A Pennsylvania car accident lawyer can help you navigate the state’s complex personal injury laws. Pennsylvania is a “choice no-fault” automobile insurance state, meaning that drivers can choose fault or no-fault insurance. The coverage selected impacts the recoverable damages. An attorney will work with you to help you recover damages, regardless of the insurance you have.
No-fault, or limited tort insurance, allows people to recover economic damages. In order to recover non-economic damages, an injury threshold must be met. With fault insurance, victims are eligible for non-economic and economic damages. A car accident lawyer takes several steps to help victims recover economic and non-economic damages.
Proving liability is generally the first step a car accident lawyer takes. Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state, meaning that both parties can share some of the fault. An attorney investigates the accident to establish negligence. Also, if the opposing attorney determines the victim was at fault, the car accident attorney can counteract that claim with additional evidence. Liability is important for recovering economic and non-economic damages.
Medical expenses add up when people are injured. Attorneys look beyond current medical expenses and help clients recover money for future bills as well. In order to do this, attorneys must talk with doctors who are trained to treat the types of injuries the clients have. The doctors can estimate the costs, and then the attorneys can add that to the claim.
An automobile accident can make it impossible for some people to work while limiting the earning potential of others. Attorneys pour over medical records to determine if or when victims can return to work. Then, they analyze wage statements and tax returns to calculate future lost wages. This is more involved for people who are self-employed, but the attorney can still determine an amount.
Some accident victims are also eligible for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. Pennsylvania does not have a formula for non-economic damages. Instead, most attorneys multiply the economic damages to calculate the non-economic damages. Often, they multiply the number by two to reach an amount.
Victims with no-fault insurance who are seriously injured also might be eligible for non-economic damages. According to state law, serious injury is defined as permanent and significant disfigurement, serious impairment of a vital bodily function or death. Also, victims can recover non-economic damages if the driver of the other vehicle was impaired when the accident occurred. The attorney must thoroughly investigate the accident and injury to recover these damages for victims with no-fault insurance.
Lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies to reach a settlement. They present the case to the insurance company and attempt to reach an agreement. However, if the case does not settle, attorneys can take it to court. Then, the jury can determine the damages.
You lost quite a bit when you were in an automobile accident. Now, you want to be made whole again. Speak to a car accident attorney to go over your options. During your consultation, you will find out if you are eligible for economic and non-economic damages.
Call us for more information from Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law or to schedule a consultation in our office in Pittsburgh.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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