Did you know that over 6 million car accidents occur yearly in the U.S., and a significant proportion result in an insurance claim? As an accident victim, understanding the ins and outs of car accident claims is crucial. Various factors can influence your claim’s value, from the severity of your injuries to how you handle the accident scene.
There are specific steps to follow to maximize your claim value. These steps range from prompt reporting to your insurance provider, thorough documentation at the crash scene, and savvy negotiation with the insurance adjuster. Legal advice plays a pivotal role, too. An experienced car accident attorney can help navigate these complexities and optimize your claims process.
Remember, dealing with insurance companies post-accident doesn’t have to be daunting. By being aware of your rights, you will be better able to seek fair compensation for medical expenses and other losses.
Hire a Lawyer
Engaging a seasoned car accident attorney immediately after the incident is crucial to maximize your chances of securing the full damages you’re entitled to. Such an expert can comprehensively investigate the factors that led to your accident and guide you away from errors that might undermine your case.
Additionally, they can precisely assess the worth of your claim and effectively negotiate with the opposing driver’s insurance company to ensure you receive the highest possible settlement.
Let our lawyers at Baratta Law, LLC, help you get started. Give us a call at 215-914-8132.
Seek Medical Treatment
A medical examination is imperative even if you don’t initially feel injured. Certain conditions like traumatic brain injuries, spinal issues, and back or neck injuries may not immediately present symptoms, taking days or weeks to manifest.
Adhering strictly to your doctor’s recommendations, attending all medical appointments, and maintaining consistent medical care safeguards your well-being and provides documented evidence of the severity of your injuries. This, in turn, minimizes the chance of disputes with the insurance company and enhances the likelihood of reaching a fair settlement.
Gather and Keep Evidence
To win your case and get the money you deserve, you must show that the other driver was at fault and how badly you were hurt. Start gathering proof right after the accident.
Here’s what you should keep:
- The police report
- Pictures of the damaged cars, the scene, road conditions, and your injuries
- The clothes and shoes you were wearing when the accident happened
- Contact information for the other driver and their insurance company
- Statements and contact information from people who saw the accident
- Medical bills and records
- Paystubs to show any lost wages
- Your insurance papers
- Receipts for fixing or replacing your car and other damaged items
Stay Off Social Media
Avoid using social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram while you’re trying to settle your case. Don’t talk about the accident or post pictures. The insurance company and their lawyers might look at your posts to try and prove you’re not as hurt as you say you are.
Do Not Accept a Quick Settlement
The insurance company might give you a quick, low offer, hoping you’ll take less money just to get paid fast. Don’t take their first offer. Talk to a lawyer first and determine how much you’ll need for future medical bills and lost wages.
Call our office if you or a family member got hurt in a car accident around Philadelphia. We offer a free chat to help you understand your choices and how we can help you make the strongest case against the driver who caused the accident.
What Is the Average Pennsylvania Car Accident Settlement Amount?
According to a report by the Insurance Information Institute, the usual amount paid for a car injury insurance claim in 2021 was $22,734, and for property damage, it was $5,314.
But keep in mind that every car accident and injury is different. At Baratta Law, LLC, we understand this and know what’s needed to help you recover. We often team up with money experts, doctors, and other professionals to determine your claim’s real worth based on your situation.
What Affects Pennsylvania Car Accident Settlement Amounts?
Pennsylvania has its own unique laws that significantly influence car accident settlement amounts. For instance, Pennsylvania operates under a no-fault system for car insurance. This means you can choose between no-fault and traditional insurance when you purchase your policy.
- With no-fault insurance, your insurer will cover your injury-related expenses irrespective of who was at fault in the accident.
- On the other hand, with traditional insurance, compensation depends on determining who caused the accident.
This choice impacts how much you can claim after an accident. If you chose no-fault insurance, you might be limited to claiming only from your own insurer, regardless of whether another driver was at fault.
Another critical factor is the role of insurance policies in determining compensation. The specifics of your policy and the other driver(s) involved play a significant role in available compensation.
- If all parties involved have adequate coverage, there might be enough funds to cover damages.
- Knowing your rights will help you seek fair compensation for medical expenses and other losses.
It’s also important to note that some insurers may use tactics to minimize payouts. They could argue about medical costs or dispute liability to reduce their financial responsibility.
The severity of injuries sustained during a car accident greatly affects settlement values. Generally speaking:
- Severe injuries typically result in higher settlements because they require more extensive medical treatment.
- Minor injuries may not command as high a settlement due to lower medical costs and a lower overall impact on one’s life.
For instance, someone who suffers a traumatic brain injury would likely receive a higher settlement than someone with minor whiplash due to the long-term effects and treatment costs associated with such an injury.
Lastly, let’s talk about how fault percentage affects claim amounts. In Pennsylvania, we operate under comparative negligence rules, which mean:
- You can recover damages even if you’re partially at fault for an accident.
- However, your percentage of blame will reduce your recovery amount.
Due to this deduction, if you were 20% at fault for an accident and suffered $10,000 in damages, you will only receive $8,000 from your insurance settlement.
Dos and Don’ts to Improve Your Chances at a Fair Car Accident Settlement
1. Do Gather Evidence: Take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your vehicle.
2. Do Call the Police: Having an official report can significantly help your case.
3. Seek Medical Attention: Some injuries are not immediately apparent, even if you feel fine. A medical report will also serve as important evidence.
4. Notify Your Insurance Company: Make sure they know about the accident as soon as possible, without admitting fault or making statements that could turn against you.
5. Keep Records: Maintain a file that includes all medical bills, repair bills, and any other expenses related to the accident.
6. Consult a Lawyer: An experienced car accident attorney can guide you through the complexities of the settlement process and help you secure a fair deal.
1. Don’t Leave the Scene: Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal and can severely harm your case.
2. Don’t Admit Fault: Even saying something as simple as “I’m sorry” can be used against you later.
3. Don’t Talk to the Other Party’s Insurance Company: Consult your attorney first.
4. Don’t Sign Anything Without Legal Advice: Insurance companies may get you to sign a settlement quickly and for less than you deserve.
5. Don’t Skip Doctor’s Appointments: Missing medical appointments can indicate that your injuries are not severe, which can lower your settlement amount.
6. Don’t Exaggerate Your Injuries: Be honest and factual about your condition. Exaggerating can discredit your case and could be considered fraud.
Adhering to these dos and don’ts significantly improves your chances of securing a fair settlement in a car accident case.
You’re Not Alone: Reach Out to a Car Accident Lawyer
Navigating the maze of a car accident claim can be daunting. But remember, you don’t have to do it alone. A skilled car accident lawyer can provide invaluable guidance and help maximize the value of your claim. They’re well-versed in dealing with insurance companies and know the ins and outs of the legal process. So why not give yourself the best shot at a fair settlement?
You’ve got this! And with us by your side, you can confidently tackle your car accident claim head-on. It’s time to take that first step toward securing what’s rightfully yours. Don’t wait, act now!
How long does it take to settle a car accident claim?
Car accident claims settle in different amounts of time depending on several factors, including the case’s complexity, the severity of injuries, and whether liability is in dispute. On average, it could range from several months up to two years.
Can I still file a claim if I was partially at fault for the accident?
Yes, Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence rule, which means you may still be eligible for compensation even if you were partially at fault for the accident.
What damages can I recover from my car accident claim?
Typically, you may recover costs related to medical expenses, lost wages due to inability to work, property damage, and, in some cases, pain and suffering.
How much will hiring a car accident lawyer cost me?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case.
What should I do immediately after being involved in an auto collision?
Ensure safety first by moving out of traffic if possible. Call law enforcement authorities and seek medical attention even if injuries are not apparent, as some symptoms might appear later.