Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident in Philadelphia, PA? If so, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and suffering. The experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC will fight to help you recover all of the money you need and deserve.
Contact our Philadelphia injury law office to schedule a free, no-obligation case assessment. There’s no risk in asking for our help, so give us a quick call today.
Philadelphia, PA Car Accident Statistics
Every day, there are dozens of traffic accidents in and around Philadelphia. In 2014, there were 10,627 accidents reported in all of Philadelphia County.
Just two years later, the number of accidents rose to 12,198, an increase of more than 14 percent. While the total number of crashes decreased slightly between 2016 and 2017, accidents in the city are still happening more frequently than they used to.
How Serious Are Car Accidents in Philadelphia?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, no county in the state reported more fatal crashes in 2017 than Philadelphia County.
DOT statistics reveal that 8.3 percent of fatal Pennsylvania car accidents happened in Philadelphia County. Allegheny County came in a distant second, reporting 5.9 percent of the state’s fatal crashes.
Just how serious are car accidents that happen in Philadelphia? In 2017, there were 11,160 reported car accidents. Of these:
- 7,977 caused an injury
- 91 were fatal, and
- 3,092 only resulted in property damage.
Nearly three-quarters of all Philadelphia car accidents result in an injury of some sort. More than 7 people are killed in Philadelphia car accidents every day. Despite efforts to make Philadelphia roads safer, these numbers haven’t varied by much over the past few years.
How Will a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Help Me After a Crash?
When you get hurt, one of the most important things you’ll do is seek compensation for your injuries. However, it can be challenging to actually get the money you deserve. Car accident cases can be complicated. Insurance companies will fight you every step of the way. Others involved in your crash will try to blame you for your injuries. This is all happening while you’re trying to recover from your injuries.
Fortunately, you don’t have to fight for compensation on your own. You can benefit tremendously by hiring an attorney to handle your personal injury case. When you trust the experienced car accident lawyers at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC, you’ll give yourself the time you need to focus on getting better. You’ll also increase the likelihood of getting the money you desperately need and deserve.
Here’s what you can expect when you call our Philadelphia law firm for help after a crash.
Support and Guidance From Start to Finish
Personal injury cases can be incredibly stressful. At Zavodnick, Zavodnick, & Lasky, LLC, our lawyers will stand by your side every step of the way. To us, you’re more than a number on a case file. You’re a human being who is dealing with a lot of emotions.
We’re not just here to help you recover compensation, we’re here to help you navigate this difficult time. Our clients are like family to us. We want you to feel comfortable confiding in us and relying on us for guidance. After all, we’ve learned that there’s nothing more powerful than empathy in the pursuit of compensation.
A Thorough and Complete Investigation
Insurance companies have an obligation to investigate the circumstances of an accident. However, adjusters certainly won’t be searching for reasons to approve your claim or pay you substantial sums of money. However, that’s precisely what our attorneys will be on the hunt for as we look into the circumstances of your crash.
With the aid of accident experts, our team will launch an exhaustive investigation into your accident. We’ll gather evidence, interview witnesses, and scrutinize the collision from every possible angle. At the conclusion, we’ll rely on the information we’ve gathered as we build a claim for damages on your behalf.
Getting Expert Insight to Boost Your Case
Our lawyers have decades of experience handling car accident cases in Philadelphia. In this time, we’ve learned a lot about the science, engineering, and dynamics of a collision. We’ve learned quite a bit about car accident injuries and how they can affect a victim’s life for years to come. However, we’re not experts in these specialized fields. So, we regularly bring in people who are. This includes:
- Accident reconstructionists
- Medical doctors and specialists
- Forensics specialists
- Vocational rehabilitation specialists, and more.
If someone can provide insight and help us better understand your accident or injuries, we’ll turn to them for help. The more information we have, the better prepared we can be to negotiate a settlement or secure a jury award on your behalf.
Aggressive Pursuit of Compensation From All Parties
Accidents are rarely straightforward. Many times, there are multiple factors that cause a crash to occur. When more than one thing contributes to an accident, more than one person (or party) might be financially responsible. As part of our investigation, we’ll work diligently to determine every possible cause.
With this information in hand, we’ll be able to identify everyone who had a hand in causing the crash. Once we know who is responsible, we can launch an aggressive campaign to hold each and every one of them accountable.
Protection Against Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance companies will not make the claims process easy for you. In fact, adjusters might try to employ a number of manipulative tactics to get out of paying you the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys will not stand for this.
For decades, we’ve gone toe-to-toe with some of the biggest and most powerful insurance companies in the nation – and won. We know their playbook and will challenge them at every turn. We’ll work hard to make them play by the rules, take your case seriously, and extend an offer that’s fair.
Litigation, If Necessary
While most car accident cases will settle, some don’t. Our attorneys will prepare your personal injury case as if we’re going to court. We will make it known to insurers that the threat of a trial is never off the table. If you’re dissatisfied with settlement offers, or if adjusters just won’t budge, our accomplished trial lawyers will take your case to a jury.
Our reputation in the courtroom precedes itself. We’re known for our dynamic trial strategies and ability to connect with a jury. This, alone, can force a defendant’s hand and leverage a meaningful settlement offer in your favor.
Here’s our promise to you. We’re a family business. We understand what you’re going through after an accident. We’ll be your fiercest advocates and fight tirelessly to get you the money you need after your Philadelphia auto accident. You’ll get nothing short of our very best.
So, contact our Philadelphia law office to discuss your car accident injury case and learn more today. Our compassionate legal team is always standing by to take your call or respond to your online request.
Where Do Most Car Accidents in Philadelphia Happen?
When you drive in and around Philadelphia, there’s no guarantee that you won’t get into an accident. That’s true, even if you’re being as careful as you possibly can. However, you might be able to increase the odds of staying safe by knowing where traffic accidents in Philadelphia tend to happen most frequently.
According to crash data, more accidents happen on these roads and intersections in Philadelphia than anywhere else in the city:
- Street Road
- Bustleton Ave
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial Hwy & I-95/Wanamaker Ave Co
- Delaware Expressway
- Roosevelt Blvd
- Schuylkill Expressway, and
- Broad Street.
Any road that intersects with one of these highways can be incredibly dangerous. For example, there’s an 11-mile stretch of Roosevelt Blvd that ranks as the most dangerous place to drive in Pennsylvania. Why? In the two-year period between 2015 and 2017, there were 26 crashes resulting in 30 deaths on this stretch of highway. No other road in the state came close.
Types of Car Accidents
No two car accidents are the same. In fact, almost every single accident needs to be investigated to understand who was at fault and how much of the blame each responsible party shares. However, collisions tend to fall into the same categories. Here are some of the most common types of car accidents in Philadelphia.
A front-impact accident occurs when:
- The front end of two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide, OR
- The front end of one vehicle collides with a fixed object.
Also known as a head-on collision, these accidents account for roughly 54 percent of all serious crashes.
Why do front impact collisions occur? Many times, these are a result of distracted driving or a driver losing control of their vehicle and veering into the path of oncoming traffic.
There are two ways to define a side-impact collision. The first is when one car drives directly into the side of another vehicle. This is often referred to as a “T-Bone” accident. The second is called a sideswipe. This tends to happen when there’s impact between cars traveling in parallel lanes or when a driver grazes the side of their vehicle against a fixed object.
Side-impact car accidents tend to account for one out of every four serious crashes.
A rollover refers to any collision where a car flips onto its side, turns onto the roof, or rolls over from side to side. Essentially, a rollover occurs when two or more wheels leave the ground. Rollovers can be a result of other types of collisions, including “T-Bone” style side-impact crashes. Rollover collisions tend to be the most catastrophic, as they account for roughly 30 percent of all car accident fatalities.
A rear-end collision occurs when one car crashes into the rear of another vehicle. Many rear-end collisions occur at or near intersections. These types of accidents occur most often when:
- Drivers stopped at a red light are distracted and fail to see that the light has changed.
- Drivers approaching a red light at an intersection anticipate a green light, but the vehicle in front of them remains stopped.
- Drivers approaching a yellow light at an intersection speed up in an effort to “beat” the red light, but the car traveling in front of them stops.
These accidents tend to be the least serious. However, they can still cause significant harm, most notably traumatic brain injuries and whiplash.
Intersection accidents are incredibly common. In fact, roughly 2 out of every 5 car accidents take place at or near an intersection. Many of these red and yellow light accidents are fatal. In Pennsylvania, there are between 22 and 23 fatal crashes at intersections every month. Many times, these are a consequence of aggressive and distracted driving practices.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Philadelphia
There are a lot of different factors that can contribute to a car accident in Philadelphia. Sometimes an accident happens for one singular reason. More often, there is a multitude of reasons an accident and injuries occur. These are some of the most commonly reported causes of car accidents and injuries in Philadelphia County.
Philadelphia has speed limits for a reason. Unfortunately, not everyone complies with the rules of the road. Many drivers are in a hurry, especially after sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic somewhere in the city. So, they hit the gas and exceed the posted speed limit.
Speeding contributes to a significant number of crashes every year. In fact, nationwide, speed is a factor in more than 25 percent of car accidents across the nation. The figure is even higher – roughly 32 percent – for fatal crashes.
Speeding is particularly dangerous because it’s much easier to lose control of a vehicle at high speeds. When you’re speeding, it takes longer to come to a complete stop, especially in bad weather. It also becomes more challenging to navigate the curves in the road, like those on Kelly Drive.
Studies suggest that you can decrease the likelihood of an accident by 2 or 3 percent for every 1 km/h slower you drive.
Distracted driving is believed to be more dangerous than drunk driving. In fact, one study revealed that sending a text while driving reduces your reaction time by 37 percent. Compare that to the 13 percent decline in reaction time when you’re under the influence. Of course, texting and driving isn’t the only way drivers are distracted. Common types of distractions include:
- Dialing or talking on the phone
- Eating or drinking
- Talking with passengers
- Turning around to look at children in the backseat
- Using a GPS system
- Applying makeup
- Smoking, and
Any distraction can increase the risk of an accident. In 2018, at least 629 car accidents in Philadelphia County were attributed to distracted driving practices.
Impaired or Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is incredibly dangerous. Reaction time decreases and you’re more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel. However, some people take the risk, anyway, putting themselves and others at risk. Drunk drivers caused nearly as many accidents as distracted drivers in 2018, with a total of 582.
After a long day at work or a night out celebrating, it might be best to think twice before getting behind the wheel. Fatigued driving – or drowsy driving – is a factor in many traffic accidents. In 2017, fatigued driving resulted in 795 car accident fatalities and thousands of injuries. When a driver is fatigued behind the wheel, the effects can be the same as if they were impaired or distracted. Cognition suffers, as do reaction times.
When you study for your driver’s license test, you learn that there’s a certain amount of space that should be left between vehicles at all times. It’s based on the size of the vehicle and how fast traffic is moving. This is to allow drivers to maintain a safe stopping distance if traffic stops suddenly or there’s an emergency. However, many drivers ignore this and follow other vehicles way too closely. When a driver is tailgating another vehicle, they often don’t have time to stop before crashing into the rear of the vehicle.
Driving at Night
The number of car accidents tends to surge at certain times. This includes both morning and evening rush hours. However, crashes also tend to peak after dark, often in the late evening and early morning. Why? It’s harder to see, especially when drivers are navigating dark colored vehicles. Drivers are also more likely to be under the influence of alcohol or tired.
Failing to Yield the Right of Way
Not knowing the rules of the road in Philadelphia contributes to many traffic accidents every year. It appears as though many drivers (and bicyclists and pedestrians) aren’t really sure about who has the right of way, and when. In turn, commuters assume they can continue moving forward, despite the fact that they’re really supposed to wait for other travelers to pass by.
Unsafe or Illegal Turns
Intersections are particularly dangerous. This is where cars traveling in different directions meet. This is where vehicles will change directions. This is where pedestrians and bicyclists are most likely to be in the road. So, there are a lot of moving parts. Unless everyone uses extra caution, especially while making turns, accidents happen.
Many accidents are the result of unsafe left-hand turns. This tends to happen when a driver fails to judge oncoming traffic properly and executes a dangerous turn. If a vehicle is approaching faster than anticipated, a collision could be inevitable.
Other accidents are the consequence of an illegal right-hand turn. Many intersections in Philly prohibit drivers from making a right-hand turn on red. However, some drivers turn, anyway, failing to see pedestrians in the crosswalk or bicyclists waiting on the corner.
Defective Vehicles or Equipment
Negligent drivers aren’t always responsible for car accidents. Sometimes the equipment fails or is inherently unsafe. For instance, several airbag systems have been identified as being defective because they either (a) explode or (b) fail to deploy during a collision. Either of these events could easily cause an accident to happen or leave victims with serious injuries.
When a vehicle or piece of equipment is defective, the company that designed, manufactured, or sold it could potentially be on the hook for resulting damages.
Drivers have a responsibility to make sure their vehicles are in safe working condition. So do employers, transit companies, and government agencies. How? Keeping up to date on inspections and maintenance. By addressing problems as soon as they arise. When a driver or owner fails to maintain their vehicle properly, accidents can happen.
Hazardous or Dangerous Road Conditions
Philadelphia has some of the most heavily traveled roads in the nation. The constant traffic can – and does – cause a lot of wear and tear. This can cause the quality of the roads and highways to decline. Potholes, for example, are a serious issue all across the city. Ogontz Avenue, Washington Avenue, and Callowhill Street are particularly well-known for being tough to navigate. If a car tire hits a pothole, it’s easy for the driver to lose control and crash. If the government agency in charge of road maintenance and care knew or should have known about the issue, it could potentially be liable for resulting harm.
Unrestrained Drivers and Passengers
Not wearing a seatbelt might not cause an accident, but it can make the consequences of a collision much, much worse. According to the NHTSA, 37,133 people were killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2017. Nearly half of the victims – 47 percent – weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of their fatal collision. It’s estimated that seatbelts could have saved more than 2,500 lives that year.
Seatbelts don’t just reduce the risk of death, they also reduce the risk of injury. In 2015, at least 1,422 people were injured in car accidents in Philadelphia County because they were unrestrained at the time of their accident.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident and share little-to-none of the blame, you might be entitled to compensation. Our attorneys can help you fight to maximize your award. Call our office to learn more today.
Who’s Responsible For My Injuries After a Car Accident?
Car accidents happen every day in Philadelphia. It’s no surprise, given how congested city roads and highways tend to be. When a motor vehicle accident happens, whether you’re on I-76 or Chestnut Street, it’s probably because someone was negligent. In Pennsylvania, anyone who is negligent can be financially responsible for resulting injuries and damages.
You might have a legitimate claim against a:
- Driver of another passenger vehicle
- Bus driver
- Negligent party’s employer
- Government agency responsible for road maintenance
- Company that sold a defective vehicle or piece of equipment.
You deserve to know who caused you to get hurt. That’s why our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys will thoroughly analyze the circumstances surrounding your accident. We’ll do our best to figure out the cause(s) and identify everyone who is liable for your injuries.
Can I Get Money If I’m Blamed For a Car Accident?
It depends. Anyone who contributes to an accident can be liable for resulting damages. This also includes victims like you who got hurt in the crash. Can you still recover compensation if you’re partly to blame? Possibly. Pennsylvania, like many others, is a comparative fault state.
Under Pennsylvania General Assembly Statute Section 7102, you’re not automatically barred from recovering compensation just because you played a role in causing your accident.
You can seek compensation as long as you’re no more than 50 percent to blame. In other words, someone else (or several other people) have to be primarily responsible for your car accident.
If you do share fault, it will affect the amount of money you can ultimately recover. Your damages will be reduced by however much fault is allocated to you. For example, your damages would be reduced by 50 percent if you were allocated 50 percent of the blame.
Insurance companies and others involved in your accident will try to shift as much of the blame for the crash to you as possible. Don’t let them. If their tactics are successful, it could significantly reduce the amount of money you’re able to get.
It could even prevent you from getting money, at all, if they can persuade a court to believe that you’re primarily at fault.
For more than three decades, our attorneys have been handling complex car crash cases. We know what steps must be taken to protect you and your ability to get the money you need. Call us for immediate assistance after a crash.
How Will Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Insurance Rules Affect My Case?
Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” state when it comes to accidents. Anyone who owns a motor vehicle in the state has to purchase minimum amounts of car insurance. When you’re in an accident, this coverage will be the primary source of compensation if you get hurt.
Under the state’s no-fault rules, you have to look to your own insurer for compensation, regardless of who’s at fault for the accident.
Your insurance provider will only pay up to your policy limits. If you’ve purchased the minimum required by the state, this means you only have $15,000 in coverage for bodily injury and $5,000 in coverage for property damage. The average cost of a car accident, without any debilitating or catastrophic injuries, is much greater.
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
So, what happens when your injuries and damages exceed what your car insurance company will pay? Under Pennsylvania law, it depends on whether you chose the “full tort” or “limited tort” option when you bought your car insurance policy.
If you opted for “full tort,” there are no restrictions on filing a lawsuit against a negligent party to recover additional compensation. All damages, including those for pain and suffering, would be available.
If you chose the less-expensive “limited tort” option, you could only file a lawsuit if you’ve suffered severe impairment of function, a permanent disability, disfigurement, or death. Even then, you wouldn’t be entitled to damages for certain non-economic damages, including those for emotional distress or chronic pain.
We understand that you’ve got a lot on your plate right now. You’re dealing with a painful injury and trying to make ends meet. The added stress of trying to figure out how to get money for your injuries can make things worse.
Let the attorneys at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC help. We’ll assess your situation and do everything we can to get you maximum compensation.
Understanding Insurance Company Tactics When Handling a Car Accident Claim
Here’s one thing you absolutely must know if you’ve been injured in a car accident in Philadelphia: insurance companies aren’t your friends. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They’re interested in making money. They don’t make money when they approve claims and pay benefits to injury victims like you. So, from an insurer’s perspective, it’s really important to find a way to deny a claim or, at the very least, limit how much a claim is worth.
Insurance companies rely on a number of different tactics when handling car accident insurance claims. These include:
Refusing to Accept Responsibility and Blaming You Instead: Insurance companies might deny your claim and justify the decision by saying that the accident was your fault. They might argue that liability is unclear and that there’s no substantial evidence to show that their insured driver is at fault.
Offering a Quick Lowball Settlement With Strings: It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to contact crash victims shortly after an accident with an offer. However, this typically happens when the insurer believes that the victim has a slam dunk and high-value case. So, rather than wait for you to get a lawyer involved, they’ll jump in and offer you money to make your claim go away. These offers might be for much less than your case is really worth. They won’t give you much time to think about the offer, either. They’ll give you a limited amount of time to offer and scare you by telling you it’s the best and only offer you’ll receive.
Contacting You Shortly After a Crash and Asking For a Recorded Statement: If an insurance adjuster calls you after an accident, you might want to think twice before answering. Many times, the company calls to fish for information that can be used as a basis for denying or devaluing your injury claim. In fact, the adjuster might even ask for a recorded statement. Never, under any circumstances, agree to this unless you’ve already consulted with your lawyer. The company will undoubtedly try to manipulate your words and use them against you down the line.
Asking You to Sign a Blank Medical Authorization Form: Insurers just want you to sign a medical authorization form so that they can get copies of bills related to your accident, right? Wrong. When you sign a waiver and give the insurer access to your unabridged medical history, you should expect for them to scour your records in search of anything that could potentially be used to deny your request for benefits. They’ll point to prior injuries, complaints of pain, medication, and anything else that could potentially explain your crash-related injuries – whether they’re related or not.
Drawing Out the Claims Process: Legally, insurance companies have to respond to your claim in a timely manner. However, many companies have developed strategies that extend the amount of time it takes to process, investigate, analyze a claim for benefits. Companies have added a lot of red tape and, many times, require claimants to complete a mountain of paperwork while jumping through ridiculous hoops. The hope is that you’ll get frustrated and give up before the company pays you a dime.
Identifying Bad Faith Insurance Practices
We mentioned that insurance companies have a legal obligation when it comes to processing claims. That’s because, under Pennsylvania state law, insurers have legal duty to act in good faith.
So, when an insurer receives a claim it has to hold up its end of the bargain under the insurance policy, which happens to be a private contract. In very simple terms, insurers must take the claim seriously and pay up, when necessary. An insurer might be considered to be engaging in bad faith practices if it doesn’t. Bad faith might include:
- Not responding to a claimant in a timely manner, or at all
- Denying a claim for benefits – in full or in part – right off the bat without an investigation or any justification
- Investigating a claim with bias, or
- Unnecessarily extending the amount of time it takes to pay a claimant once a settlement has been reached.
It doesn’t’ matter whether you’re dealing with your insurance company (“first-party claim”) or another person’s insurer (“third-party claim”). When an insurance company receives a legitimate claim for damages on a valid policy, it has to consider that request in good faith. Too many times, however, insurers hope crash victims won’t pay attention or won’t put up a fight. So, they engage in practices that are, at the very least, somewhere in the grey area between good faith and bad faith practices.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself by having an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer on your side. When you get the attorneys at Zavodnick, Zavodnick, & Lasky, LLC involved, we’ll go head-to-head with any insurance companies involved in your case. We won’t stand for any bad faith practices or deceptive strategies. Instead, we’ll force them to play by the rules and give your case the time and attention it deserves.
What is My Car Accident Case Worth?
There’s no hard and fast answer. Every crash is different. All victims are different. There are a lot of different factors that can influence what a claim is worth.
First, however, it’s important to know that, following an accident, you can potentially be entitled to two different types of compensatory damages. These are called economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are paid to compensate you for the financial costs and expenses that are related to your car accident. Receiving an award of economic damages should ideally put you back in the financial position you were in before the crash. In other words, financially speaking, it should be as if the accident never happened, at all.
Economic damages include:
- Present and future medical expenses (e.g., an ambulance ride, hospitalization, surgery, medication, medical devices or equipment)
- Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or other types of rehabilitation
- The cost of replacing or repairing damaged property
- Income and wages you’ve lost while recovering from your injury
- Temporary and/or permanent disability, and
- Reduced earning capacity.
How are economic damages calculated? Some, including current medical bills, are fairly straightforward because you’ll have itemized bills and receipts.
Others, such as damages to compensate for your reduced earning capacity, will require a little bit more legwork. Why? Let’s look at reduced earning capacity refers, for example. This refers to income you’ll lose out on because your injury interferes with your ability to work. This could be due to the fact that you might not be able to work at the same capacity or you might have to find a new line of work, altogether.
Either way, your ability to generate income is reduced. You can be compensated for the difference in what you would have earned and what you probably will earn. Projecting what you would have earned can be challenging. It will involve expert testimony, a review of your earnings history, and educated projections about what your income might have looked like in the future. Would your earnings have remained the same? Would have likely gotten a promotion and, in turn, a raise? These are all questions that will have to be addressed when calculating these types of damages.
You can also request to recover non-economic damages that you experience because of your car accident. Non-economic damages are paid to compensate for consequences that are subjective. They don’t necessarily have a set monetary value. In fact, the value of these types of damages often varies based on the severity of the accident and the victims themselves. The way a car accident affects you might be very different from how a crash affects someone else.
Non-economic damages can include:
- Emotional distress (e.g., PTSD, depression, anxiety)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
So, how are these types of damages calculated? Insurance companies rely on formulas and calculations. Many times, non-economic damages are calculated after economic damages using a factor. This means that the economic damages are multiplied by a number, often anywhere between 1 and 5. The more serious the accident and injuries, the higher the multiplier. The sum becomes the non-economic award.
For example, let’s say that you suffer a few broken bones and a mild brain injury in an accident. Your economic damages equal $20,000. The insurance company determines that a multiplier of 2 is appropriate. So, they multiply $20,000 by 2 to arrive at $40,000. Your total recovery would be $60,000: $20,000 in economic damages and $40,00 in non-economic damages.
If, on the other hand, you became paralyzed because of your accident and experienced significant emotional distress, the insurer might use a multiplier of 4 or 5. In turn, your non-economic award (and total recovery) would be calculated to be much higher.
Insurance companies don’t have the final say in what your case is worth. These calculations don’t take a lot of factors into account or consideration. The process is designed to minimize the amount of money you get, not to make sure that you are compensated in full. So, our attorneys will work diligently to value your case independently. We’ll consult with experts so that we can fully understand the extent and impact of your injuries. When we sit down to negotiate with insurers, we’ll be armed with facts, expert-supported information, and the best arguments to maximize your recovery.
What About Punitive Damages?
Compensatory awards tend to account for all of the damages paid in most personal injury cases in Philadelphia. However, there are times when an award of punitive damages might be appropriate. Punitive damages are paid in addition to compensatory damages. Their sole purpose is to punish the defendant for their conduct. So, there are only very limited instances when punitive damages will be appropriate.
In Pennsylvania, you could be entitled to an award of punitive damages if the person who caused you to get hurt engaged in conduct that was extreme and outrageous or willful and wanton. That person must have acted with an evil motive or reckless indifference to others.
It’s important to note that punitive damages are awarded for only the most serious cases. So, they are typically the exception, rather than the rule.
We Handle All Car Accident Cases
Our attorneys understand that any car accident injury can be devastating. Getting the money you deserve can mean the difference between a full recovery and lifelong pain.
That’s why we’ll help you demand money for all of your injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Crushing injury
- Chest injury
- Eye injury
- Sprains, strains, bruises, and other soft tissue damage
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Wrongful death, and more.
Contact our personal injury law firm to schedule your free consultation. We understand if you can’t make it into the office to talk to us about your case. If this happens, we’ll come to you. Our attorneys can come ot your home, place of work, or even the hospital while you recover. We’re here to help. All you have to do is give us a quick call. It’s that simple.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Philadelphia?
Getting into an accident can be very jarring. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the steps you take immediately following a crash can be critical to your health and your ability to recover compensation. Here’s what you need to know.
Move to Safety. If you’re not severely injured, be sure to move to safety as soon as you can after an accident. If you can’t move your car because it’s not driveable, just leave it where it is. The important thing is that you move somewhere safe. Oncoming drivers might not see the wreck ahead of them and, in turn, slam into your car. You don’t want to be anywhere nearby if and when that happens.
Call the Police. Do not leave the scene of the accident before you’ve called the police to report your accident. Ask to have an officer sent out to write up a police report. That report could play a very important role in any future legal claims you decide to pursue. Officers will document details that might be forgotten or lost over time, such as traffic or weather conditions. The officer might even write down a preliminary assessment of fault. Your attorney can rely on this report when they conduct a thorough investigation into your crash down the line.
Don’t Apologize or Admit Fault: It might feel necessary to apologize after a crash, especially if you believe that you’re responsible. However, it’s wise to keep your statements and comments to yourself. While you think you might know why the collision occurred, you can never really be certain until it’s investigated thoroughly. For all you know the other driver could have fallen asleep at the wheel. Or, someone’s brakes might have failed, preventing them from crashing into you.
If you apologize, other parties and insurance companies will attempt to use that as a reason to deny responsibility. If you apologize, your crash might never be subjected to the independent investigation it deserves. In turn, you might never learn that you weren’t totally or partially to blame, at all.
See a Doctor. Don’t skip a trip to the doctor. You might have sustained internal injuries that could pose a serious threat to your health. Even if you haven’t, you’ll want to make sure that all of your injuries are documented as soon as possible. This can make it easier to prove a causal link between your accident and injuries, which might be vital to a financial recovery.
Resist the Urge to Talk About the Accident. Insurance companies might contact you shortly after your accident. However, the best course of action is to avoid these conversations. Insurers will contact you for one of two reasons – to scare you into accepting a lowball offer or to search for any reason to deny your claim. The only person with whom you should discuss your accident is your attorney.
Direct All Communication to Your Lawyer. Insurers might try to reach out to you shortly after an accident with a settlement offer. This is particularly true if they think that their insured client is at fault. However, this offer is almost certainly for much less money than your case is worth. Accepting it could do more harm than good. The best thing you can do is direct any communication to your Philadelphia personal injury lawyer.
When Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?
We know things are tough right now. It can take a while to get back your feet after an unexpected crash. Even then, you might still feel the effects of your accident. However, we urge you to assert your right to get compensation as soon as you can. You risk losing out on valuable money if you wait too long.
Insurance providers in Pennsylvania reserve the right to deny your claim if you don’t:
- Notify them shortly after you get hurt, AND
- Submit a personal injury claim for damages within a “reasonable” amount of time after your accident.
Each company is different, so it’s best to act quickly. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the process and negotiate the claim on your behalf.
If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you must do so before the applicable statute of limitations expires. In Pennsylvania, you’ll have to file your claim within two years of the date of your accident.
Not sure how long you have to ask for the money you need and deserve? The attorneys at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC are here to help. All you have to do is give us a call after your accident. It’s that easy.
Call Our Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers For Help
Car accidents happen every day in Philadelphia. If you get hurt because someone else was in a rush or not paying attention, you might be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC have more than 30 years of experience helping injured car accident victims in and around Philadelphia.
Contact our law office to find out how we can help you, too. Your first consultation is free, so call to schedule yours today.
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