Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
After a motor vehicle accident, you may be confused about how you are supposed to go about paying for your medical bills and other expenses, and how you can proceed getting compensation from the negligent driver who hit you. Insurance companies will try to downplay the serious nature of your injuries to keep you from making a claim or to pay only a small amount of benefits. They may also allege that your own negligence caused or at least contributed to the accident. For every percent of fault they can pin on you, that’s a reduction in the amount they have to pay you. And if they can convince you (or a jury) that you are more to blame than the other driver, you can be kept from recovering any money at all on your negligence claim.
At Ellenberg Law Group, our team of experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers know how to prepare and present a strong case that proves the nature and extent of your injuries and the extent of the other driver’s negligence and liability to you. Learn more about Pennsylvania auto accident laws below, and contact our law office in Philadelphia for high-quality legal help and personalized service after any motor vehicle accident, including:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Ridesharing Accidents
Car Accidents and Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Laws
All drivers are required to carry certain minimum amounts of insurance in case they are involved in an accident. One type of required coverage is $5,000 in no-fault coverage for medical payments. You can access this coverage if you are hurt in a car accident regardless of who was at fault. Another type of coverage is bodily insurance liability. When you are injured by a negligent driver, you are owed compensation for your injuries from the at-fault driver’s liability policy. The minimum amount of coverage required by Pennsylvania law is $15,000 for injuries to one person, or $30,000 if more than one person is injured in the accident. Pennsylvania statutes also require drivers to carry at least $5,000 in property damage liability.
How you proceed after a car accident in Pennsylvania depends in large part on whether you selected Full Coverage or Limited Tort when purchasing car insurance. Limited Tort is less expensive to carry, but it only pays out-of-pocket medical bills and other “economic loss.” There is no recovery for pain and suffering or “noneconomic damages” unless you experience a “serious injury” or were hit intentionally, hit by a drunk driver or hit by an uninsured driver. You also retain full tort rights if the cause of the accident is a defect in the motor vehicle. A “serious injury” under the law includes death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement.
If you instead elected Full Coverage, then you can sue to recover the full amount of all your economic and noneconomic damages resulting from the accident. These damages can include losses such as:
- Present and future medical bills
- Lost income for time you missed from work due to the accident
- Diminished earning capacity if you are partially or totally disabled after the accident
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
Our Philadelphia auto accident lawyers can help you determine what type of policy coverage you have, whether your injury qualifies as a “serious injury,” and what the appropriate next steps are to get you the best outcome available after your accident.
What if the negligent driver was uninsured?
Failure to carry required insurance coverage can result in a three-month suspension of your driver’s license and registration, along with costly fines and fees. Most Pennsylvania drivers do carry insurance, but not all. In fact, about 7% of drivers in the Commonwealth are uninsured. In the event you are hit by an uninsured driver, you still have access to no-fault benefits for medical payments. In case of a serious injury, you can file a claim with your insurance company, assuming you carry Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage.
A UM policy is used to compensate you when you are hit by a driver without insurance, or if you are injured in a hit and run and the at-fault driver cannot be identified. A similar form of coverage is Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. With a UIM policy, you can obtain additional compensation from your insurance company if the other driver carries insurance but it is insufficient to cover your losses.
UM/UIM coverage is available for an additional premium when you purchase bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage. While some forgo UM/UIM coverage since it is not required, the additional premium is usually fairly low in comparison with the BIL policy and can be invaluable if you are unfortunate enough to be struck by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Also, for an additional fee, you can choose to stack the UM coverage that you carry on different vehicles, increasing your ability to obtain the maximum compensation available after a serious motor vehicle accident injury.
Get Help after a Serious Motor Vehicle Accident in Philadelphia
If you have been injured in a serous motor vehicle accident in Philadelphia, call Ellenberg Law Group at 215-790-1682 for a free, initial telephone consultation with an experienced and successful Pennsylvania personal injury attorney. There is no fee if we can’t recover for you.