If you have been involved in a car accident caused by someone else, talking to a lawyer should be your first priority after obtaining necessary medical assistance. The Law Offices of Samuel Fishman have knowledgeable auto accident lawyers who have been handling complex car accident claims for decades. Call us today at (215) 464-4600, or contact or chat with us online, to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.
Our legal team is highly regarded by Philadelphians who need effective injury lawyers. We execute a customized strategy tailored to the unique circumstances of every car accident case at our law firm that addresses the specific needs of each of our clients.
We fight for your rights as you pursue a car accident claim. Car accident victims can face multiple injuries, expenses, losses, and other damages, including property damages. The circumstances under which people face car accidents also vary. This is why our legal strategy for injured victims must also be different.
How a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
An experienced attorney can provide you with proper legal representation in the aftermath of an auto accident. When you are involved in an accident and one of the parties has been seriously injured, contacting a legal professional is often very beneficial.
An auto accident lawyer Philadelphia can walk you through the specifics of your case and help you to seek the compensation you deserve. The compensation you receive is intended to assist with medical bills and damages to your vehicle, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, and other expenses. Any compensation awarded is intended to cover costs that you have incurred as a result of the accident including any subsequent injuries.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Philadelphia
- According to PennDOT, hundreds of car accidents happen in the Philadelphia area each and every day. If you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident, there are steps that you can take to increase the likelihood of receiving compensation for damages related to the accident.
- When motor vehicle accidents are not handled properly, the consequences of the incident can last for years or even decades.
- Whether you or another driver were at fault, it is often beneficial to hire a competent and experienced attorney to handle the legal aspects of your car accident case.
- While hiring a good attorney is of the utmost importance following an accident, there are several other things you should do in the immediate aftermath of a car crash.
- The following items will help you not only handle the accident appropriately but also obtain critical information once your safety is no longer in jeopardy. The most critical steps are outlined below.
In addition to the following, having an understanding of car seat laws can also be beneficial to avoid many mishaps.
Critical Steps After a Car Accident
- Get Yourself and Your Vehicle Out of Harm’s Way
Philadelphia’s roadways are congested. Failing to remove a vehicle from the flow of traffic after a crash can be hazardous. Immediately after a car accident occurs, you should take all possible steps to remove yourself and any other people involved out of harm’s way. People are often seriously injured because they stay for too long after an accident.
- Move Your Vehicle (If Possible)
After an auto accident, you should do what you can to move your vehicle off the road. Unless your vehicle is completely immobile, you should make every effort to get it onto the shoulder, the median, or any place where it will not be right in the flow of traffic where it can potentially cause more accidents. The longer it stays on the road, the higher the odds are that it will be hit again. This is a common circumstance surrounding hit and run accidents.
- Contact the Authorities
If anyone involved in the accident has been seriously injured, it is crucial to seek medical attention right away. You should also contact the police, regardless of whether any injuries have been sustained. Local law enforcement can prepare an official accident report to document what occurred. You are not required to acknowledge or deny fault at this point. Be sure to request a copy for your records, because you will need it for your case.
- Take Photos of the Damage
After ensuring that those involved are safe and receiving any necessary medical care, take several photos with your cell phone or digital camera. It is important to do this before anyone drives away. In addition to photographing the vehicles that are involved, take photos of the scene itself and any injuries anyone has sustained.
Make sure you also get photos of important information, like license plate numbers or road signs. If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, drunk drivers may try to leave the scene before police arrive. If this happens, try to snap a photograph of their license plate. Document any evidence of drinking, such as any visible beer cans or bottles.
Exchanging Information After a Car Accident
- In the case of a minor fender-bender, you may think it is not important to collect the other driver’s information. This would be an incorrect assumption. You should always exchange information after a car accident in Philadelphia, regardless of the severity of damages, because you do not know what may happen down the line.
- If possible, at the absolute least, you may benefit from getting the other driver’s contact information, insurance information, and license plate number. Another important detail to take note of is the make and model of the other driver’s car.
Beware of Insurance Adjusters
- Following an accident, an insurance adjuster may attempt to collect information from you. You may even be asked to provide a written or recorded statement.
- People often make the mistake of working with insurance adjusters after car accidents, and their words often come back to haunt them.
- It is often beneficial to refrain from talking to an insurance adjuster directly without contacting a Philadelphia car accident lawyer first. Even if you are sure that you are not at fault, it is important to avoid falling into any traps.
After a car accident, you may be approached by people who claim to be on your side, but who do not truly have your best interests in mind. You need to do what you can to protect your rights, and the surest way to do that is by hiring the right Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer.
No matter what the specific circumstances of your car accident may be, you should contact an experienced legal representative as quickly as possible. There are too many variables at play in cases like this, and too many things can go wrong.
With an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney by your side, you should be able to navigate the process as quickly and successfully as possible.
Common Types of Car Accidents
- Driver Making a Left-Hand Turn
Many serious injury cases that we handle occur as a result of drivers who attempt left-hand turns without sufficient clearance. Often, these accidents will occur when a driver is rushing to make a left-hand turn before a traffic light turns red. People have been involved in serious truck accidents for this reason and end up with life-threatening injuries.
- Driver Not Yielding Properly
Accidents are caused every day by drivers who are leaving parking lots or driveways and entering onto a roadway. Whether they are driving a car, truck, bus, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle, Pennsylvania law requires that all drivers leaving an area other than a roadway must yield the right of way to drivers who are already on the roadway.
- Rear-End Accidents/Following Too Closely
Safe driving includes maintaining an appropriate distance between your own car and the car in front of you. The distance required will depend on several factors including rate of speed, weather conditions, and traffic congestion. Unfortunately, with the rise of cell phone use that encourages distracted driving, drivers are often unaware of their surroundings, which contributes to rear-end collisions. These accidents can cause serious injuries, including herniated discs, broken bones, muscle tears, sprains, lacerations, and cervical strains.
- Drifting from the Proper Lane
Also with the rise of texting while driving, it has become increasingly common to see drivers drifting in and out of their lanes while trying to type out a message. When a driver drifts out of their lane and causes an accident, this driver has violated traffic laws, which is often evidence of negligence.
When a driver violates the rules of the road, especially those intended to protect the public’s safety, and their violation causes you to suffer an injury, our attorney will stand ready to help you seek a full and fair financial settlement.
Driving a Vehicle Without Car Insurance
Driving a vehicle without car insurance is illegal in most jurisdictions, so one of the first steps to owning and operating a vehicle is making sure you have proper insurance coverage. There are many insurance plans to choose from, and it can often become tricky to decide which plan is best for you.
Vehicle insurance includes insurance for almost all types of vehicles. The primary purpose of insurance is to provide financial protection against property damage or bodily injury resulting from traffic collisions, as well as protecting against further liability arising from a vehicle accident. It may also offer financial protection if your vehicle is stolen or damaged in a circumstance other than in an auto accident, such as consequences of inclement weather or road conditions.
If you are involved in an auto accident, it is best to have a comprehensive auto insurance policy that provides adequate liability coverage. Consulting a Philadelphia car accident lawyer following any auto accident should be a priority because they can help you deal with the aftermath of an auto accident.
Factors That Make a Difference When Filing a Claim for an Auto Accident
- No Fault Car Insurance State
In the U.S., auto insurance requirements are governed by the specific laws of each state. Motor vehicle insurance is required in almost all states. Drivers in almost all states must purchase and maintain a mandatory minimum amount of car insurance coverage from an insurance company in case of an accident or injury to another person or property. There are several types of insurance schemes from which states may choose, including no-fault, tort liability, or a combination of both. The nuances involved in each of these types can be confusing to a layperson.
In simple terms, “no-fault” means that drivers are required to have insurance policies that cover their own injuries and damages rather than insurance to pay out to the other parties. Additionally, no-fault means that it does not matter who caused the accident (i.e. who is “at-fault”) because parties to an accident are covered by their own insurance policies.
In most no-fault states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, drivers are required to have at least some kind of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as a part of their auto insurance policy. PIP coverage is an important aspect of an overall insurance policy because it provides financial assistance for medical bills and certain other expenses that are the result of an accident, regardless of whether you were at fault.
- Modified Comparative Fault State
Pennsylvania is considered a “modified comparative fault” state. This means that the plaintiff (person seeking compensation) can only recover damages if they are less than 51 percent at fault for the accident. The 51 percent rule makes it so that a person can only recover compensation if they were the least responsible for an accident. In other words, the plaintiff’s percentage of fault, must be at or below 50% to be entitled to financial compensation.
The defendant’s percentage of fault must reach 50% or greater for the plaintiff to receive any money. Under a comparative negligence theory, however, a plaintiff’s compensation will be reduced by the percentage their own fault is found to have contributed to the accident. For example, if a plaintiff is 25 percent at-fault for an accident, they will only be entitled to 75 percent of damages awarded to them. Insurance companies will attempt to show that a plaintiff is more than 50% liable because it is often easier to establish contributory fault than total fault. For that reason, it is important to have an experienced attorney to represent your case.
Pennsylvania Auto Accident Statute of Limitations
In Pennsylvania, a person has a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit. If your case is filed after the statute of limitations has expired, then the court is likely to dismiss your case. Auto accident statutes of limitations exist to control the overwhelming number of auto accident cases involving personal injury that are filed every year, and to preserve the value and availability of evidence that is critical to reaching a just outcome.
In Pennsylvania, generally speaking, a lawsuit must be filed within two years from the accident date. However, the law is nuanced and there may be exceptions depending on your circumstances. It is important to consult an experienced attorney that is licensed in Pennsylvania.
What Should You Do If You Are Involved in an Auto Accident?
If you are involved in an accident, there are several things that you should do or refrain from doing in the aftermath.
- Do Not Leave the Scene of an Accident Unless Life or Health is in Danger
Do not leave the scene of the accident unless you (or someone else’s) life or health is in danger and it is your only option. Leaving the scene of an accident is likely to be viewed as a hit and run, which is illegal in most circumstances. As a general rule, you should stay at the accident scene until the police arrive and determine whether any parties involved are severely injured. You may exchange information with the other parties involved, and you should call 911, especially if someone is in danger or injured.
- Report the Accident
If you have been involved in an auto accident, the best thing to do is to report the accident to the police as soon as possible. If there have been no significant injuries or property loss, exchange information with the other driver or drivers for future communication. When exchanging information, be sure to write down the salient details about the accident and contact information for the other party.
Take Note of Evidence at the Scene
After an accident, take note of the following information.
- Licence plate details of the other car(s) involved
- Contact details of the other drivers
- Insurance details of the other drivers
- Details of passengers and injuries at the scene
- Road conditions and the weather
- Contact details of witnesses to the accident
- Name and badge number of the law enforcement officer who responded to the scene
- If possible and safe, take photographs of the accident scene that show damage to the vehicles or other property involved
- Check for a security camera or dashcam footage that may have potentially recorded the accident
For proper disposition of your case, contact an auto accident attorney Philadelphia residents trust. A knowledgeable attorney can help you analyze the facts of your case based on the information above to determine the full value of compensation you are owed. Failure to obtain images, witness information, or other important aspects of the accident can be detrimental to your case and potentially prevent you from receiving any compensation. The information listed above is important for handling an accident properly and seeking the compensation you deserve. Experienced attorneys know the best ways to handle accident cases.
Why Do You Need an Injury Lawyer?
After an accident, it can be difficult to deal with the legal issues while juggling car repair, seeking medical assistance, and taking care of day-to-day responsibilities. Make sure to seek legal help from an accident lawyer in Philadelphia to handle your auto accident case so you can focus on your recovery.
While auto accidents can be demanding, insurance companies and third party claims can make the case even more complex. These obstacles could potentially delay your case or create additional hurdles that prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve. Representation by a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer can help you recover the maximum amount of compensation for your auto accident.
Significant Factors to Keep in Mind After an Accident Include:
- Calculating the Damages
An attorney will calculate the total amount your claim is worth. They will weigh factors such as medical bills, missed wages, daily expenditures, and potential future costs. Based on these and other factors, a car accident attorney will give you a rough idea of what you can expect as fair compensation.
- Safeguarding Interests From Insurance Companies
Following an accident, insurance companies and adjusters often follow up with victims to settle their cases for the lowest possible amount. Under mental pressure, poor health, and monetary loss, victims often choose the insurance company’s offer without exploring other options. A good lawyer can get you fair compensation that you are owed.
- Let a Lawyer Handle the Legal Process
You may deal with many things following an auto accident such as poor health, lost wages, decreasing financial stability, and more. Under such duress, victims often do not have the ability to focus on a lawsuit. A professional and sympathetic attorney will represent all of your legal needs.
What Are the Expenses of Hiring an Accident Lawyer?
Most reputable attorneys offer services on a contingency fee basis. On a contingency fee, a lawyer does not charge you until and unless the case is resolved in your favor. Hiring a Philadelphia auto accident attorney who charges based on a contingency fee basis for your case will lessen your financial burden and mental stress.
When you contact us, our team of attorneys will evaluate the strength of your case. Book an appointment with one of our seasoned associates to resolve your auto accident case and receive the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents
- Distracted Driving. Using a phone while driving is one of the most obvious distractions, but co-passengers can be a source of distraction as well. It has been estimated that approximately 9% of total road accidents are caused by distracted driving. Preventable errors like distracted driving are all too common, causing severe injuries, paralysis, brain injury, or death.
- Driving Under the Influence. Driving under the influence is a crime. Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs is also extremely dangerous.
- Exceeding the Speed Limit. Drivers usually go beyond the speed limit on highways and in rural areas with less traffic, which can lead to loss of vehicle control or an inability to safely stop for other vehicles and pedestrians.
- Driving Mistakes. Making a last-second turn while going too fast or forgetting to put on your turn signal are minor mistakes that can have deadly consequences. Other mistakes include failing to use headlights at night, not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, and ignoring school zone signs.
The best way to avoid an accident is to obey the traffic rules and be a sensible, attentive driver who remains aware of their surroundings. Wearing a seatbelt, paying attention to the road and those around you, and ensuring that you follow the speed limits and all other safety precautions on the road are the most basic steps that you can take to prevent causing an accident.
If you have been involved in an accident in which someone has failed to follow these guidelines, contact an auto injury attorney that Philadelphia for all of your auto accident needs.
Tips to Help Avoid a Fatal Auto Accident
Mindful driving is the best way to avoid an auto accident. The following safety mechanisms may also help to save you from fatal accidents.
- Seatbelts. Seatbelts are essential safety features that help avoid severe injuries during an auto accident. Make sure you fasten your seat belt while driving. Moreover, Pennsylvania’s seat belt law requires drivers and passengers 18 years and older to wear a seat belt when driving or in the front passenger seat. Drivers and passengers under 18 years of age must buckle up regardless of where they are seated.
- Child Safety Seats. While traveling with a child, it is essential that they are properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat. Read and follow the child safety seat laws for Pennsylvania to ensure your child’s safety on the road. Consult with an attorney if you have additional questions.
- Airbags. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, all passenger vehicles manufactured after 1999 must contain airbags to protect drivers and front-seat passengers. Some studies report that airbag and seatbelt use could prevent 45% of automobile accident fatalities.
- Motorcycle Helmets. Motorcycles are dangerous, and it is important to take proper safety precautions when operating one. Most states make it illegal to operate a motorcycle without the use of a helmet. Pennsylvania Law requires that any person operating a motorcycle must wear a helmet unless they are over 21 years of age or older and have either two years of riding experience or have completed a motorcycle safety course. Wearing a helmet is the single best thing a motorcyclist can do to improve their odds of surviving a crash.
Consult a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been the victim of an auto accident in Philadelphia, do not hesitate to consult a lawyer. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to receive compensation.
- We offer legal assistance for auto accident cases. Our highly experienced team of attorneys has extensive knowledge of automobile accidents and related legal procedures.
- We will evaluate your case thoroughly and suggest ways to strengthen it. We will do everything possible to help you with your case and walk you through the entire process.
- Our client reviews demonstrate our success stories and our approach toward managing car accident cases. Our client list is growing every year because satisfied clients are spreading the word.
Call (215) 464-4600, to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at the Law Offices of Samuel Fishman and discuss your auto accident case today. We have been helping auto accident claimants for many years, and our team has secured favorable outcomes for many satisfied clients. Depending on when your accident happened, the accident’s cause, the extent of your loss, and other factors, our attorneys will develop a strong legal strategy that is unique to your case.
Samuel Fishman is an experienced Philadelphia injury lawyer. He has handled injury cases for more than 25 years and can provide comprehensive legal help.