Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are common on roads and highways and can have serious consequences for those involved. They can cause physical injuries, property damage, and the unfortunate loss of life. In some cases, liability is clear, whereas, in others, it may be challenging.
The Law Offices of Samuel Fishman can help you protect your rights and recoup full and fair compensation from a liable party. If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident, an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer can help. They often have represented many car accident cases and have the knowledge and experience to help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Should You Do After A Car Accident
What you do after a car crash can be essential if you later decide to file a claim for your injuries, damage to your vehicle, and other losses. The following steps may also be needed to protect your rights and ensure the safety of others after a crash.
7 steps to take after a car accident
- Check your injuries and other passengers: In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it is important to ensure that you and your passengers are safe. If anyone is injured, you may need to call emergency medical services.
- Make medical appointments: Going for a medical checkup after a car accident can also be vital. Some injuries aren’t always apparent right away and can take weeks or months to begin showing symptoms. Setting up a medical visit can also give you a better sense of how long it might take to recover from your injuries.
- File and request a copy of a police report: A police report can be essential if you decide to file a claim. They often contain a detailed description of the crash. Furthermore, authorities will sometimes note which driver was at fault for the crash and issue citations for any laws they are suspected of violating. Your insurance company may use this information when determining whether you were at any fault.
- Call your insurance company: Whether you were at fault or not in a car accident, it may be necessary to contact your insurance company about a crash and notify them about any damage or injuries.
- Exchange information: Exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers involved in the accident. Although insurance information is required to be up-to-date, it’s important to make sure that the other party’s information, such as their address and phone number and insured vehicle, is accurate.
- Keep track of your expenses: Keeping track of your expenses, including medical bills, pay stubs that show you missed work, and mechanic bills that are related to your accident can help if you receive compensation if you file a claim.
- Contact an attorney: If you have been injured in a car accident, hiring an experienced attorney can also be an important step. They can provide legal advice and offer you guidance on how you may want to proceed.
When To Hire A Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
When you are involved in a car accident, the aftermath can be challenging. You may have suffered serious and life-altering injuries or are facing expensive repairs for damages. Having a professional on your side can help make the legal process easier. This is especially true for those who were injured due to another driver’s negligence and are left with costly medical bills and other expenses.
A car accident can lead to serious injury or even death for anyone who is involved in the crash, and Philadelphia car accident attorneys can assist those who have experienced loss. They possess an understanding of the Pennsylvania laws related to car accidents and can give you options as to which actions can be taken to recover damages.
If an insurance company denies your claim, it may be possible to file a new claim to try again. However, it is important to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and information before submitting a new claim to avoid making the same mistakes that may have led to the initial rejection.
An experienced accident lawyer may be able to assist you with this process by reviewing your claim and helping you fill in the correct information in the first instance. They can also help identify any potential issues with your claim that may have led to the rejection and advise you on how to address these issues. In some cases, an appeal may be necessary if your claim is denied a second time.
It’s important to note that the rules and procedures for filing insurance claims can vary depending on the insurance company, the type of claim, and the specific circumstances. Therefore, it may be necessary to seek the advice of an attorney or other legal professional who is familiar with the relevant laws and regulations in your area.
What Are The Common Types Of Philadelphia Car Accident?
In Philadelphia, many different types of car accidents occur. Although each has its own set of unique circumstances, here are a few common types of crashes.
11 Common types of car accidents are:
- Rear-end collisions
- Side-impact collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Texting while driving
- Single-vehicle accidents
- Multi-vehicle accidents
- Blind spot collisions
- Low-speed crashes
- Merging accidents
One of the most common car collisions is when someone is rear-ended. As you might expect, they happen when the front of one vehicle collides with the back of another vehicle. There can be several factors that lead to rear-end accidents, including inattentive or distracted driving, intoxicated driving, and the inability to stop due to inclement weather. Rear-end collisions can also happen due to the following reasons:
- A distracted driver fails to see a red light and does not stop
- A driver approaches an intersection and anticipates a green light when another vehicle is stopped for a red light
- A driver speeds up at yellow light, but the car in front of them has already stopped
Side-impact collisions happen when a vehicle collides with another vehicle’s front or rear end. These are also known as T-bone collisions or right- or left-impact collisions. Side impact collisions can be dangerous because drivers are often unaware of approaching vehicles that may be unable to stop in time. Therefore, they can cause severe and potentially life-threatening injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), side-impact collisions have become the second leading cause of fatalities and debilitating injuries in auto accidents. These accidents are dangerous due to the absence of deep metal structures between the vehicle being impacted and the occupant.
Due to this, the door can collapse into the driver or the passengers at a high speed. The impact of the side impact collisions can depend on multiple factors such as location, speed, and the size of the vehicle.
Head-on collisions are one of the most dangerous types of crashes. These happen when the front ends of two vehicles collide in traffic and hit each other in the opposite direction. Some causes of head-on collisions are distracted driving, passing improperly, reckless driving, and others. Because of the immense force generated by these crashes, they can result in devastating injuries and fatalities.
Rollover accidents happen when one vehicle overturns by 90 degrees on its side. Due to the impact loss of control the driver experiences, a rollover may result in the tumbling of the vehicle more than once.
People who have been injured in a rollover car accident may have to face hefty medical and vehicle repair expenses. SUVs are more susceptible to rollover crashes because they have a higher center of gravity and narrower track width compared to passenger cars. Drivers are also more likely to overcorrect when they believe they’ve lost control of their SUV, which can lead to rollovers.
A 2019 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report showed that fatalities caused due to SUVs were highest at 41%, followed by pickups at 38%. Crashes that led to fatal injuries involving vans were 25% followed by 20% of those involving cars.
A sideswipe accident is a collision caused by vehicles traveling in a similar direction. In addition, in this accident, the left side of the vehicle collides with the left side of another vehicle. These accidents typically happen when a driver cannot judge the speed and position relative to another vehicle.
Texting while driving:
As people are surrounded by technology, and cell phones, the probability of accidents increases. When a driver loses focus and uses their phone while driving, it may lead to a serious accident and endangers the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
A single-vehicle collision is a crash that involves only one vehicle. This can include when a vehicle collides with something such as debris, animals, or road barriers. It can also include when a vehicle runs off the road and crashes. Despite not involving other motorists, single-vehicle crashes can still cause serious injuries to the driver and their passengers.
These types of accidents involve three or more vehicles. They usually occur on high-capacity or high-speed highways and roads. They are sometimes also referred to as pile-ups. Because several vehicles are often involved, these crashes can lead to multiple injuries and fatalities.
Blind spot collisions:
A blind spot collision is another type of car accident that happens when a vehicle strikes another that is located in the driver’s “blind spot.” This is an area around the vehicle that is not visible to the driver in the side and rearview mirrors.
Blind spot collisions frequently happen when drivers change lanes without checking their blind spot or when they fail to see another vehicle that is driving in their blind spot. This type of accident can be particularly dangerous because the driver who is struck may not have had time to react and avoid the collision.
Low-speed accidents are those that occur when vehicles travel at a relatively low speed, typically around 10 to 15 MPH. Even at low speeds, these types of crashes can still result in damage to the vehicles involved, as well as injuries to the drivers and passengers. It is possible that the force of such a collision can cause whiplash, back injuries, or other soft tissue injuries.
These accidents occur when a vehicle is merging, and another vehicle approaching collides with that vehicle while trying to move into a lane. Merging accidents can lead to sideswipes and rear-end collisions.
A car crash can be an absolute nightmare. The physical pain, the emotional toll, the financial strain—all of these aspects can be difficult to recover from. You may think that you have no other option but to deal with it on your own, but consulting a Philadelphia car accident lawyer can provide you with potential solutions.
Common Causes Of Philadelphia Car Accidents
Most car accidents are caused by human error. Distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are among the leading causes of car accidents. Driving is a significant responsibility, yet, irresponsible behaviors can lead to serious accidents and injuries. Some of the most common behaviors may include:
- Violation of other traffic laws
- Careless and reckless driving
- Driving while impaired, including prescription medication
- Drowsy driving
Speeding is one of the most common reasons for car accidents. It’s not uncommon to share the road with drivers who knowingly or unknowingly drive faster than the speed limit, even if it causes no incidents. However, this is not always the case. Speeding increases the chance of losing control of a vehicle and increases the severity of any accidents that do occur. Reaction times are also slower when driving at high speeds, which can make it difficult to avoid an accident.
Violation of other traffic laws
Not following traffic rules can also lead to serious consequences. Nearly 40% of car crashes happen at intersections, according to NHTSA. Failure to stop at red lights or ignoring stop signs can lead to a collision with oncoming vehicles, as well as with pedestrians.
Tailgating, or following too closely, is another traffic rule that drivers don’t always follow. Pennsylvania requires drivers to maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles.
Careless driving is another major cause of car accidents. This can encompass many different actions, such as texting while driving, talking on the phone, or simply not paying attention to the road. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and focus on the task at hand when operating a vehicle. Any type of distraction can lead to catastrophic accidents.
Drowsy driving is also another common cause of car accidents. A widely cited National Sleep Foundation study showed that going 18 hours or longer without sleep impairs driving performance. In fact, at 18 hours, it had a similar impairment as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05%, just under the legal limit. However, after a person went 24 hours without sleep, their driving performance was similar to having a BAC of .10%, which is higher than the .08% BAC limit in Pennsylvania and in most other states.
Like consuming alcohol, fatigue can impair a driver’s reaction time, judgment, and ability to pay attention. This makes them more likely to cause or be involved in a car crash.
Types Of Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can cause catastrophic injuries that can be life-threatening. Some accidents can be severe while others can be minor. Even if the vehicles travel at low speeds, it can lead to injuries and disabilities. The following are some potential injuries from a car accident:
- Brain Injury: Brain injuries may involve blows to the head in which the brain is impacted along with the skull. Accidents may result in either mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injuries depending on the severity of the accident.
- Spinal cord injuries: Some accidents can cause mild bruising while others may cause severe injuries leading to paralysis and quadriplegia. These debilitating medical conditions may require lifetime care.
- Amputation: In some accidents, injured victims may even lose a limb.
- Internal injuries: These types of injuries are difficult to diagnose as they are unseen and may require immediate medical attention.
- Burn Injuries: Burn injuries may transform the victim’s life completely. These can be caused due to airbag burns or car fires and may cause serious damage to the skin.
- Lacerations: A laceration is a type of wound that happens when the skin is cut or torn open. In a car accident, this can be caused by sharp objects, such as glass or metal, or be the result of blunt trauma. These may require medical attention, including stitches or staples to heal the wound.
- Broken Bones: Fractured bones are one of the most common outcomes of car accidents when the victim gets hit by a steering wheel or other objects. Sometimes the force of an accident can cause bones to break. In moderate collisions, hand fractures and wrist fractures are also common.
In serious car crashes, fatalities are the ultimate consequence of vehicle accidents, which could lead you to seek justice through a wrongful death lawsuit. But even in crashes that don’t result in death, medical expenses can be hefty, and some may require long-term medical care for injuries they suffered in a car accident.
Car Accident Statistics in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is the fifth most populated city in the country. The city is also one of the most densely populated in the U.S. According to the United States Census Bureau, Philadelphia had a population density of 11,609 people per square mile in 2020, which is higher than the national average population density of 93 people per square mile. This in turn means more drivers and the potential for accidents.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), nearly 10,108 car crashes were reported in Philadelphia in 2020. That’s just more than 27 accidents each day. Historically, Philadelphia has the most car accidents in the state due to being the most populous city in the state.
The total percentage of accidents in Philadelphia that resulted in injury was 63%, according to PennDOT. When it came to fatal accidents in the state, 14.5% were within Philadelphia County.
The number of car accidents continues to increase most years. Northeast Philadelphia automobile accident lawyers reported that car accident cases have increased in recent years. This is partly attributed to distracted driving due to phones. Though Pennsalyviania has not adopted a so-called “hands-free” law, which bars the use of handheld devices, such as cell phones, while driving, the state General Assembly in 2011 made it illegal to write, read, and send text messages while driving.
Pennsylvania Historic Fatalities
According to data from NHTSA, we can see that traffic-related deaths have decreased in the past several years. Below are the average statewide traffic deaths, according to federal reports
- From 2010 to 2014, the average number of fatalities recorded was 1,265.
- From 2011 to 2015, the average yearly number of fatalities was 1,240.
- From 2012 to 2016, the average number was 1,221.
- From 2013 to 2017, yearly fatalities averaged 1,186.
- From 2014 to 2018, the average number was 1,182.
- From 2015 to 2019, average fatalities numbered 1,146.3.
Pennsylvania Historic Serious Injuries Statistics
Despite lower fatalities caused by auto accidents, the number of injuries reported following crashes has increased sharply in recent years across Pennsylvania, according to the NHTSA
- From 2010 to 2014, the average number of serious injuries recorded was 3,340.
- From 2011 to 2015, the annual average number of people who got severely injured was 3,235.
- Between 2012 to 2016, the annual average number of seriously injured was 3,434.
- From 2013 to 2017, the number of serious injuries averaged 3,588.
- From 2014 to 2018, annual reported serious injuries averaged 3,849.
- From 2015 to 2019, the average annual number of serious injuries recorded was 3971.2.
Pennsylvania Historic Fatalities Per 100 Million Vehicles Miles Traveled
According to NHTSA data, people appear to be driving less nationally. The agency measures this in Million Vehicles Miles Traveled (MVMT) every five years. The agency showed that MVMT has decreased in recent years.
From 2010 to 2014, the NHTSA noted that MVMT was 1.27. From 2011 to 2015, MVMT was reported to be at 1.242, slightly lower as compared to previous five-year data. Between 2012 to 2016, the reported MVMT was 1.22, slightly lower yet. From 2013 to 2017, the MVMT reported was 1.18, and it decreased further to 1.169 from 2014 to 2018. From 2015 to 2019, the observed MVMT was 1.121.
Pennsylvania Auto Accident Fatalities
In 2019, the percentage of total traffic fatalities were passenger car occupants was 34%. Light truck occupants accounted for 28% of fatalities, non-occupants comprised 20%, motorcycle accidents were 14%, and occupants of large trucks, buses, or other vehicles were 4% of deaths. The takeaway from these figures shows that the occupants of passenger cars make up more than one-third of all fatal crashes.
What Damages Can You Recover After a Car Accident?
Damages in personal injury claims can help restore compensation to those who have been hurt in a car accident. The types of damages or losses you can recover typically are within two areas: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages: Economic damages aim to compensate an injured victim for often specific monetary losses that can be assigned a dollar amount. For example, a $5,000 medical bill for a broken arm and a $5,000 auto repair bill may be among the damages a person seeks. Some other examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of future income
- The projected costs of future medical treatment
- Household or domestic expenses
- Property damage
Non-Economic Damages: Depending on the circumstances of a claim, a person who was injured may also pursue compensation for losses that cannot be estimated through monetary calculation. They are known as non-economic damages and can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Loss of personal enjoyment
- Loss of companionship or consortium
Punitive Damages: In some cases, victims may be awarded punitive damages. These are awarded when a judge or jury deems that a person’s actions were grossly negligent or malicious and serves to punish them for their actions. They are also enacted to deter this type of behavior from happening again. These monetary penalties are often paid in addition to other types of damages.
How Long After A Car Accident Can You Sue In Pennsylvania?
The statute of limitations for filing a civil claim after a car accident is two years from the time a person knew or should have known about their injuries. This also applies to claims involving medical malpractice, product liability, wrongful death, and other types of personal injury cases.
Claims against local or state government are generally shorter. For personal injury claims that involve city, county, or state government, you are required to file a notice that you intend to sue within six months.
If the time specified in the statute of limitations expires, then you may not be able to file a car accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court. There are, however, a narrow set of exemptions to the statute of limitations.
To avoid the time requirement from lapsing or to see if your case may fall into one of these exemptions, it is best to consult a Philadelphia car crash lawyer. They can help you understand whether you can file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident.
What Is Full Tort And Limited Tort Coverage?
In Pennsylvania, insurance companies provide full tort and limited tort coverage. You may have heard this referred to as “choice no-fault,” which means that drivers can choose between two types of coverage: full tort and limited tort.
With full tort, you have the right to sue the party at fault for all damages, including non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. However, in limited tort, you may not always be able to sue for pain and suffering. However, there are certain exceptions to this.
According to the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Responsibility Law 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 1705(d), certain exemptions apply when choosing a limited tort policy:
- If the driver who caused the accident was intoxicated, or if he or she agrees to participate in an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program, the limited tort policy does not apply.
- If an uninsured driver caused the accident, the injured victim will not be bound by limited tort insurance.
- If the vehicle that caused the accident was registered in another state, then limited tort does not apply.
- If the person who sustained injuries was a passenger on a bus, cab, Lyft, Uber, motorcycle, or any other rental vehicle then the injured victim is entitled to full tort coverage.
- If a bicyclist or pedestrian is injured by an automobile, then the injured person is not bound by a limited tort policy.
Despite these exceptions, it’s important to remember that every case is different. Exceptions can vary depending on the severity of the injuries.
Because the rules surrounding limited tort coverage and exemptions can be highly complex, it may be best to consult with an experienced lawyer to understand how they may apply to you.
What Are Uninsured And Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is additional insurance coverage given to people who are hurt in an accident due to the negligence of an uninsured or unidentified driver.
It is important to have uninsured motorist coverage because although it is against the law to drive without insurance in Pennsylvania, many people do. This type of insurance will cover your medical bills and other damages if an uninsured driver hits you.
Underinsured motorist coverage is for people hurt in a car accident by someone who does not have enough insurance to cover the victim’s medical costs. It is important to have this type of insurance because unfortunately, many people only purchase the minimum amount of insurance required by law. If you are hit by someone with the minimum insurance amount and your damages exceed their coverage, then your underinsured motorist coverage will pay for the difference.
Contact A Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney For Legal Help
With our resourceful and diligent team on your side, you can improve your chances for an outcome that fully and fairly compensates you for your losses following a car accident.
Call us today at (267) 744-4689 to schedule a free consultation with our Philadelphia car accident lawyers and learn how we can help you financially recover after an accident.
Car Accident Attorney in Philadelphia
Philadelphia Car Accident FAQ
Q. Can You Still Recover Damages If You Were Not Wearing A Seatbelt At The Time Of The Accident?
Yes, you can recover damages. When one party files a claim for economic damages, the other driver will get something known as seat belt defense. Furthermore, an individual may take precautionary measures by wearing a seat belt to avoid or reduce injury. Whether you were wearing a seat belt while involved in a car collision or not, you still have the right to pursue damages from the negligent party.
Q. How Do You Go Outside the No-Fault System?
In Pennsylvania, it may be possible to step outside of the no-fault system by filing a third-party claim against a negligent party. Third-party claims are available in case of bodily injury or non-economic damages. However, the injury must include one of the following.
- Permanent impairment;
- Total disability.
Full-tort coverage also permits Pennsylvanians to bypass the no-fault laws prevailing in the commonwealth. Under this coverage, the drivers may pursue compensation for personal damages from the negligent party.
Q. What If The At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
If the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, you may need to file a damage claim with your insurance company or file a lawsuit against the negligent party. When you suffer losses in an accident, you may expect that the other driver has an insurance policy because it is required in Pennsylvania. However, some drivers may not have insurance, which is why carrying uninsured motorist coverage can be helpful in these instances.
Q. Under What Circumstances Are Insurance Claims Rejected?
Your claim will vary depending on your medical expenses and other damages. However, insurance companies will often try to pay you as little as possible. They may also reject your claim due to several reasons, such as:
- Instances in which you were partially or wholly at fault;
- You did not receive a medical evaluation;
- You did not experience any injuries;
- The claim is more than your maximum coverage.
If you provide wrong or misleading information to an insurance company, they may reject your claim and suspend payments. Therefore, it is important to make every effort to provide correct information.
Q. What Should You Do if You Need a Cash Settlement to Pay Medical Bills?
It may not always be a good idea to accept the first cash settlement that an insurance company offers you. An insurance company may seek to include “full” reimbursement for medical bills while treatment is still ongoing, for example. This may limit your ability to recover other medical bills or other future damages. Therefore, it is advisable to not accept any early settlement amount as it may prevent you from getting a full settlement amount.