Pittsburgh Car Accident Lawyers
Following a car accident, you’re likely feeling concerned about your health, finances and mode of transportation. Car accidents are very scary experiences that can have life-altering consequences. Our Pittsburgh car accident lawyers are here to help.
For motorists, there’s nothing scarier than being involved in a traffic accident. An accident can throw your life into chaos. As you recover from your injuries, the mounting medical bills, physical pain, and emotional suffering can all take over your life.
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After an accident, you need help. Our Pittsburgh car accident lawyers offer the expertise you need.
Our team helps victims defend their rights, file claims for their injuries and fight for the maximum compensation they deserve. After an accident, your focus should be getting life back to normal – not fighting insurance companies and struggling to pay for auto repairs or medical bills. Our team takes care of all the legal aspects for you, so you can focus on your recovery.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents
After a car accident, you’ll likely be in shock and you may be uncertain about what led up to the accident. Too often, unsafe drivers cause accidents that can have serious consequences for victims. The majority of car accidents happen when unsafe drivers fail to adhere to traffic regulations. Their negligence can have a significant impact on the lives of victims.
Although car accidents happen for many reasons, the most common causes include:
- Drivers failing to obey traffic laws
- Distracted driving or texting while driving
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Intoxicated driving
- Reckless driving
- Excessive speed
- Inexperienced drivers
No matter the cause of your accident, your primary focus should be on your recovery. Yet, beyond recovery, you still need to file claims with both the at-fault driver’s insurance and your own, seek punitive damages (in cases of gross negligence), and possibly file for disability as well as other forms of compensation.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you manage this entire legal process and protect your rights. All of this is overwhelming. A Pittsburg car accident lawyer provides the help and honest advice you need.
Types of Recoverable Damages for Car Accident Victims
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your property losses, and pain and suffering. A lawyer helps you fight for the maximum compensation for your injuries and suffering. Too often, victims are bullied by insurance companies and pressured into agreeing to unfair compensation.
A qualified lawyer helps you fight for all the compensation and/or damages you are entitled to. There are many types of compensation – which cover costs related to your accident. Claims can be filed for:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of normal life
When you hire a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer, your attorney can help you pursue any and all avenues for recovering your compensation.
Avoid Talking to Insurance Companies
After an accident, you might feel inclined to speak with your insurance company. You may hear from the insurance company of the at-fault driver. We recommend you speak with an experienced attorney before talking to any insurance companies.
Insurance companies are most concerned with the bottom line. Their goal is to settle for as little as possible or avoid paying claims altogether. That’s why it’s important to seek a qualified Pittsburgh car accident lawyer.
A lawyer will speak on your behalf with:
Your Insurer. Since Pennsylvania is a “choice no-fault state,” in most cases, you will file a claim with your insurance company for costs related to your injuries. Property damage claims, on the other hand, are filed with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Even though you’re a client of your insurer, that company won’t always act in your best interest. An experienced lawyer will aggressively defend your right to compensation and seek the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries. As you recover, the last thing you need to think about is fighting with insurers to pay your medical bills.
At-Fault Driver’s Insurance. Insurance companies are notorious for fighting with victims to pay as little as possible. They may try to bully and hassle you to accept an undervalued settlement. In some cases, they may deny your claim altogether. When you hire a qualified lawyer, you avoid these nasty legal disputes. One of your lawyer’s primary tasks is fighting with insurers for a fair-value settlement.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
After an accident, you may be in shock, scared, and unsure of what to do. In the immediate aftermath, your primary focus should be your health and safety. If you’ve been in an auto accident, here are a few steps you should take:
- Call 911 – If you are able to, seek medical assistance immediately. Call 911. If you’re unable to, this will be the responsibility of witnesses or the other driver. If you are located in oncoming traffic, move to a safe location within close distance of the accident.
- Call Law Enforcement – If you’re uninjured and don’t see damage, you should still contact law enforcement. You may not feel your injuries right away because of shock, or you may notice damage to your vehicle after the fact. At the scene, investigators will take statements. Provide as much information as possible about your accident, but do not admit fault.
- Avoid Discussing Fault – Police may ask who caused the accident. You should not discuss fault with law enforcement, the other driver, anyone at the scene, or insurance adjusters. You might improperly implicate yourself. This can damage your case.
- Collect Evidence – At the scene, begin to collect evidence. Take photos and videos of the scene with your smartphone, and write down witness names and phone numbers. Also ask for the insurance and contract information for the other driver.
- Seek Legal Counsel – If you’re able to, you can call a lawyer from the scene. A lawyer can help investigate your case immediately, and ensure your rights remain protected. If you’re unable to contact a lawyer from the scene, seek legal advice as soon as possible. Your case becomes more difficult to investigate the longer you wait.
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The Pittsburgh car accident lawyers at Accident & Injury Law Group want to help. We know what you and your family are going through. Car accidents are frightening experiences, and in your time of need, the last thing you and your family need to worry about is fighting with insurance companies.
Call us today for a free case evaluation. Our legal experts are standing by to provide assistance to you and your family.
Serious motor vehicle accidents occur every day around Pittsburgh. When you are unlucky enough to be the victim of one, you will have to be vigilant about protecting your rights to fair compensation for your injuries. This vigilance begins at the scene of the crash and doesn’t end until you have a settlement you are happy with. When you work with our car accident attorneys, you can be sure that your interests will be protected and that we will fight for you.
How Are We Different From Other Law Firms?
We know you have a lot of options when it comes to accident attorneys in Pittsburgh. So, why call us when you are injured in a car accident? We work hard to distinguish ourselves from other law firms, and we think you will notice a difference right away. When you work with us, you will benefit from the following:
- Focus. We give each and every case we take the personal attention it deserves. Your case will be handled by an attorney—not a paralegal—from start to finish. We will take the time to get to know you as an individual so that we can maximize your settlement and make sure all of your needs are met.
- Commitment. We only accept the cases we believe in, so you can be sure we are committed to your cause and will fight tenaciously on your behalf. We are dedicated to the principles of fairness and responsibility, and we want to hold liable parties accountable when their actions harm others.
- Knowledge. Our attorneys have experience in the insurance industry, and bring this inside knowledge to all of our cases. We know insurance company tricks for getting people to settle for less than they deserve and we know how to fight back. Don’t give insurance companies the upper hand. Work with attorneys who know how to beat them at their own game.
The bottom line is that we are a small firm that is dedicated to helping people recover what they deserve following a car crash. We are not a cookie-cutter law firm who works on sheer volume. Our car accident attorneys are thoughtful about the cases they take and work hard to secure the best possible outcome.
Do Not Hesitate to Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one is in a serious car accident, please call us right away. Medical bills can pile up very quickly after an accident, and it’s very easy to get behind on paying them. If we cannot help you, we will let you know. Some car crash claims are easily settled without an attorney and if that is your situation, we will tell you. However, if an insurance company is giving you a hard time or the other driver is claiming you are to blame, we have the experience and dedication to fight for what you deserve. You cannot go wrong, so call us today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Pick the Right Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in a car crash in Pennsylvania, you want to hire an attorney who’s handled car accident cases and personal injury cases in the past; an attorney who’s experienced in making claims to an insurance company and who’s not afraid to take a case to trial if the insurance company’s not valuing your case properly. A lot of times, people unfortunately hire an attorney who is not focused on personal injury, and when the time comes to go to trial, that attorney may settle that case for pennies on a dollar rather than take the case to trial because of the inexperience.
What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
In speaking with my clients in the past, I’ve noticed that they’ve made a lot of mistakes after they’ve been involved in an auto accident. One of the biggest mistakes they make is not documenting the accident, either by not calling the police officer or not getting the other driver’s insurance information. Another mistake they make is not seeking medical attention right away. One of the things you need to do is go to a doctor and make sure you’re given some kind of treatment for your injuries because if you don’t, the insurance company’s going to use that gap in treatment later on against you.
Ironically, the biggest mistake people make is not after the accident. The biggest mistake people make in Pennsylvania is when they purchase their automobile insurance. In Pennsylvania, you have the option of purchasing limited tort insurance and full tort insurance. A lot of people make the mistake of buying limited tort because it’s cheaper. However, if you have limited tort and you’re involved in an automobile accident, you are limited in making a claim for general damages unless you suffer a serious injury. A serious injury, unfortunately, is not defined so you’re going to have to argue with the insurance company about whether you’ve been seriously injured.
If you have full tort, you can sue for general damages no matter what kind of injury you have, and you don’t have to prove that you have a serious injury. The insurance company is going to argue that you’re not seriously injured and you’re not going to be able to be compensated. When you purchase insurance, make sure you purchase the full tort option. If you have purchased insurance already, call up your insurance agent or your insurance company and tell them you want to switch over to full tort. For the few dollars you save with limited tort, it’s just not worth it if you get in an accident.
Should I see a doctor after a motor vehicle accident even if I don’t feel injured?
Yes! The importance of receiving a prompt medical evaluation after a motor vehicle accident simply cannot be overstated. Seeking immediate medical care not only protects your health, but also your ability to collect compensation for accident-related injuries and other losses.
Just because you weren’t rushed from the scene of the crash to the nearest hospital via ambulance doesn’t mean you weren’t injured.
Some car crash injuries—including whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries—can take hours or even days to present symptoms. That doesn’t mean they aren’t related to the accident and that you shouldn’t be compensated for them. Late-appearing injuries can be painful or, in some cases, even debilitating.
Common late-appearing injuries include neck, shoulder and back pain; severe headaches that could indicate a head injury; concussions; and internal bleeding.
Seeing a doctor as soon as possible and stating you’ve been in an accident are essential steps in protecting your right to recovery. This gets the crash on record and, if you have to return to the doctor with late-appearing injuries, it allows them to be documented as being related to your recent incident.
However, it’s important to note if you end up deciding to pursue an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit for accident-related injuries, seeing the doctor once or twice usually doesn’t provide sufficient documentation of an injury. Attending all follow-up visits and adhering to the doctor’s treatment plan exactly can help accident victims build a stronger case.
Why is it so important to see a doctor after a car crash?
After being involved in a car crash, accident victims need to put their health and safety first. That means seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the crash, even if they don’t think they’re injured. It may sound like an inconvenience, but there are a number of reasons why motor vehicle accident victims will ultimately be glad they sought timely medical attention.
Not all car crash injuries are immediately apparent. Soft-tissue injuries, for example, are notorious for showing up days or even weeks after an accident. Seeing a doctor right away—ideally, within 72 hours of a motor vehicle crash—ensures the accident is on record, making it easier to connect late-appearing injuries to the incident.
In addition to seeking prompt medical care, it’s also important for car accident victims to:
- Follow their doctor’s treatment plan to the letter
- Return to the doctor if new symptoms present
- Attend any and all follow-up visits
This shows insurance adjusters and defense attorneys a victim is doing their part to recover from their injuries.
Delaying medical care after a car accident can have devastating consequences on a crash victim’s personal injury case. Defense lawyers or insurance adjusters may claim the injuries sustained weren’t that serious—or were caused by an incident unrelated to the car accident in question. Seeing a doctor ensures the accident and resulting injuries are well-documented by a medical professional.
Who’s liable for a multi-car collision?
Determining fault for a car accident is usually relatively straightforward. However, in cases involving the collision of three or more vehicles, liability issues can become much more complex.
Multiple vehicle collisions—also known as multi-car collisions, chain-reaction crashes, or vehicle pile-ups—are particularly common in high-speed areas, such as highways.
These crashes are often caused by following too closely, and a common multi-car accident scenario involves a car that stops suddenly and is rear-ended by the vehicle driving behind it. This can, in turn, cause a chain reaction of rear-end accidents.
Multi-car crashes are often deemed to be the fault of the driver who caused the initial collision, though poor visibility and inclement road and weather conditions can also play a role. Additionally, in a state like Pennsylvania that follows comparative negligence laws, it’s possible for several drivers to share fault for an accident.
In addition, Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws indicate that being partially at fault for a crash doesn’t necessary preclude an accident victim from collecting compensation for injuries and other damages. As long as the victim was less at fault than the other drivers, he or she may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Ultimately, the amount of fault for each involved driver is determined by the law enforcement officer who responds to the accident and writes the police report. In some instances, fault may also be negotiated by insurance adjusters.
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Who pays for my medical bills if I’m injured in a car accident?
After being seriously injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, victims often wonder who pays for their medical care and whether they’ll be left holding the bag.
While the answer to this question varies dramatically by state, in Pennsylvania, medical bills are submitted to the car accident victim’s insurance first. This is because, as a no-fault state, Pennsylvania requires all parties involved in an accident to recover medical expenses and lost wages from their individual insurance providers, regardless of who’s at fault for the crash.
To accommodate this requirement, Pennsylvania drivers must carry a minimum of $5,000 in medical benefits insurance coverage, though higher thresholds for medical benefits coverage are available and recommended.
Once an accident victim uses their auto insurance medical benefits coverage, they can submit their claim to their public, private or employer-sponsored health insurance provider, who pays a portion of the medical bills, provided the victim met the deductible. However, should the victim file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party and receive a settlement, they may have to pay back the insurer for some of the bills it paid on their behalf. This process is known as subrogation.
Finally, after exhausting their auto insurance medical benefits and health care coverage, victims can seek compensation for any remaining medical expenses from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Car accident injury victims can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for the crash to pursue compensation for a wide range of other losses, including property damage costs, pain and suffering, and more.
What if I Was Seriously Injured?
I was talking to someone the other day and they asked me what they should do if they were involved in an auto accident in Pittsburgh. First of all, it depends the severity of your injury. If you’re able to, call the police officers and file a police report right away, and seek medical attention if you’ve been injured. The second thing you need to do, if you’re able to, is photograph the damage of the vehicles and get the insurance information of the other driver. You need to report the accident to your insurance company right away, if you’re able to do that.
Some of the mistakes that people make is that they don’t seek medical attention because they think that they’re going to get better over a period of time. That’s going to be used against you later on when you make a claim for personal injury. The insurance company is going to use that gap against you saying if you were seriously injured, you would’ve seen a doctor right away. Sometimes people don’t see a doctor for weeks, and then they say to themselves, “I’m not getting any better. I need to get checked out.” That is a big mistake. Go to a doctor right away and see what they say. More times than not, they will refer you to physical therapy or some kind of treatment to help you get better.
What Are the Exceptions to Limited Tort?
If, by chance, you have limited tort insurance, and you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, there are exceptions. For instance, if you’re a pedestrian or a cyclist, even if you have limited tort insurance, you can sue for general damages. If you’re an occupant of a non-private passenger vehicle, such as an Uber, a Lyft, a taxi, or bus, you can still sue for general damages or make a claim for general damages. If you’re a victim of DWI or DUI, that’s another exception to limited tort. If the driver that hits you has no car insurance, that’s another exception to limited tort. In that case, you can make a claim for UIM damages as well. Keep in mind, if you do have limited tort, those are the five exceptions and you should contact a personal injury attorney to find out if you can make a claim or not.
Can I Get My Lost Wages Reimbursed?
If you have no-fault or PIP insurance, you have the option of being reimbursed for your lost wages that were a result of being hurt in a car accident. Depending on the insurance policy and depending on the insurance company, the reimbursement for lost wages may vary. Some insurance companies require you be out of work for two weeks, and then they’ll start compensating you for your lost wages at about 85% of what you were making with a limit capped out, depending on what your coverages are.
What if I Was Hit by Someone Who is Uninsured?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania and the driver that caused the accident does not have insurance, your chances of recovery are going to be limited unless you have underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage provides an extra layer of protection in the event the car that caused the accident is uninsured or underinsured. In Pennsylvania, the minimum limits are $15,000. If the driver that caused the accident does not have insurance or has minimum limits, you’re not going to be fully compensated for your injuries unless you have UIM, which is referred to as underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. I recommend that everyone makes sure you have that coverage. It doesn’t cost that much, and if you do purchase uninsured motorist coverage, ask your insurance agent about the stacking option.
What should I do immediately following a car accident?
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can be a jarring experience. Knowing what to do—and what not to do—in the moments immediately following a car or truck crash can help accident victims protect their right to collect compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Check everyone in the involved vehicles for injuries. Call an ambulance for serious circumstances; don’t attempt to move the injured. If possible, relocate the vehicles to the side of the road or set up emergency flares or triangles to avoid the potential for secondary collisions.
Report the Accident to Law Enforcement
If an ambulance was called, the police will already be enroute. Otherwise, calling to report the accident to law enforcement is the next step. While a police report isn’t admissible in court, it can provide valuable information for an accident victim’s personal injury attorney.
If accident victims aren’t seriously injured, they can gather evidence while waiting for police to arrive. Evidence that helps build a strong case includes:
- Photos or videos of the crash scene, as well as any property damage or injuries
- Exchanging contact, license, and insurance information with the other involved drivers
- Getting names and contact information from witnesses
Seek Medical Attention
It’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible after an accident, even if no serious injuries are readily apparent. A doctor can rule out, treat, and document existing injuries, as well as diagnose more subtle symptoms that could potentially lead to late-appearing injuries. If medical bills start to pile up, do not stress about keeping up with them as there are methods you can use to temporarily relieve that financial pressure.
Notify Insurance Provider
Many insurance agreements require insurees to report accidents to their insurance provider as soon as possible or risk a potential denial of their claim. While accident victims must notify their insurance carrier, they aren’t required to—and shouldn’t—discuss their injuries or the cause of the crash, or provide a recorded statement, without consulting an attorney.
Do I need an attorney for my car accident case?
You see ads all the time for law firms in the Pittsburgh area urging you to call them when you are in a car accident. But do you really need a lawyer to help you settle your car crash claim? It all depends on the circumstances of the crash. There are times when you can settle with the insurance company on your own, and there are times when you want to work with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney to make sure you are fairly represented in a dispute. We explain the difference here.
When You Probably Don’t Need an Attorney
Is this really a lawyer telling you NOT to hire a lawyer? Yes! Believe it or not, there are times when we think you can handle a car accident settlement on your own. The following situations are examples of straightforward claims that you can probably successfully negotiate on your own behalf:
- No one was injured in the accident, but there was property damage.
- The other driver accepts fault and his insurance company offers you a settlement that fully covers your costs.
- You were injured, but your medical bills total less than $1,000.
In these situations, you can deal with the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster directly and settle the claim quickly. However, if the insurance adjuster gives you the runaround or your case is more complicated, you should call an attorney.
When You Should Call an Attorney
Insurance companies are not happy to pay out on claims, so if they have any grounds to push back, you can be sure they will. In these situations, having an attorney on your side can help enormously. Times when you will want to hire an attorney as soon as possible include the following:
- There is a serious injury requiring hospitalization or resulting in permanent damage, such as paralysis or traumatic brain injury.
- Someone died in the accident.
- A commercial vehicle, such as a semi-truck, was involved.
- Fault is in dispute, or you are wrongly accused of causing the accident.
- The accident happened in a construction zone.
- You are overwhelmed and confused about your rights.
When you hire an experienced car accident attorney, he will investigate the accident and gather the evidence needed to get you the settlement you deserve from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Yes, you will pay him a percentage of your settlement, but you will not owe any money until and unless he wins your case.
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How Long Will It Take to Settle?
One of the many questions we’re asked when somebody comes to this office after an automobile accident in Pennsylvania is, “How long is it going to take to resolve this matter?” It’s impossible to tell right away. It all depends on how long you treat and whether the insurance company is going to be reasonable. You can’t really make a claim to the insurance company until you’re done treating. At that point, the insurance company can be reasonable and decide to offer you a fair settlement, or not, and then you’re forced to file a lawsuit. I can tell you that, at this office, we do everything we can to move your case along as fast as possible.