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Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer

After an individual suffers injuries in a car accident resulting from negligence, the shock of the impact can seriously alter the physical and financial health of an auto accident victim. Injuries, medical bills and missed work can cause hardships for victims involved in car accidents.  Our Philadelphia car accident attorneys at Rosenbaum & Associates are here to help injured victims fight for compensation for the injuries and pain and suffering caused during an accident.

If you are a passenger or driving someone else’s car and neither car has insurance, you may still be able to get compensated for your injuries in a car accident.  Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers are well-versed in Pennsylvania law and can help you can recover UM benefits from your own car insurance or possibly a family member’s car insurance. If no one in your household owns a car then there is a limited fund set up by the state where you can recover up to $15,000. However, there are a number of requirements to be eligible for this fund.

If you would like more information regarding our car accident lawyers, please contact us online or call our law firm at (215) 569-0200 for a free case evaluation.

Philadelphia Car Accident Resources:

Why Choose Rosenbaum & Associates?

If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and suffered serious injury, or a loved one was killed, an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney may be able to help you. Feel free to call our office for a free consultation and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

In some cases liability is clear, for example if you are stopped at light and rear-ended. But many times each driver will blame the other person for the car accident. A police report can be useful in determining fault, however many times the report is incomplete and even inaccurate. Further, the officer’s conclusion regarding fault is generally not admissible evidence. Therefore, it is important to do an independent investigation of all Philadelphia car accidents.

At Rosenbaum & Associates, a Philadelphia car accident lawyer routinely hires investigators to take photographs of the car accident site and property damage as well as obtain witness statement. In more complex cases, our law firm will retain engineering experts to perform car accident reconstruction.

Jeffrey Rosenbaum on ABC Channel 6

What To Do After an Auto Accident?

First, have a plan in place in case you are in an accident:

1. If you or your passengers are not seriously injured, move to a safe place away from traffic.

Never move a severely injured person unless you absolutely must do so to keep him or her out of harm’s way. If you can safely do so, however, move everyone (including your car, if possible), to the side of the road and wait for help there.

Be sure to turn on your car’s hazard lights to alert other drivers that you need help. Flares are also a good way to alert other drivers that you are in trouble when it is dark and visibility is low.

2. Call the police to the scene and wait there for them. If anyone is seriously hurt, call 911.

Never leave the scene of a car crash unless there are no injuries and you and all other parties involved agree that a simple exchange of insurance information is all that is necessary. Leaving the scene of an accident when someone is injured could leave you facing criminal charges for hit and run.

3. Gather as much information as possible.

You will need as much information as you can gather for insurance companies and legal purposes. You will need the driver and passenger names, license plate numbers and car types, and insurance information from all parties involved.

Take notes while you are waiting for help to arrive. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information as well. You should also take pictures of the scene whenever possible. Save the contact information of any responding police officers as this can come in handy later.

4. Call your insurance company as soon as possible.

Let your insurance agent know what happened, the location, and any special circumstances while the details are fresh in your mind.

5. Keep medical records of any treatment you receive due to the car accident.

Visits to doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, or any other health professional you make as a result of your accident should be carefully noted. Save copies of all related medical bills and prescription receipts. If you miss work or other important activities, keep a record of that also.

6. Be careful about discussing the details of your car accident with others.

Finally, use caution when discussing the details or any auto accident, particularly the other insurance company, as they will often try to get you to settle for a lesser amount than you should. When in doubt, contact a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer, especially if you anyone was injured in the accident.

If you were injured, we can help you maximize any recovery due you or help to defend you if you were at fault in the accident.

7. Always be prepared for a car accident – just in case

Vehicle accidents are something that can happen to anyone, so you should always be prepared in case this is something that happens to you. The following may be helpful:

  • Keep important documents readily available in case you need them (vehicle registration, insurance companies of all parties, contact information, health plan info, etc.)
  • Have your phone with you and charged whenever you travel
  • Keep pictures of your car in its current condition so that you have proof of what damage resulted from the current accident
  • Have an emergency safety kit in the car with you. This should include:
    • a first aid kit
    • road flares
    • flash light
    • camera (most cell phones work just fine for this)
    • pen and paper
    • fire extinguisher
    • jumper cables
    • tire puncture sealant

How to Contact Our Philadelphia County Accident Attorneys

 

Philadelphia-car-injury-attorney

What are Common Causes of Car Accidents?

Speeding clearly accounted for the majority of motor vehicle accidents both nationally and in the state, but drinking and driving and distracted driving were clearly contributing factors here.

In the state of Pennsylvania, the problem of drinking and driving remains a top safety issue, mainly because alcohol related crashes are more likely to involved fatalities.

Alcohol related crashes caused 333 deaths in 2014. Of occupant deaths, 87% were in the vehicle driven by a drunk driver; 72% of those were the drinking drivers themselves. Pedestrians (13%) were also serious accident victims of drunk driving far too often. Alcohol related crashes were 4.1% more likely to result in death compared to crashes not involving alcohol.

The majority of drunk drivers (74%) were male, in the 21-25 age range (42.9%), who drank and drove most often (72% of the time) on weekends.

Eating, drinking, and/or smoking along with dangerous road conditions all increase the potential of auto accidents. These all create safety problems because they often require the driver to take the hands off of the wheel and eyes off of the street road. Drivers who eat or drink while driving have trouble controlling their vehicle, staying in their lane, and have to brake more often. This type of reckless behavior can result in serious injuries.

Driver Error and Vehicle Collisions

Distracted drivers accounted for 13,964 crashes in 2014. When it comes to driver error and distracted driving, a couple of major themes stand out:

  • The use of cellphones while driving
  • The age of the driver

Since the initiation of the Pennsylvania law in 2012 that outlawed texting, Pennsylvania drivers have been cited 3,940 times for texting while driving (1,410 in 2014 alone) and 1,752 times (711 in 2014) for using headphones while driving.

The young drivers (age 16-21) and the mature drivers (ages 65 and over) were most often involved in crashes. While most of us think we are pretty good at multitasking, this is simply not the case. Trying to attend to more than one thing while driving can be deadly. Research clearly shows that a driver will not be able to react as quickly if he or she is:

  • Adjusting the radio or other music device
  • Talking, texting or emailing on a cell phone
  • Watching videos (or anything other than the road)
  • Interacting with other passengers (this is particularly a problem from novice or teenage drivers)
  • Searching for or moving an object in the vehicle while driving
  • Reading or writing
  • Tired or drowsy driving
  • Personal grooming (combing hair, applying makeup)
  • Rubbernecking (such as when passing a crash scene or a work zone)
  • Looking at people, objects, or events happening off of the roadway

Eating, drinking, and/or smoking. These all create safety problems because they often require the driver to take the hands off of the wheel and eyes off of the road. Drivers who eat or drink while driving have trouble controlling their vehicle, staying in their lane, and have to brake more often.

Under Pennsylvania law there are “first party (PIP) benefits” and “third party benefits.” PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection and is paid regardless of fault. These payments typically include medical bills and lost wages up to a specified amount. Pennsylvania insurance companies policy must provide at least $5,000 in medical benefits, but wages and collision insurance coverage are optional.

Third party benefits are paid by the defendant’s insurance company and are only payable if another driver is at fault. Usually, this claim includes pain and suffering, outstanding medical bills, lost wages and can include property damage if you do not have collision coverage.

Philadelphia car accident lawyers

What Damages Can Victims Recover After a Serious Car Accident in Pennsylvania?

Dependent on the specifics and facts of a car accident case, plaintiffs may be able to recover economic, noneconomic and punitive damages. In Pennsylvania, there are two main types of damages – compensatory damages and punitive damages:

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to offset the injuries and pain and suffering caused. Compensatory damages are broken into two sub-categories, economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages are tangible in nature and are much easier to calculate relative to non-economic damages. Economic damages can include damages and compensation to help reimburse the victim for fiscal damages suffered. Economic damages can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage

Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages, also known as general damages, are more intangible and more difficult to calculate. Noneconomic damages can help compensate injured victims for the physical pain and suffering caused from the injuries sustained in a car accident. 

Noneconomic damages include compensation for pain, suffering and emotional distress. These damages may include:

  • Loss of ability to work
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium 
  • Emotional pain and distress
  • Humiliation
  • Damage to reputation

Can I Recover Damages After a Car Accident in Philadelphia if I Was Partially at Fault?

Not all traffic accidents involve parties that are 100% responsible for the injuries sustained. In fact, there are a number of instances when multiple parties can share responsibility for a car accident. 

The State of Pennsylvania is a modified comparative fault state. As a modified comparative fault state, an individual can recover damages in an accident if they are found to be responsible for less than 50% of the accident. 

If an individual is found to be 50% or more liable for the accident, they will be unable to recover fair compensation for the damages suffered. 

When are Punitive Damages Awarded in Car Accident Cases in Pennsylvania?

Punitive damages are not generally awarded in civil tort cases. However, when the actions of a defendant are especially egregious and malicious in nature. These damages may be awarded if a party intentionally caused harm to another person.

Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party for their actions and bring a financial burden to the party at fault for the pain and suffering endured by the victimized party. These damages also act as a deterrent for the at-fault party, and other individuals that may act maliciously, to punish these intentional acts.

Civil Courts may award damages for punitive in an auto accident case, although they are less common to many accidents. The case needs to go to trial and the plaintiff must prove to the court that a high bar of proof existed. The plaintiff and their legal team must also show that the defendant acted with malicious intent to cause harm to the plaintiff. 

If a defendant operated a vehicle under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, drove recklessly, engaged in grossly negligent behavior and/or had a willful disregard for the safety of other parties, punitive damages may be awarded to the victimized party at the discretion of the court.  

What’s the Difference Between Full Tort & Limited Tort?

When selecting auto insurance companies you have a choice of purchasing “Full Tort” or “Limited Tort.” If you choose the option of limited tort, you have an additional burden in order to recover for pain and suffering. You need to prove that have sustained a “serious injury,” meaning personal injury that resulted in a wrongful death, serious impairment of body function or disfigurement permanent in nature. Although there is no set criteria getting over this threshold, muscle strains and other injuries that resolve in a few months are typically not sufficient.

You can still pursue a Philadelphia car accident claim if you have selected limited tort, but it is crucial that you get the appropriate diagnostic testing to confirm any accident injuries. There are also exceptions that can apply to change you from limited tort to full tort. For example, if the other driver was driving under the influence or was operating a vehicle registered outside of Pennsylvania you will have the full tort option.

If you selected the full tort option you maintain all of your rights to recover for pain an suffering. That means there is no threshold and you can recover for even minor injuries. Regardless of your tort option you can still recover for your economic losses (i.e. wages, property damage, and excess medical bills).

Uninsured (UM) and Under Insured (US) Motorist Coverage

Unfortunately, there are many drivers who do not have insurance or purchase inadequate liability coverage from insurance companies. Therefore, to protect yourself and your family from an uninsured motorist, a Philadelphia car accident lawyer would suggest you should purchase both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You can also make a UM claim when the accident was caused by an unidentified driver (eg. hit and run). In pursuing a UM claim you are demanding that your insurance company pay for the all the damages caused by the uninsured driver. You still need to prove the other driver(s) were at fault. And you need to show the responsible party did not have insurance. One significant difference is when the car accident lawsuit is heard by a panel of arbitrators and not a jury.

What Is The Time Limit to File a Car Accident Claim in Pennsylvania?

After a car accident occurs, there are time limits associated with how much time a plaintiff can come forward with civil actions for the damages suffered. This time limit, legally known as the Statute of Limitations, is two years as outlined in 42 PA. C.S.A. §5524(2)

Failure to file an injury claim after the statute of limitations has passed can result in the dismissal of the case. Make sure that your case meets the necessary deadlines by contacting a Philadelphia personal injury attorney quickly after the accident occurred. 

Contact Us

After injuries are suffered in an auto accident it is important to seek out medical treatment as soon as possible. If you’re injuries are serious in nature, victims may want to contact the legal representation of an experienced car accident attorney to help recover damages for what was lost.

Our Philadelphia accident attorneys have 25+ years of experience in personal injury law and can help seek the maximum compensation for the pain and suffering caused by another’s negligence. Our personal injury law firm operates under a contingency fee basis and our car accident attorneys only collect money if our clients’ car accident claims are successful. Contact us online, or call us at (215) 569-0200 for a free consultation to discuss the best course of action for your accident claim.

Recent Client Review:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Rosenbaum and Associates for their exceptional customer service, their caring nature, and their follow-through in getting my case resolved. They’ve come to be my new friends for the past 3 years, and hopefully my new business colleagues.” -Muniyr Muhammad

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