Determining the Next Steps for Pittsburgh Residents Injured in Car Accidents
If a car accident is severe enough, a victim may be left with medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, and other expenses that are not compensated when the victim’s own insurance has been exhausted. In these cases, the victim may have a viable legal claim stemming from their car accident.
Many car accident victims begin wondering whether they need to pursue a legal claim when settlement negotiations with the insurance company breaks down. At this point, a victim should be contacting a personal injury lawyer who can evaluate whether the victim has a claim that could be brought in court. There are certain steps that car accident victims need to take to ensure that their legal claim is a valid one; hiring an attorney is an important first step. Failing to determine the validity of a claim can doom that claim before the victim even gets to file it in court. This is because most car accident claims are first brought against the insurance company of the responsible driver.
Information Needed for Car Accident Claims
It is critical that a car accident victim gathers all relevant evidence arising from their accident. This begins at the scene of the accident, where the victim (or someone on the victim’s behalf if he or she is physically unable to do so) should collect information such as the names and contact information of everyone involved in the accident, including drivers and occupants of vehicles involved, eyewitnesses to the accident, and the law enforcement officials who investigate the accident. Most importantly, the victim should obtain the other drivers’ insurance information, which will allow the victim to contact those insurance companies if necessary to begin the claim process.
The victim should also take photographs of the accident scene, including the location of vehicles, details of damage to the vehicle, along with the road surface, lighting conditions, and weather conditions.
It is important to remember when dealing with insurance companies that these companies do not have protection of the victim as their primary concern. Instead, insurance companies are businesses who make a profit by minimizing the amount of money they pay out in claims. As a result, victims should be prepared for insurance companies to deny a claim on the grounds that the victim was actually the responsible party for the accident or that he or she failed to timely submit sufficient documentation. In some cases, insurance companies even engage in bad faith or illegal conduct to avoid claims.
The Car Accident Claim Process
Pursuing a claim for a car accident can be a complicated and frustrating process, which often is caused by the fact that the responsible driver and/or their insurance company will try to oppose providing compensation for the victim’s losses. That is why a victim who is able to provide more documentation to substantiate his or her claims for liability and damages stands a better chance of obtaining the compensation he or she needs. Victims stand the best chance of receiving maximum compensation in settlement or at trial when they hire legal representation. Even though most car accident claims are settled before they see the inside of a courtroom, in some cases the parties are far apart on the value of the victim’s claim and when an insurance company refuses to offer any more money in a settlement, the victim may be left with the sole option of pursuing their claim in court to obtain the funds they believe they deserve.
There are many kinds of damages that can be recovered in a car accident claim. In addition to medical expenses and lost wages or income due to work missed because of injuries, a car accident victim may also obtain compensation for vehicle or property damage, or can obtain reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses such as the costs for transportation to medical treatment. However, to collect any sort of economic, out-of-pocket damage, a claimant must provide proof of the expenditure, which usually takes the form of bills, invoices, pay-stubs, or even profit-and-loss statements (if a victim claims lost income from their business).
Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients injured because of car accidents and other types of auto accidents in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Westmoreland County, PA areas. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.