Injured in a Philadelphia Car Accident? Learn Your Legal Rights
If you or a loved one have recently been injured in a car accident in the Philadelphia area, there is a lot you need to know. First and foremost, your health needs to be your top priority after a Philadelphia car crash. We understand that you want to get back to work and get your car fixed as quickly as possible, but you cannot neglect the possibility that you have suffered a serious traumatic injury. If you have been severely injured, your injury (or injuries) could have a lifetime of consequences, and it is critical that you get the medical treatment you need as quickly as possible.
If you have been severely injured, you may be entitled to a sizable financial recovery. Under Pennsylvania law, if someone else was at fault, you are entitled to seek full compensation for your financial and non-financial losses. However, mistakes can jeopardize your claim for compensation. To take the appropriate steps to protect your legal rights, you are entitled to legal representation throughout all stages of your car accident claim. You do not need to deal with the insurance companies on your own, and you have the right to go to trial if you receive a low-ball settlement.
At Munley Law, we have been representing victims of car accidents in Philadelphia since 1959. With decades of experience, we know what it takes to win, and we have a proven record of success against the insurance companies. When you choose a Philadelphia car accident attorney from our firm, your case starts with a free consultation at your convenience. We do not charge any fees or costs unless we help you get the compensation you deserve.
Your car accident attorney will directly deal with the insurance companies on your behalf and handle the legal process, so that you can focus on getting your life back on track.
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Do I Need a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer?
In 2020, 286 reported car accidents occurred each day in Pennsylvania (about 12 crashes every hour). Each year, a study of intersection car accidents in Philadelphia during 2015 found that the following five intersections were the most dangerous:
- Grays Avenue and South 49th Street
- East Roosevelt Boulevard and Cottman Avenue
- Penn Street and Arrott Street
- Island Avenue and Lindbergh Boulevard
- North Broad Street and Vine Street
If you have questions about your rights after a car accident, we encourage you to get in touch with one of our car accident lawyers. We are happy to help you understand your situation, and we will help you make informed decisions about protecting your legal rights. If you choose to work with us, our Philadelphia car accident lawyers will work quickly to help you secure a maximum settlement. If necessary, we will be fully-prepared to take your case to trial. Call or click now to discuss your:
- Pedestrian Accident
- Bicycle Accident
- Motorcycle Accident
- Single Vehicle Accident
- Multi-Vehicle Accident
- Distracted Driving Accident
- Texting While Driving Accident
- Hit-and-Run Accident
- Bad Weather Accident
- Rollover Accident
- Speeding Accident
- Drowsy Driving Accident
- Drunk Driving Accident
- Uninsured Motorist Accident
- Ridesharing Accident
- Uber Accident
Is It Worth Getting a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney After an Accident?
The short answer is yes. Under Pennsylvania law, if someone else was at fault in the accident, you are entitled to seek full compensation for your financial and non-financial losses. Without a Philadelphia car accident lawyer to represent you, you risk significant financial loss. Those with representation typically obtain three times more in compensation than those who attempt to resolve their claim alone. While you may not need a lawyer, there is no risk in calling for a free consultation to be sure. An experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney will review the facts of your situation and help you decide how to proceed.
When you choose a Philadelphia car accident lawyer from Munley Law, your case starts with a free consultation. We do not charge any fees or costs unless we help you get the compensation you deserve. In your first consultation, we will listen to your story and give you fair legal advice on your next steps.
Once you hire our Philadelphia car accident firm, your attorney will keep you informed every step of the way. We will deal with the insurance companies and handle the legal process so that you can focus on getting your life back on track.
Using our team of medical experts, accident reconstructionists, and investigators, we will investigate the scene of the accident, speak with witnesses, and gather all the necessary information to strengthen your claim.
Once all the evidence has been gathered, we will begin to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. We will not rest until you receive the compensation you deserve following an accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Philadelphia
No matter how safe you are behind the wheel, the chances of getting into an auto accident at least once in your lifetime are great. According to the latest statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were approximately 125,268 reportable car crashes in the state in 2019. Of those car accidents, 1,059 people lost their lives and another 76,243 people were injured. This means approximately three people each day were fatally injured in reportable car accidents and 9 were injured every hour.
In Philadelphia County alone, there were 11,120 motor vehicle accidents in 2019, with 7,410 people receiving injuries and 88 losing their lives. It was the second highest county in the state after Allegheny County to have the most car accidents.
It can be a confusing time after a car accident, especially if you or your passengers are injured. You may not know what your next steps should be. However, if you keep this list in mind, you will be able to protect your future claim.
Step 1 – Remain Calm
This may seem like common sense, but after an accident, you may experience a shock to the system. You will feel disoriented, frightened, and confused. You may not even realize that you were injured, which can lead to serious consequences for your safety.
Before doing anything, take a moment to calm down, breathe deeply, and assess the situation. Are you injured? Is your passenger ok? Are you in immediate danger? If you take the moment to pull your senses together, you will be able to proceed with a clearer mind.
Step 2 – Move to Safety
Once you’re able to think straight, try to get to safety. If your car is still operational, try to move it to the shoulder and stay in it until emergency personnel arrives. If your vehicle cannot move, try to get yourself out of the car and move to safety. Once you’re safe, try to help others that may still be in danger.
When safe, stay away from the roadway or the vehicles in case of an additional collision or a possible explosion. If you can, set up flares or other warning signals to alert others on the road of the accident.
If someone tries to flee the scene or is a danger to your safety, keep your distance. Try to take note of anything that will help to identify them later, such as a license plate number, or the color and make of the vehicle.
Step 3 – Contact Emergency Services
Once you and the other parties are safe, contact emergency services as soon as possible. Pennsylvania law requires all drivers to alert the police of an accident. Even if no one seems injured in the accident, it’s still a good idea to contact emergency medical services.
Remember to stay on the line with the operator until help arrives. Not only will this give emergency personnel up-to-date information on what is going on with the accident, but since 911 calls are recorded, it may be used in your claim later on to get a sense of what occurred during the accident.
Step 4 – Start Collecting Information
As you wait for the police to arrive, you can start trying to collect any information that could be beneficial to your claim later on. Try to get the following information:
- Contact information of the other driver or passengers and any witnesses to the accident.
- Photographs and video footage of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle, and the damage to the other driver’s vehicle.
- Take note of any surveillance cameras you may see. This evidence may come in handy down the line.
- And, if you’re injured, photos of your injuries could also be beneficial.
When you are collecting information remember not to disturb the scene in any way. Do not photograph or record injured people without their consent. And stay out of the way of the emergency responders as they’re doing their jobs.
Remember, memories easily fade away, so try to collect as much information as you can.
Step 5 – Give Your Statement
Once the police arrive, they will interview everyone who was involved in the accident, including witnesses who may have seen the accident take place. Try to give an accurate statement of what happened before, during, and after the accident. Remember to be truthful but don’t assign blame to either yourself or the other driver.
Once the police receive all the information, they will determine if any laws were violated and will then issue citations to the drivers who broke the law. If necessary, they may perform sobriety tests on any drivers they suspect are under the influence.
A report will be written that summarizes all the information about the accident which you may need later for evidence.
Step 6 – Seek Medical Treatment
Even if you think you’re not injured, it’s still best to have medical personnel examine you following an accident. Sometimes, injuries from accidents will not show up into days later. So if you refuse medical treatment at the scene, remember to visit your doctor for a follow-up checkup.
Step 7 – Take Care of Yourself
In the days following a car crash, it’s important to take care of yourself and get your facts in order before speaking with the insurance company. Keep a record of any medical treatments, repair bills, property damage, or any other financial losses you may have suffered following the accident.
Step 7 – Contact a Skilled Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer ASAP
The sooner you contact Munley Law, the more likely you will be able to recover from the accident with the maximum compensation you deserve.
What is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident With Injury in Philadelphia?
One of the main questions our attorneys receive is “How much is my car accident claim worth?”. The answer is: it depends.
Every car accident is different, especially in Philly. Whether it’s a 10-car pileup on the Schuylkill or a simple fender bender on Broad Street, many factors go into how much your case is worth. The number of damages you may be entitled to recover will depend on the following set of circumstances;
- The severity of your or your family member’s injuries.
- Whether someone had died as a direct result of the accident
- The age and health condition at the time of the accident
- What caused the accident and who was at fault
- The difficulty of proving your case
- Available insurance coverage
At Munley Law, we strive to get the optimal amount for your accident. We will not only take into account your present situation and medical bills but will also consider any future expenses you may be facing down the road.
What is a Good Car Accident Settlement Offer?
To answer this question, you need to know how much your claim is worth. By understanding how much the car accident cost you, you’ll be able to figure out how much you should receive in a settlement offer.
Our attorneys will sit down with you, go through all the costs, and give you a fair estimate of what your settlement offer should be. Some of the factors that go into these calculations include:
- Medical expenses, such as hospital bills, doctor visits, physical therapy, medication, etc.
- In-home medical services, such as nursing services
- Rehabilitation costs
- Property damage, like your vehicle repairs, for example
- Loss of income and any future earning potential
- Permanent disability, disfigurement, or scarring
- Emotional distress, such as anxiety issues, stress, depression, etc.
These are the same calculations that your insurance company will take into account when valuing your auto accident claim. Once the expenses are added up, the insurance company will multiply that amount by a pre-determined number. Unfortunately, these numbers rarely if ever produce a fair settlement number. The claims adjuster is minimizing your damages to reduce your claim’s value.
These reasons are why it’s crucial to speak with an experienced car accident attorney in Philadelphia, and we will determine how much your claim is truly worth. We will not accept an offer on your behalf without your consent.
If a Settlement Cannot Be Reached, Your Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer is Prepared to Go to Trial
In many cases, a lawsuit is not necessary. However, if a settlement cannot be reached and negotiations break down, we will then file a lawsuit and represent your best interests in court. With the evidence we collected, we will be able to present a strong case in court. If the court finds you in favor, you will receive damages for those who caused the motor vehicle accident.
There are two general categories for damages:
- Economic Damages: These damages are meant to compensate the victim and/or the victim’s family for any costs that accrued because of the accident. These damages include medical bills, loss of income, property damage, and any future expenses.
- Non-Economic Damages: These damages are a little harder to put a dollar figure. The most common is pain and suffering — a legal term that encompasses any injury you may have received following the accident. This includes not only physical pain but emotional and mental injuries.
In some rare cases, the court may award punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish the actions of the other people or entities that caused the accident in hopes they never act with negligence again. In Pennsylvania, punitive damages are only awarded when the other party’s actions were extreme or intentional.
How to Prove Your Philadelphia Car Accident Claim?
After suffering an injury in a car crash, the last thing you would think you have to worry about is proving that you’re not at fault. However, this is easier said than done. Just because you have an injury does not automatically mean you are the victim. Remember, the insurance company and the other driver may be claiming that you are liable for the accident and your injuries. So you will need proof to support your car accident claim.
To prove liability, you will need to show the following:
- Each driver had a duty to exercise reasonable caution while behind the wheel
- The other driver was negligent in this duty and did not exercise reasonable care
- Because of this negligence, an accident occurred
- And because of the driver’s carelessness, you were injured as a result
Prove Liability After an Auto Accident
Even if the evidence of the other party’s negligence is crystal clear (for instance, if the driver was texting on his phone when he ran the red light and crashed into your car), the insurance company may deny your claim. Therefore, it’s important to know that your first steps at an accident scene can help your claim down the road.
Take Photos of the Scene
Make sure you take photos of the accident scene, and not just the damage done to your car. Take photos of the car or cars involved, the position of the cars at the scene, the condition of the road, any road signs or markings, the weather, anything that could be useful. If you are too injured at the time of the accident, try to ask your vehicle passenger or a bystander to take photos for you.
Get the Police Report
Not only should you contact the police as soon as the accident occurs, but you will need to get in touch with them to obtain a copy of the police report. This report will have all the information about what happened that caused the accident, your testimony, and the other driver’s testimony. It will also provide the police officer’s conclusion of who was at fault and whether traffic citations had been issued to either party because of the accident.
Exchange Contact Information
Make sure you exchange contact information with the other driver. This is important to begin the process of making a claim. You will also want to exchange contact information with any witnesses on the scene. Try also to get any witness testimony; a neutral third party goes a long way in proving your claim.
Contact a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney As Soon As Possible
As soon as you can contact an attorney that has the experience and knowledge of car accident litigation in Pennsylvania, the better your chances are in proving your claim. The lawyers at Munley Law are here 24/7 to get your auto accident lawsuit started.
What are the Examples of Negligent Behavior that Can Cause Car Accidents?
Under Pennsylvania law, every driver must follow the laws and regulations or “rules of the road” to constitute the duty of care when driving. When a driver breaks these laws and causes an accident, that driver is considered negligent.
For example, not following the laws of stopping at a busy intersection can cause deadly consequences. And yet, a study of intersection car accidents in Philadelphia had found that the following five intersections in our city were extremely dangerous, resulting in fatalities:
- Grays Avenue and South 49th Street:
- East Roosevelt Boulevard and Cottman Avenue
- Penn Street and Arrott Street
- Island Avenue and Lindbergh Boulevard
- North Broad Street and Vine Street
So what is considered negligent behavior in the eyes of the law? Here are a few common examples:
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 28 people in the U.S. die in drunk driving car accidents every day. Not only is it against the law to drink and drive, driving while under the influence can impair your reasoning, slow your reaction time, and affect your visual functions. All or just one of these impairments will drastically affect your ability to drive a vehicle properly.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people in 2019. Taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds and going at least 55 mph is like driving the entirety of a football field with your eyes closed. Texting, fiddling with the radio, eating, calling someone, doing your makeup, or anything that distracts your vision from the road is considered distracted driving.
- Aggressive Driving: Though you may not realize it, speeding puts the lives of everyone on the road in jeopardy. In 2018, more than 9,378 people lost their lives in car accidents where speeding played a major part. It was a contributing factor to 26% of traffic fatalities of that year. Failing to yield, tailgating, break checking, and swerving in and out of heavy traffic account for aggressive driving, as well.
- Drowsy Driving: Drowsy driving is not only a danger, but it’s an avoidable one. In 2019, there were 619 deaths from drowsy driving-related accidents. Driving while fatigued is not only a problem with drivers of cars but with truck drivers as well.
- Hit and Run Accidents: Although fleeing from the scene of an accident is considered illegal, it’s not an uncommon experience. When it comes to hit and run accidents, the majority of these situations are pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents.
- Bad Weather Accidents: Those who live in the Philadelphia region understand how rapidly the weather changes. One minute there can be sunshine and warm weather, the next minute we can have icy, slippery conditions. If driving with caution during these times of dangerous road conditions, an accident is more likely to occur.
What If Other Circumstances Caused My Car Crash?
Sometimes, driver negligence may not be the only cause of a car accident. According to Pennsylvania law, there are times when someone might be held “strictly liable” for causing harm, even if negligence did not play a part in the accident.
One example would be a bar or restaurant. Under Dram Shop Laws, a business that sells alcohol is liable for the actions of someone who was served too much alcohol. If that person drives home intoxicated and gets into a car accident, the injured parties may be able to sue the bar for its part in the accident.
Another example is a defect in the vehicle causing an accident. If the car manufacturer of the product previously knew about the defect, yet failed to warn consumers, the manufacturer may be liable in a car accident.
For more information on strict liability law, it’s best to speak with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney to learn more.
Can More Than One Party Be Held Liable for a Vehicle Accident?
In Pennsylvania, if more than one person or entity is considered at fault for causing an accident, the courts will use the legal doctrine “modified contributory negligence” to figure out the amount each party owes the injured individual.
For example, while driving on the Blue Route towards Chester, a driver hits another car. The first driver had been driving too fast and failed to see the traffic up ahead slowing down. Meanwhile, the other driver had been texting a friend and didn’t notice that the traffic in front of the car had moved. The texting driver was injured in the accident and sues the speeding driver.
Using the modified contributory negligence rule in the example above, the court will assign a percentage of fault to each of the responsible parties. If the plaintiff is found either equally or more responsible than the defendant for their injuries, they will not be able to recover any damages.
In the case above, the plaintiff needs to be less than 50% responsible for the accident to recover from their injuries.
How Can an Insurance Company Dispute My Claim?
When you are injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver, you will be looking for compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay for any financial losses you have suffered. What you need to remember is that the insurance company is in the business of making money first. During your auto accident insurance claim, be prepared to face resistance when it comes to getting your claim paid.
Some of the tactics the insurance adjuster may use include:
Offering a Quick Settlement in Exchange for a Liability Waiver
The adjuster will know how much an injured victim will be struggling to make ends meet at this time. In an effort to capitalize on the victim’s emotional state, an adjuster will offer a small settlement as soon as possible. Generally, this settlement will come with a waiver that states that you are giving up the option to recover additional money later.
Although it is tempting to get this quick money, never sign anything without your lawyer looking at it first. Instead, decline the offer and ask the adjuster to speak with your car accident attorney.
Questioning The Severity of Your Injuries
Another tactic the insurance adjuster may try to do is doubt the injuries you have received following the accident. For example, if you need knee replacement surgery after your accident, the adjuster may claim that you always had arthritis in your knees and would have eventually had the surgery despite the accident. If the insurance company can find proof that your injury was caused by other means, it can find a way to escape liability for your claim.
These reasons are why it’s important to seek medical treatment following the automobile accident. A medical expert can later be used to prove that your injuries only came from the accident and not a previous injury.
Finding The Victim at Fault for the Accident
As mentioned above, the modified comparative negligence rule can easily damage a victim’s claim if they are found fault for the accident. Knowing this, the other party’s insurance company will try to find you at fault for the accident so they do not have to pay.
Do not give them a chance. Before you speak to the insurance adjuster or the insurance, first speak to an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer at Munley Law. For over 60 years, we have been battling insurance companies across Pennsylvania. We understand the tactics they use to disprove your claim and we are more than willing to fight on your behalf to make sure you receive the compensation that you deserve.
How to Deal with Insurance Companies After an Accident
While you report the crash to your own insurance company, you are under no obligation to speak with the other party’s insurance. In fact, we strongly recommend that you do not make any statements to the other party’s insurance company, and instead allow your car accident lawyer to handle that communication for you.
It’s always best not to speak with an insurance adjuster without your lawyer present, too. However, the adjuster may try to get you on record to find the cracks in your statement that the insurance company can take advantage of. They will try to get you to give a recorded statement. It’s imperative that you do not give one.
Is the Insurance Company Acting in Bad Faith?
Too many times, the insurance company will act in bad faith towards a victim following car accidents. This can occur when the insurance company willfully ignores or refuses to pay a legitimate claim. Some examples include:
- Denying a valid claim
- Delaying an investigation or payment without reason
- Paying only partial benefits of what is owed
Under Pennsylvania law, there is a two-pronged test to determine a case of bad faith: clear and convincing evidence that the insurer did not have a reasonable basis for denying benefits, and that the insurer knew or disregarded its lack of reasonable basis in denying a claim.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine whether your insurance is acting in bad faith without an attorney. Fortunately, Munley Law has decades of experience dealing with insurance companies. We know their tactics and what to look for in a bad faith insurance claim. If you believe your insurance is utilizing bad faith tactics on your claim, contact our Philadelphia car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Q&A with Our Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers
Q: My Doctor said I will Need Ongoing Treatment, and Maybe even Additional Surgeries. How Can I Make Sure My Medical Expenses are Covered?
When our car accident lawyers represent you, they will work with your doctor and our trusted medical experts to ensure that we have a clear picture of your future medical needs. We will calculate your future medical bills, prescription costs, and other expenses to ensure that you have the money you need for your recovery.
Q: Can I Recover Financial Compensation for My Pain and Suffering?
Potentially, yes. Car crashes are not only physically damaging, but mentally and emotionally damaging. In addition to medical expenses and other financial harm, car accident victims can also seek compensation for their non-financial losses. This includes:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Loss of society, companionship, and consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Q: What if I was Partially at Fault in the Accident?
This is a question we get from many of our clients. When you have been involved in a car accident, it is natural to wonder whether you may have done something wrong. However, it is imperative that you not make any assumptions about your role in the accident. There are numerous factors that can lead to car accidents; and, even if you may have been doing something (such as speeding) at the time of the crash, it is not necessarily the case that your actions caused or contributed to the accident.
But, under Pennsylvania law, even if you were partially at fault, you may still be entitled to partial compensation, which is something our Philadelphia car accident lawyers can help with.
Speak with our Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers for Free
For more information about how we can help maximize your financial recovery from the car accident, please contact our personal injury law firm to arrange your free initial consultation. To speak with a lawyer at our Philadelphia law offices, call or tell us about your accident online now.