Car accidents are a common occurrence that can come with a great deal of financial and emotional loss. Naturally, your first instinct is to file an insurance claim to recoup some of your losses. While this is a wise step, you can’t help but wonder, ‘is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident claim in PA?’
When you are the victim of a car accident, whether or not you hire an attorney is not answered with a simple yes or no. However, a basic rule of thumb would be to contact a car accident lawyer if, at any time, you do not feel comfortable managing your matter on your own behalf.
Let’s proceed to look at how an attorney can help you throughout the process.
How can an attorney help you?
A Philly car accident lawyer is especially helpful if you’ve sustained extensive damages. The attorney will answer any questions you might have, deal with the insurance companies involved, discuss your legal options, and keep you updated throughout the case.
The liable party needs to pay for losses incurred as a result of their negligence on the road. To prove that you’ve suffered as a result of the accident, the attorney may:
- Collect testimonies from witnesses
- Obtain police reports detailing the occurrence of the accident
- Enroll the help of specialists for testimony and accident reconstruction
- Speak to your doctor to get recent medical records
- Talk to the insurance company on your behalf
- Calculate total damages, including wages lost, pain, suffering, and damages that may be difficult to define
If your insurance company tries to present a lowball settlement, the attorney will discuss with you your further options and whether to continue negotiations.
Large insurance companies have boardrooms full of experienced attorneys ready to handle the claim you present. As such, it’s unwise to try and face them without an experienced auto accident attorney on your side.
What Compensation Can an Attorney Help You Receive?
The reason attorneys can accurately calculate compensation and negotiate for a fair insurance settlement is that they know every cost to factor in, including but not limited to:
- Cost of physical therapy
- Current and future medical costs
- Cost of mobility devices and medical accessories
- Household help
- Awards for the loss of life enjoyment
- Awards for your pain and suffering (both physical and emotional)
The list isn’t exhaustive since it varies depending on the case. However, an accident attorney can offer sound advice on compensations that apply to you after careful evaluation.
What Mistakes Can Hurt Your Car Accident Claim?
Below are some mistakes to avoid.
Making mistakes on forms
When filing No-Fault claims, you may include the medical care received and any necessary household services. To receive fair reimbursement for these services, you’ll need to fill the forms accurately. If the information you provide is inaccurate, you might lose every penny you are entitled to. It doesn’t matter if it’s an innocent mistake or not.
Discussing your case
In certain situations, defense attorneys or insurance adjusters hired to investigate your insurance claim may get in touch with you and try to get some information. You shouldn’t engage them. If you speak to anyone representing the insurance company or the driver at fault, you might divulge information that hurts your case. If anyone needs information, let them contact your car accident attorney.
Beware of what you post online
We spend a lot of time on social media platforms, either for work or fun. Whichever the case, refrain from sharing images, videos, or sentiments about the accident online. Defense attorneys and insurance adjusters will investigate your social media accounts to try and get something that could work in their favor. They’ll try to show your injuries aren’t as harsh as you claim.
As such, it’s advisable to stay off social media until your case is finalized. This way, you don’t risk having your social media presence used against you.
Skipping the doctor’s appointment
Following an accident, you should seek medical care if you are injured. The doctor will determine the extent of your injuries and their implications on the quality of your life. Not seeing a doctor can be interpreted as not being hurt as badly as you claim or that you don’t take the accident seriously.
To be taken seriously, you need to show everyone you are taking steps to get better. Attending your doctor’s appointment is a key part of the process.
Disposing of evidence of injury
As part of your car accident claim, take photographs of scars or bruising. Keep records of any medications, prescriptions, cast, braces, and billings from the hospital or doctors.
In these situations, videos are often helpful in showing insurance adjusters and defense attorneys the extent of your injuries. It’s also wise to take photos and videos of your damaged car. Crash repair estimates do not show the actual and extent of damage to your vehicle.
How long do you have to file a claim after a car accident?
According to Pennsylvania law, you generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for resulting injuries or property damage.
A claim to the insurance company following an accident provides them with a notice of damages and injuries sustained. The company will review a demand for damages and make an offer for compensation. On the other hand, a lawsuit is a civil case that would be filed in the courts.
You should file the claim immediately or well within the two years. This way, if there are any delays or the insurance company denies your claim for injuries and damages or presents a low settlement, you can still file a lawsuit.
How long does an insurance company have to settle a claim?
The time taken depends on the severity and extent of the accident, damages, and injuries. There is not specific time period in which the insurance company to respond to a demand for damages. However, if a timely response is not received from the insurance company, the attorney will discuss with you the options move the matter forward.
If you’ve been in a car accident in Philadelphia, you should immediately seek medical attention and get in touch with Steven L. Chung, Esquire. He will discuss with you your options to file a claim and begin to recover losses from lost wages, damages, injury, pain, and suffering. Call today for your free consultation.