If you’ve been in an accident recently, or if someone close to you has been injured, you probably have a million questions.
Below, the attorneys at Hagelgans & Veronis answer some of the most frequently asked questions about car accidents. If your question isn’t answered here, we’re ready to take your call.
Should I go to the doctor? What if I don’t feel injured?
It’s a good idea to see a doctor after a car accident. Traumatic head injuries (TBI), for example, don’t always reveal signs or symptoms right away.
During and after an accident, the body releases adrenaline, which can mitigate a person’s ability to feel pain. A medical examination is the best way to determine your health and safety after a car accident.
Moreover, if you ever need proof of your condition, medical records offer a valid source.
Do I need a lawyer?
Pennsylvania is among a handful of states that offers no-fault insurance (also known as limited tort coverage), which allows drivers to collect damages from their insurer directly. This is useful when only minor property damage is suffered and no serious injury occurs.
However, if the other driver was acting negligently (e.g., drinking and driving, texting while driving, etc.) and you suffer financial loss due to medical bills or lost wages, you should discuss the accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Why should I choose Hagelgans & Veronis?
There’s a public misconception that when people are injured in catastrophic accidents they will be compensated fairly and fully. But that’s not always the case.
Drivers in Pennsylvania are legally insured for as little as $15,000 in liability coverage. In a serious accident, that coverage won’t cover total costs. And some minimally insured drivers won’t have the personal assets to reimburse victims.
The attorneys at Hagelgans & Veronis specialize in exhausting all available sources of insurance coverage to ensure no money is left on the table.
Our team works on a contingent-fee basis, which means victims don’t pay anything until the case gets settled. We pay for expert testimony, evidence collection, and advance any case costs so victims can focus on what really matters: recovery.
We’re compassionate client advocates and we’ve been helping injured victims throughout central Pennsylvania for more than 20 years.
What If I have limited tort insurance? Can I still collect compensation?
Drivers who elect limed tort insurance in Pennsylvania are only allowed to sue for economic damages, unless the injury or circumstances meet a specific exception.
For example, a victim with limited tort insurance can sue for complete compensation (including noneconomic damages like pain and suffering), if the injury meets the “serious injury” threshold.
Injuries such as TBI, paralysis, amputation, and injuries involving major surgery commonly meet the threshold.
There are also six non-injury related exceptions that allow a victim to recovery economic and noneconomic damages:
- The at-fault driver is convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The at-fault driver was driving a vehicle registered in another state
- The at-fault-driver intended to hurt himself (or others)
- The injured person was a pedestrian
- The injury is the result of a defect in the design, manufacturing, repair or maintenance of a vehicle
- The person covered by limited tort insurance is injured while a passenger in a vehicle other than a private passenger vehicle (e.g., public bus, commercial truck, shuttle, etc.)
If one of these exceptions applies, you may be able to step outside the limited tort rule and collect noneconomic damages.
Can I collect damages if I was partially at fault?
Yes. Pennsylvania follows a modified version of comparative negligence, which reduces damages based on each driver’s contribution to the accident.
For example, if the total damage is $20,000, but you’re found 25 percent at fault for the accident, then compensation is reduced by 25 percent or $5,000. The maximum amount the victim could receive in this scenario is $15,000.
However (and this is the modified part), if the victim is found more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, they can be barred from collecting ANY compensation.
How much time do I have to file a claim?
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations has restrictions on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.
Generally, personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the injury. If the claim is filled after this date, it’s unlikely the case will be successful.
If you have any questions about a Pennsylvania car accident, Hagelgans & Veronis is the first call you should make.