On average, drivers in Pennsylvania report 14 traffic accidents every hour, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDOT). In 2019, according to a PDOT report, one out of 45 Pennsylvanians was involved in a reportable traffic crash. One out of 168 were injured. One out of 12,089 were killed.
Montgomery County had 9,113 reported traffic accidents in 2019 with one of the highest fatality rates (32 deaths) in the state. Accident fatalities in the county accounted for 3% of the state’s total of 1,059 traffic fatalities.
If you have been injured in a car accident—or, worse, if a loved one has been killed—then you have only a limited amount of time to seek compensation, and the rules regarding insurance and liability can be complicated.
When you call the offices of Cordisco & Saile LLC, you will be connected with a car accident lawyer in Montgomery County who will review your case and help you evaluate your options. Our attorneys always work on a contingency basis, which means you will not have to pay us until we collect compensation on your behalf.
Schedule your free consultation today by calling (215) 642-2335.
After a Car Accident
Pennsylvania (PA) Consolidated Statutes Title 75, Section 37 says that after an accident resulting in a death, injury, or property damage, the driver is required to immediately stop at the scene or as close to it as possible. Then, per PA § 75-3744, drivers must quickly notify the police of the accident. They must provide their name, vehicle registration number, insurance information, and show their driver’s license to the other party as well as to any police officers who arrive at the scene to investigate the accident. If someone is injured, drivers who are able to do so have a responsibility to help that person receive emergency care.
If no police officer investigates the accident, then according to PA § 75-3747, you must file a written report to the Department of Highway Safety within five days.
After fulfilling these legal obligations, document as much of the scene as possible. Take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved as well as the surrounding environment and speak to potential witnesses. You never know what detail could prove important later on.
Contact your own insurance company to inform them of the accident. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you do not feel symptoms right away. It may also be wise to contact a car accident lawyer in Montgomery County early on.
Insurance and Liability
Pennsylvania has a relatively unique accident liability set-up. Most states are considered “at-fault,” which means the driver responsible for the accident is responsible for the other party’s damages. Other states use a “no-fault” system, in which a driver’s insurance policy covers their injuries and property damage regardless of who caused the accident. Pennsylvania gives drivers a choice.
Limited vs. Full Tort Insurance
Pennsylvania’s limited vs. full tort insurance option is described in PA § 75-1705.
Drivers with full tort insurance policies may pursue insurance claims or lawsuits against other drivers if those other drivers are at fault.
Drivers with limited tort policies may file a claim for their own medical expenses following an accident regardless of fault. Typically, however, they may not pursue any further claims for losses in the form of pain and suffering. There are some exceptions to this restriction, including cases of “serious injury.” This includes accidents where the driver has been convicted of driving under the influence or when the other vehicle is registered in another state. In addition, a person with limited tort coverage may sue a vehicle manufacturer for a product defect that led to an accident.
According to PDOT, all motor vehicles are required to have at least the following liability coverage:
- $15,000 to cover any injuries or deaths to another person in an accident
- $30,000 to cover any injuries or deaths to more than one person
- $5,000 to cover any damage to the other driver’s property
Following a serious accident, it is possible, if not likely, that a policy that merely meets these minimum requirements will not be sufficient to pay for medical expenses and lost wages. If you have full tort coverage or qualify for an exemption to the limited tort rule, you may decide to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You may also wish to do so if you believe their insurance company’s proposed settlement is not adequate.
Call us today at (215) 642-2335 to learn more about how we can help in your particular case.
A deciding factor in a lawsuit will be negligence—whether the defendant’s obligation to conform to a standard of conduct caused your injuries. If you can convince the court this is the case, the state does not limit how much you can collect in damages (unless you are suing the state or a local government).
However, Pennsylvania does employ a “comparative negligence” standard. As explained in PA § 42-7102, comparative negligence means that your compensation can be reduced in proportion to the degree to which you were at fault for the accident. If the other party can convince the court that you were 30% to blame, for example, your recovery could be reduced by 30%. Insurance companies take this into account when making their settlement offers as well.
Statute of Limitations
As noted in PA § 42-5524, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you are filing a lawsuit on behalf of someone who died in the accident, the two-year clock begins when the person passed away.
How We Can Help
At Cordisco & Saile LLC, we want our clients to focus on getting back on their feet after a car accident. They should not have to worry about paperwork or negotiating with claims adjusters. By working with a car accident lawyer in Montgomery County, our clients can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have someone who will fight to protect their rights while keeping them informed and engaged at every step of the process.
Call our offices today at (215) 642-2335 to schedule your free case evaluation.