Getting into a car accident is frustrating and stressful. Chances are, dozens of questions are flooding your mind:
- How will I pay for my injuries?
- Who was at fault?
- What if I was at-fault?
- Will I have to miss work?
- What does my insurance policy cover?
- Will I need to file a suit with the other driver’s insurance?
- Should I hire a lawyer to handle these issues?
A car accident lawyer in Middletown can help you answer them. Call Cordisco & Saile LLC now at 215-642-2335 for a free consultation. We will detail how our strategic approach to personal injury law can help you.
Who Is Liable for My Car Accident Injuries?
Determining liability in a car accident is important no matter where you are in the country. But Pennsylvania’s negligence laws make proving liability even more imperative. Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state, which means you can seek compensation for your damages — but only if you can prove that you were less negligent than the other driver.
This makes a car accident lawyer in Middletown even more important. Most people do not have the intimate knowledge or necessary experience to prove they did not contribute to an accident. Our team has decades of experience handling injury cases, proving negligence, and winning compensation for our clients.
To prove the other driver was at-fault, we must establish the following elements:
- Driver Duty: Each driver has a duty to act and maneuver responsibly on the road. This requires driving within the parameters of the law.
- Breach of Duty: A driver behaves in a way that breaches his duty to drive safely. This could include speeding, driving while intoxicated or fatigued, texting and driving, driving too fast for conditions, etc.
- Actionable Causation: The breach caused the accident and injuries. For example, Bill ran a red light. He t-boned Nancy who suffered a traumatic brain injury when her head hit her driver-side window.
- Total damages: Damages are your losses from the accident. They might include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or mental anguish.
What Damages Can I Collect After a Middletown Car Accident?
What you can recover in a car accident depends on severity of the accident, your contribution to the accident, and what the accident cost you. Broadly, there are two types of damages you can collect: economic and noneconomic.
The economic damages you can typically expect to collect are:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Car repairs
- Car rental costs
- Copays for medication
- Medical bills (both current and future)
To establish your entitlement to these damages, we will provide the other driver’s insurer with your medical bills, your paystubs, W-2s, and car repair receipts. We will also obtain expert testimony to establish the long-term effects of your injury on your health and ability to work.
Noneconomic losses include things like pain and suffering and mental anguish. However, depending on the type of car accident policy you have, you may be unable to recover noneconomic damages.
Why Would I Be Unable to Recover Noneconomic Damages?
There are two different types of insurance coverage in Pennsylvania: full tort and limited tort. Limited tort allows you to pay a lower premium, but you give up your right to sue for pain and suffering.
Unless you have full tort, you must prove you sustained a serious injury (i.e., one that results in “death, serious impairment of body function, or permanent serious disfigurement”) or meet certain criteria. These criteria are:
- The other driver was intoxicated at the time of the collision.
- The other driver is registered in another state.
- The other driver attempted to injure himself or someone else.
- The other driver is uninsured.
- The accident resulted from a vehicle defect.
- You suffered injuries as an occupant of a vehicle other than a private vehicle.
We can help you prove you suffered a serious injury or that you meet one of the criteria listed above.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
You have two years to file a car accident claim in Pennsylvania. While this may appear to provide plenty of room to decide your course of action, time can creep up on you fast.
If you fail to file within this time, you will be unable to recover compensation for your injuries.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Help My Claim?
Yes. While we will handle the legalities of your claim, there are three important things you can do to help your claim:
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
If you skip doctor’s appointments or disobey your doctor’s orders, the insurer can argue that you are contributing to your injuries which can diminish your settlement.
Watch What You Say
Soon after an accident, you will likely receive a call from an insurance adjuster. Be very careful what you say to the adjuster. The insurer can use anything you say against you. And while you might think you would never admit anything to the adjuster, she can twist even seemingly innocent statements such as “I’m sorry” or “I’m OK” to reduce or deny your settlement.
If the adjuster requests a recorded statement, politely decline and direct any further questions to us.
Keep a Pain Journal
A pain journal can help strengthen your claim for pain and suffering. Every day, write down how the accident affects you. Note how you could not go for a run, visit with friends, or had to miss your daughter’s soccer game because the pain kept you from getting out of bed.
Call Cordisco & Saile LLC Today
If you were recently involved in a Middletown car accident, give us a call at 215-642-2335. The consultation is free, and we work on a contingency basis which means we do not recover compensation unless you do.