Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor Vehicle Accidents and Automobile Collisions are a fact of every day life in our society. Statistics show that you are likely to be involved in at least one auto accident in your lifetime. The consequences of these collisions can be far reaching. You will be faced with many important decisions. We can help.
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every 10 seconds someone in the United States is involved in a car accident. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of thirty-four. Auto accidents are responsible for over 40,000 deaths per year in our country. This averages out to 115 fatalities per day. When you are injured in an accident your focus should be on the healing process. Let our office guide you through the legal process.
What should you do if you have been in a car accident?
First, you must assess yourself, your passengers, and any other persons involved to determine if anyone is injured. If there are any injuries you must call for or otherwise seek medical attention right away. Second, especially in accidents involving injury to person or property, you must call the police. Third, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, you need to speak with a lawyer. You will be required to deal with people who are much more familiar with the process, and whose interests will not likely be consistent with yours. Do not go it alone.
Do I have a case?
We can help you determine if you have a case. Every situation is different. Cases are as unique and as varied as the people who bring them. The first question that every jury will have to answer is what we call Liability. Essentially this is a question of who is right and who is wrong under the law that applies to the situation. The second question is what Damages, if any, have been legally caused by the facts of the case. For cases to be successful, they need to be carefully analysed, developed through discussion, investigation, discovery and research, and then presented with a proven level of legal expertise.
How much is my case worth?
While all personal injury cases have common considerations, every case is different. Outcomes are driven by the specific facts of each individual situation. Liability issues are different in each case. Damages vary dramatically between individuals, and therefore each case requires special attention of our skilled trial counsel to maximize the recovery. The way in which your facts are presented by the personal injury lawyer handling the case will make all the difference in the ultimate outcome.
How does the legal process work?
On our Personal Injury Page we discussed in detail the general considerations in every personal injury case of liability and damages. Briefly, Liability is the question of who is right and who is wrong under the law. Damages is the question of how badly you were hurt by the defendant’s conduct.
All personal injury situations require the time and attention of skilled trial lawyers to determine if there is a case worth pursuing. If so, intensive investigation of the facts must be undertaken right away. If you are injured, your health and recovery are of the highest importance. You will need to be compliant with any recommendations of your physicians. Once your medical care is completed or if your physicians are able to have a good idea as to your condition, we will collect your medical records and reports. Claims are then presented to the involved insurance carriers to see if yours is a case for amicable settlement. If not, then a lawsuit will need to be filed in court. Some cases can be resolved quickly. Other cases take time to handle properly. Our goal is to obtain full and fair compensation for you in as timely a fashion as your unique situation will allow.
What type of insurance do I have?
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, your own Motor Vehicle Insurance Policy is very important. The ultimate outcome of your motor vehicle claim will be directly influenced by the choices that you, or the relatives that you live with, made when the insurance policy was issued. In other words, you may have already lost your ability to fully recover your losses even though you have not yet been in a motor vehicle accident.
What is a Tort Option or Lawsuit Threshold?
Perhaps the most importance choice in an automobile insurance policy is the selection of a “Tort Option.” In Pennsylvania, the choices are called “Full Tort” and “Limited Tort.” In New Jersey, the choices are called “Zero Threshold” and “Verbal Threshold”. You may also see the choices labeled as “No Threshold” and “Lawsuit Threshold.” We always recommend against selecting “Limited Tort”, “Verbal Threshold” or “Lawsuit Threshold”.
We recommend that you select only the “Full Tort” Option in Pennsylvania and the “Zero Threshold” Option or “No Threshold” Option in New Jersey. People who chose “Full Tort,” “Zero Threshold,” and “No Threshold” have retained their traditional legal rights to recover for the types of damages that can commonly result from a motor vehicle collision.
Unfortunately, people who chose “Limited Tort,” “Verbal Threshold,” and “Lawsuit Threshold” have given up the right to recover for their bodily injuries unless they fit into specific categories of injury defined by the Legislatures of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey. Worse yet, your choices can also prevent the relatives that live with you from making a recovery for their bodily injuries even though they are not involved in paying for the insurance policy at issue.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage(“UM”), Underinsured Motorist Coverage(“UIM”) and Stacking?
You are also empowered with the option to protect yourself and your family members from injuries caused by persons who drive without any insurance or with minimal insurance. Every private passenger automobile insurance policy issued in Pennsylvania and New Jersey comes with the opportunity to purchase Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist coverage protects against injuries caused by someone without automobile insurance and is often called “UM” Coverage.
Underinsured Motorist coverage protects against injuries caused by someone without enough automobile coverage and is often called “UIM” Coverage.
We recommend that you obtain the same amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage as you purchased for bodily injury coverage. UM and UIM are quite cheap to purchase.
In Pennsylvania, (but not in New Jersey), your UM and UIM Benefits automatically provide Stacking. Stacking increases coverage by the number of qualifying vehicles. In other words, if you are eligible for UM or UIM of $50,000.00, and there are three vehicles which may be Stacked, your coverage actually $150,000.00. We recommend that you keep Stacking on your policies.
Learn more about selecting insurance for your personal automobile.
If you, or someone important to you, has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, we can help.