Accidents
There are two major laws that could affect your personal injury case:
- Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for Pennsylvania sets a two-year limit for personal injury cases of this kind. That means you have two years after your accident to file a lawsuit. After that time passes, you will no longer be able to file. So if you’re thinking about filing, remember you’re working under a time limit, and it’s better to start this process sooner rather than later.
- Comparative Negligence
Pennsylvania is a “comparative negligence” state. This means that you can still receive partial damages for your accident, even if the accident was partially your fault. For example, if the court finds you were 10 percent at fault for the accident, while the other driver was 90 percent at fault, you could receive 90 percent of the damages you’d otherwise receive. However, if the court finds you are more than 50 percent at fault, you can’t receive any damages.
Resources for Further Reading