The First Steps After an Automobile Accident Are Often the Hardest to Take
You’ve Suffered Physical Injuries
In addition, to the practical issue of dealing with damage to your vehicle from an accident, you’re dealing with pain. Broken bones and other catastrophic injuries make it difficult to focus on things like answering questions from insurance companies, deciphering personal injury laws, or even seeking advice and assistance on these matters.
Injuries Are Costly
Proper care for your injuries may cause medical bills to pile up fast, and lost wages from hours you would’ve worked can increase the financial strain on your family. You shouldn’t have to shoulder the costs caused by the negligent actions of other people, nor should you have to handle or negotiate with insurance companies who aren’t interested in your injuries or expenses after an accident.
Every Decision Matters
Accident cases start at the moment of the collision, and every decision each party makes could change the outcome. Unfortunately, that knowledge may only leave you with more questions than answers. Without professional guidance, the average vehicle accident can be the beginning of an extremely stressful experience for victims who have suffered costly but compensable injuries.
You Have No One to Advocate for You
Being in a vehicle accident is often devastating and can even cause depression. You may feel no one is fighting for you or answering your questions, and you’re likely to feel taken advantage of by insurance companies and negligent parties. The determination of an effective personal injury attorney will provide not just financial relief, but more importantly, peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
The Advantage of an Accident Lawyer
Dealing with an accident isn’t easy, but many injured victims wonder if lawyers are worth the convenience of having the experts handle the legal factors of the damages they’ve claimed. However, it is important to prioritize recovering from your physical injuries, so the representation of a skilled attorney can make a considerable difference in your rehabilitation and your financial future.
For many years, the lawyers of Baratta Law, LLC, have considered it an honor to be trusted with their clients’ vehicle accident cases. Our primary goal is to ease the burdens of all types placed on Philadelphia accident victims and their families. We achieve that with experience, knowledge of governing laws, commitment to preparation, and attention to detail and to our clients.
There can be many benefits to hiring a personal injury attorney located in the heart of Philadelphia to handle your accident claim. Here are just a few of the things our lawyers do to give their clients every possible advantage toward a winning outcome from beginning to end:
Provide an Accurate Picture of What Your Accident Claim Is Worth
Serious injuries come with many costly elements besides the medical bills you may be receiving from the hospital, ambulance service, doctors, and other providers. You and your loved ones shouldn’t have to shoulder the medical expenses, lost wages or income, transportation costs, and other types of financial strain placed on Philadelphia families by negligent drivers.
Fortunately, an experienced car accident lawyer can use their knowledge of Pennsylvania personal injury laws to accurately calculate your economic damages and ensure that accountability falls where it belongs: on the other driver’s insurance coverage. The lawyers of Baratta Law, LLC will not rest until they’ve earned compensation for the many types of losses you’ve suffered in a vehicle accident.
Handle Insurance Claims with Your Best Interest in Mind
Victims of severe injuries caused by preventable car, motorcycle, trucking, bicycle and other passenger vehicle crashes are often quickly offered settlements by insurers who are not truly concerned for their problems. Instead, these companies are on defense, dodging liability, and taking advantage of people who have already suffered injuries or even deaths due to the negligence of drivers they’ve covered.
However, that’s where a dedicated car accident lawyer comes in and makes sure you are awarded a reasonable settlement. Our attorneys will negotiate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf, in addition to handling the insurance claims themselves–answering specific questions about the accident, obtaining and supplying documentation, and coordinating damage inspections.
In the aftermath of an accident, victims are presented with challenge after challenge from insurance companies while dealing with pain and medical bills from their injuries. After a catastrophic injury, you need an advocate who is interested in your recovery. The lawyers of Baratta Law, LLC truly care about each circumstance their clients are facing, and that’s apparent in their tenacious representation.
Establish Liability for Your Injuries
When a preventable automobile collision occurs, it’s important to quickly establish who is liable for injuries and expenses. Unfortunately, this can also be one of the most challenging factors of car crashes, particularly in a state such as Pennsylvania with comparative negligence laws regarding personal injury cases such as those involving a vehicle or motorcycle accident.
Under comparative negligence laws, all parties in an accident may be assigned a percentage of fault. In an intersection collision, for example, two or more drivers may share liability for failure to adhere to traffic rules or use signals. In some cases, such as those involving distracted drivers, liability may seem clear cut, but insurance companies will take advantage of comparative negligence to pay victims less.
A skilled car accident lawyer will investigate and obtain photos, police reports, a detailed statement from each witness, recorded video footage, and any other evidence needed to firmly establish the defendant’s liability. Baratta Law, LLC has the resources and determination to compile all the information and documentation necessary to put accident victims on the path to compensation early.
Pursue Justice in the Courts
While our lawyers give insurance agencies every chance at reasonable settlements, trials before a judge or jury are sometimes necessary to achieve justice in accident cases. In this situation, it’s important to have the advice, abilities, and service of a legal advocate to represent you. Fortunately, our lawyers believe the key to winning verdicts is to prepare cases for litigation from the beginning.
With a trial comes a deadline for filing called the statute of limitations, court appearances, witness statements, hiring experts to testify, compiling evidence, and firmly building the foundation for a winning case. Dealing with all these factors may feel overwhelming, and that’s why our accident lawyers and consultants made it their career: so that you don’t have to handle any of it.
Lawsuits can take time for a judge or jury to evaluate. While our lawyers are fighting for your rightful outcome, our office will take all the necessary steps to ensure that you and your loved ones feel we have communicated regular updates and will consistently provide assistance in any way possible. The guidance of a professional, friendly law office makes all the difference in an accident trial experience.
Guidance Is the Baratta Law, LLC Difference
Once you’ve made the decision to seek legal assistance, how do you know which of the many accident lawyers you see advertised will be dedicated enough to achieve justice? Our lawyers have decades of experience and millions of dollars in winning verdicts, but the numbers aren’t our biggest successes. Commitment to guidance through difficult times is what makes Baratta Law, LLC the right choice.
Personal injuries caused by car crashes, medical and other malpractice, defective products, the dangerous condition of a business premises, and other types of negligence can be devastating for Philadelphia families. Victims need the active representation of top-rated experts in these practice areas to challenge insurance agencies and emerge with rightful compensation for their injuries.
Our law firm provides top-rated legal representation throughout Philadelphia, including all of the following locations:
- Huntingdon Valley
- North Wales
- Willow Grove
- New Hope
What Should I Do Following a Collision?
Car accidents happen to people in the United States by the thousands each day, and perhaps the most disturbing statistic is the number of deaths that result from these crashes. Serious injuries that have resulted in disfigurement, broken bones, burns, paralysis, or amputation require obvious and immediate medical attention, but what else should you keep in mind after an accident?
Exchange Information with the Other Drivers
You will want to gather their name, address, phone number, and insurance information. It may also be in your best interest to take photos of the damage to both vehicles, their driver’s license, and license plate.
Authorities at the scene usually gather this information, but it’s good to have. You can provide it to your Philadelphia car accident lawyer.
Call the Police as Soon as Possible
After a collision, at least one of the parties should call the police to report the accident. When officers arrive, they will speak with each individual who is medically able and take recorded statements regarding the accident. In addition, they will note the condition of the roads, any laws that have been violated, and prepare a narrative to be reviewed by each party’s insurance.
Never leave the scene of the accident before police arrive. You also do not want to admit fault. You shouldn’t admit this to the police, witnesses, other drivers, or anyone else. Even if you feel okay, you don’t want to admit this to anyone and do not refuse medical care.
The police will also help injury victims get medical attention as quickly as possible and request additional assistance and resources specific to the situation. Once these procedures are started, officers will evaluate each circumstance of the accident and each driver’s actions to begin determining the cause and establishing liability for the events that have occurred and resulted in severe injuries.
Once you’ve called the police, you and other parties who are medically able may exchange information such as photos of your driver’s license and proof of insurance coverage. Though optional, having these types of information from the beginning of your case will help your attorney get accident claims started in a timely manner with each insurance company and meet every filing deadline.
Get Medical Attention
If someone is injured during the accident, you will want to call 911. You want to record the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved, the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of everyone at the scene, including witnesses.
When you’ve been in a serious accident, your first response may be panic or shock. However, it is vitally important to have a professional evaluate your injuries as soon as possible. Once the police are on their way, the phone dispatcher may be able to provide additional assistance by requesting that other first responders be sent to wherever you are located to evaluate and treat your injuries.
Even if you are not treated at the scene of the accident or transported to a hospital via ambulance, seeking medical advice and treatment immediately afterward strengthens accident claims for personal injuries. Emergency department doctors are trained to ensure all potential injuries are evaluated and addressed, and your nurse will most likely help you with a formal note for your employer.
Besides potentially saving you from a lifetime of pain and suffering from untreated injuries, taking these steps will increase your chance of being paid a reasonable sum by the insurance companies for the compensable injuries you’ve suffered due to the negligence of others.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
A car, trucking, motorcycle, or bus accident is no exception to this old adage. Take photographs of the vehicles, the area, and any injuries sustained. You will want to seek medical treatment, even if you feel you weren’t injured in the accident. Some injuries may not show up for days or even weeks after an accident.
If your medical situation allows after a collision, photographing the scene can make a significant difference in the final outcome of these types of cases. If possible, capture photos of all areas of your vehicle with damage, your injuries, the surrounding roads and lighting, and the vehicles of any other involved parties.
While insurance adjusters and police use photos for things like establishing liability and determining if your vehicle is totaled, those photos can provide a skilled legal professional with a comprehensive picture of your accident. These are the first steps toward getting paid for the compensable injuries caused by another driver’s choice to operate their automobile recklessly or while distracted.
Report the Accident to Your Insurer
According to Pennsylvania law, the minimum amount of liability insurance a driver has to have is just $15,000. Many drivers choose to carry more liability insurance than this. If you’re a commercial or company driver, you may have a much larger policy amount. While you may not be using your own insurance policy to pay for the accident, they still need to be notified.
However, that doesn’t mean you should say more than you need to about the accident. Never give statements to insurance companies until you speak with your own personal injury lawyer. Unless you are in an area where danger is, you don’t want to move the vehicles from the scene of the accident.
Reach out to a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Right Away
Once the accident is handed over to the police and medical attention sought, victims of catastrophic injuries should contact a lawyer with a record of excellence and designation in these areas of practice. Although representation may not guarantee a certain verdict in dollars, it can certainly provide you and your family with peace of mind as you recover from the compensable injuries you’ve suffered.
Timeline to Sue for a Philadelphia Car Accident
The statute of limitations for Pennsylvania for personal injury lawsuits is two years. You have to file the case within two years from the date of the accident. However, attorneys do not wait this long to file your lawsuit.
Once your medical treatment is completed, or if it is going to extend beyond two years, an attorney will start to put your settlement demand together. This demand package has all the relevant information and medical records in it to negotiate a settlement.
If the insurance company and your attorney cannot come to a settlement within thirty days, a lawsuit is then filed. In short, when your lawsuit will be filed depends on the specifics of the case. The timeline varies on a case-by-case basis.
Important Facts to Know About Laws Pertaining to Pennsylvania Accident Claims
Not every state is the same when it comes to the laws and statutes regarding accident cases resulting in personal injuries. Here are a few things to know about these categories of legal claims in Pennsylvania:
Meeting the Statute of Limitations
The deadline for filing a claim for compensable injuries as a result of negligence is known as the statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, this time period is two years from the date of the accident. There is typically no exception for injuries that do not manifest right away, so it’s important to be protected by the representation of a skilled attorney in plenty of time to meet filing deadlines.
It’s worth noting that in the instance of a claim against any city, county, or government agency of the Commonwealth, the victim must file a notice of intent to sue within six months of the date of injury or accident.
Comparative Negligence Can Affect Settlements
Pennsylvania’s state government employs modified comparative negligence laws, meaning that injury victims may be assigned a partial amount of blame for an accident if their actions are determined to have contributed to its cause. In this instance, insurance companies may use comparative negligence to reduce settlement offers to victims without a skilled attorney to obligate them to pay.
Under Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence doctrine, parties who are determined to bear 50% liability or less are still entitled to pursue justice for compensable injuries that have resulted from a collision. Be sure to note that you are also entitled to seek rightful compensation if you have been injured in a car accident as a passenger in another individual’s vehicle.
You Don’t Have to Pay Your Attorney Upfront
Accident cases and other personal injury claims are taken on a contingency basis, meaning that if your attorney doesn’t recover a settlement for you, they don’t get paid. At Baratta Law, LLC, we will never charge you for the work of our lawyers and staff as your claim progresses, even if litigation is required, and you don’t owe us anything when we take your case.
Contingency fees are agreed upon at the beginning of your case. The basis for these fees is a fixed percentage of your final settlement outcome and may vary slightly depending on the necessity of a trial. All of these factors are clearly communicated to our clients before a representation agreement is signed so that you’ll never feel out of the loop with the office of Baratta Law, LLC.
You May Be Entitled to Several Forms of Compensation
Besides the medical bills that stack up when you’ve suffered severe injuries in an accident, you may incur other economic damages. In terms of compensable injuries, you are entitled to be awarded a sufficient sum for wages you lose, your pain and suffering, ongoing and future medical treatment, property damage, and other incidental expenses resulting from the collision, such as a rental vehicle.
An attorney skilled at taking on the insurance companies will ensure a solid basis for your accident claim and make them assume accountability for your compensable injuries. The lawyers of Baratta Law, LLC have decades of experience challenging these companies and winning, and they’re dedicated to using that experience to provide guidance and fight for justice for Philadelphia families.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Help Today
After a car accident, the last thing you need to be dealing with is the legal system–especially without the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. At Baratta Law, LLC, our commitment to helping injured victims achieve justice is unwavering and backed by a spirit of genuine caring and a tenacious passion for justice.
If you’ve suffered severe injuries as a result of another driver’s negligence in any type of vehicle accident, reach out to a law office whose family you can trust to help yours through a difficult time. Call 215-914-8132 today to schedule a consultation with our lawyers at no charge to you. We never get paid unless our Philadelphia car accident lawyer takes your case and wins for you.