After a car accident, you will probably be wondering how to best recover from your damages. It is often beneficial to hire an attorney to represent you, especially if you meet certain criteria. In this blog post, we will review some common scenarios where consulting an attorney may be in your best interest.
Criteria for hiring a car accident attorney
While some people choose to handle car accident cases alone, it is usually wise to contact an attorney. Anyone can benefit from contacting an attorney after an accident, but it is especially imperative after suffering from serious injuries. Victims may also benefit from contacting an attorney if the insurance company wrongfully finds them at fault or delays payment.
Many people suffer serious injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and paralysis from car accidents. Under Pennsylvania law, people who are seriously injured in car accidents are eligible for economic and non-economic damages. Hiring an attorney helps people receive non-economic damages for pain and suffering, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and more.
Inaccuracies assigning fault
Pennsylvania follows the rule of modified comparative fault in car accidents. The police report might assign responsibility to one or more drivers, and then the insurance company determines the percentage of fault for each person. The driver with a lower degree of fault can collect damages, but the amount is reduced based on their fault. For instance, if a victim is 40% at fault and wins a judgment of $100,000, the amount will be reduced by 40%. That means the victim will only receive $60,000.
People found to be at some degree of fault even when they followed the driving laws should hire a car accident attorney. The attorney will investigate the accident to determine if the driver should bear any of the responsibility. If the driver was not at fault, the attorney may be able to gather evidence to prove the case. This can increase the amount of the award.
If a minor injury or a small amount of property damage occurs, a driver might work directly with the insurance company. Once a settlement is reached, the insurance company should remit the payment immediately. However, if the insurance company drags its feet and fails to send the payment, it is time to get an attorney. The attorney can contact the insurance company to expedite the process.
Hiring a car accident attorney
If you have been seriously injured, unfairly assigned a degree of fault, or find yourself fighting with the insurance company to release your payment, hire a car accident attorney immediately. Your attorney will represent your interests so that you can reach a fair and timely settlement. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident, so act quickly. The faster you file your claim, the sooner you can recover damages.
Contact us here 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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