Not everyone deals with car accidents and their aftermath every day of their lives. We do. Sharing our experience and knowledge with our clients is one of the most important services that Daly & Clemente provides to our clients. Put Daly & Clemente's experienced and knowledgeable attorneys to work for you.
Here are some answers to some of the questions that we are most frequently asked by our clients:
What do I need to know about my car accident?
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: Your immediate focus should be on your own health and safety. Check yourself and anyone else for injuries that require immediate medical attention. Even if you are okay, you should still dial 911 to report the accident to police. While waiting for emergency assistance to arrive, try taking photos and videos of the accident which will be useful when working with insurance adjusters or attorneys.
Q: SHOULD I TALK TO THE OTHER DRIVER'S INSURANCE COMPANY?
A: No. Any statement given to an insurance company could ultimately be used against you. You should first speak with an attorney.
Q: DO I NEED TO CALL THE POLICE AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: Yes. Pennsylvania law requires that all accidents must be reported. Additionally, the information on a police report is crucial for filing insurance claims and can also help your attorney build a personal injury case.
Q: SHOULD I MAKE STATEMENTS TO THE POLICE AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: The information and statements made in a police report are an important record of the events of the crash. You should do your best to answer as honestly and as accurately as you can.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE OTHER DRIVER'S INSURANCE CALLS ME?
A: You should refer them to your own insurance company or attorney. In most scenarios, the insurance company for the other driver (third-party) is looking to settle with you quickly, before you even know of your injuries or are done treating for them. Never let the opposing insurance company force you to do something.
Q: SHOULD I TALK TO A LAWYER AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: Yes. Daly & Clemente's legal team will focus on your case by gathering evidence, consulting with experts, and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, so you can focus on getting your life back on track. If it is necessary, an attorney might even take your case all the way to trial to get the compensation you truly deserve.
Q: IS PENNSYLVANIA A "NO-FAULT" STATE?
A: Yes. Pennsylvania requires each driver to carry a state-required minimum of Personal Injury Protection Benefits (PIP). This means that a driver’s own insurance will cover their medical bills and rehabilitative costs after an auto accident.
Q: WHAT IS "PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION" COVERAGE?
A: Personal Injury Protection Benefits (PIP) are the benefits that a driver’s own auto insurance policy will pay when that driver is injured by a third party. Each auto insurance policy in Pennsylvania is required to have a state minimum amount of PIP benefits that can be paid to the first party driver.
Q: WHO PAYS FOR THE DAMAGE TO MY CAR AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: The opposing insurance company. Under Pennsylvania Law, you are entitled to have your car repaired to it’s condition prior to the accident, or, alternatively, to receive the fair market value of your vehicle.
Q: SHOULD I DRIVE MY CAR AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: Only drive your car once you are sure that it is safe to do so. You should have your car inspected by a licensed mechanic in order to ensure there is no unknown damage to your car.
Q: HOW DO I GET MY CAR FIXED AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: To get your car fixed, you must make a claim with the third-party insurance adjuster assigned to your claim. The claim adjuster will most likely already have a copy of your accident report and admit liabiliaty. You will then be able to make arrangements to have your car assessed. In the instance where an adjuster does not admit liability, you will need to file your own claim under your insurance policy’s collision coverage.
Q: DO I HAVE TO TAKE MY CAR TO A SPECFIC REPAIR SHOP AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: No. Under Pennsylvania Law, you have a right to have your car repaired by whichever repair center you wish, so long as you supply the repair center with your claim number, the name of your adjuster, and the adjuster’s phone number.
Q: WHAT DO I DO IF THE PERSON WHO HIT MY CAR DOESN'T HAVE INSURANCE?
A: In addition to Personal Injury Protection PIP benefits, your insurance policy likely also provides you with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage is specifically designed provide excess coverage for collisions that occur with drivers that do not carry insurance.To get your car fixed, you must make a claim with the third-party insurance adjuster assigned to your claim. The claim adjuster will most likely already have a copy of your accident report and admit liabiliaty. You will then be able to make arrangements to have your car assessed. In the instance where an adjuster does not admit liability, you will need to file your own claim under your insurance policy’s collision coverage.
Q: WHO PAYS MY MEDICAL BILLS IF I WAS HIT BY A DRIVER WHO LEFT THE SCENE OF THE ACCIDENT?
A: In addition to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, your insurance policy likely also provides you with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. UM coverage is specifically designed provide excess coverage for collisions that occur with drivers that do not carry insurance or who leave the scene of an accident.
Q: WHO PAYS MY MEDICAL BILLS WHILE MY CASE IS PENDING?
A: Your personal insurance policy provides you with Personal Injury Protection coverage, which will pay the first $10,000 (or more, depending on your policy) of your medical payments. Once your PIP is exhausted, your personal health insurance will cover additional expenses. A personal injury lawyer will work to ensure reimbursement to both you and your health insurance company.
Q: WHAT IS VICARIOUS LIABILITY?
A: Under Pennsylvania Law, vicarious liability means that even if someone else was driving your car at the time of an accident, you may still be held liable for damages caused by the individual who was driving. In a personal injury case, this means that you can pursue a lawsuit against the individual or company who lent their vehicle to the at-fault driver who hit you.
Q: CAN I RECEIVE COMPENSATION FROM AN EMPLOYER OF A DRIVER WHO CAUSED MY ACCIDENT INJURIES?
A: Yes. When a driver who causes an accident is acting in the scope of their employment (i.e. driving for work), their employer is likely liable for the damages they cause. Additionally, the employer may also be liable for negligent entrustment if they had reason to believe their employee was not qualified to drive.
Q: WHAT DO I DO IF I GET INTO AN ACCIDENT WITH AN UBER OR LYFT DRIVER?
A: Uber and Lyft drivers carry both personal automobile insurance policies as well as a larger auto insurance policy provided by Uber or Lyft. Drivers hit by a rideshare vehicle will receive liability insurance payments from the rideshare driver’s personal automobile policy, and may also be entitled to liability insurance payments from the Uber or Lyft policies as well, depending on whether or not the driver was actually working as an Uber or Lyft driver at the time of the crash.
Q: WHAT IF THE ACCIDENT WAS PARTLY MY FAULT?
A: Under Pennsylvania Law, you can still recover damages from a lawsuit with a driver that caused an accident even if you are also partially at fault. You will be able to recover for whatever portion of damages that a jury believes were caused by the other driver’s negligence, so long as you are less to blame than the other driver.
Q: CAN I RECEIVE INSURANCE PAYMENTS FROM MY AUTO INSURANCE COMPANY IF I WASN'T DRIVING MY VEHICLE AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT?
A: Yes. Even if you were a passenger in another vehicle that was involved in a car accident, or a pedestrian, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy will cover damages caused by that accident.
Q: WHAT IF THERE ARE MULTIPLE PEOPLE INJURED IN MY ACCIDENT?
A: Each type of insurance contained in a policy will state two numbers on the declaration page, one being the per individual limit and the other being the per occurrence limit. For example, if your policy states that you are entitled to $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury coverage, each individual in the accident is entitled to a maximum of $25,000, however the payments for each individual in the accident must be less than $50,000 when added together.
Q: CAN I SUE MY CAR MANUFACTURER AFTER MY ACCIDENT?
A: You may be able to pursue a products liability claim against your auto manufacturer if you feel that your car did not live up to proper crash-resistant and safety standards. You should inform your attorney if you believe that you suffered injury from defective seat belts, airbags, tires, brakes, car seats, etc.
Q: WHAT KIND OF DAMAGES AM I ENTITLED TO AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: In Pennsylvania, drivers who suffered injuries due to a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence are entitled to compensatory damages, including payment for property damage, medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, emotional duress, loss of enjoyment of life, lost earning potential, etc. In rare cases, additional punitive damages are also available, which are additional monetary awards that are intended to punish the at-fault party for outrageously negligent behavior.
Q: DO I NEED TO HAVE A SERIOUS OR PERMANENT INJURY TO GET COMPENSATED FOLLOWING MY CAR ACCIDENT?
A: No. After a car accident, you are pursuing compensation for your immediate damages as well as what you and your doctors can foresee medically in the future. You are also entitled to recover for other damages you may have experienced, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Q: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO SUE SOMEONE AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
A: Under Pennsylvania Law, the statute of limitation for personal injury claims is 2 years from the date of the accident. However, you should seek out more specific information from a licensed Pennsylvania attorney immediately so that they can analyze the specific facts of your potential legal situation.