Wilkes Barre Auto Accident Lawyer
According to crash facts and statistics published by PennDot, in 2017 there were 128,188 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania. These auto accidents caused 1,137 deaths and 80,162 injuries. PennDot also presented these statistics in other words to say that on average every hour of every day in Pennsylvania, 15 crashes occur that injure nine people, and one person dies on the road every eight hours.
The vast majority of auto accidents are preventable. They occur because people choose to speed, they choose to look at their phones instead of the road, or they choose to drink and drive. These types of negligent behaviors are simply unacceptable, and drivers who cause accidents by drinking and driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving or other negligence can and should be held liable for the damages they cause. Wilkes Barre auto accident lawyer Keith Figured and his staff at the Figured Law Firm work to hold negligent drivers accountable for the harm they have caused. We seek maximum compensation from drivers and their insurance companies so that injury victims get the care and compensation they need and deserve.
Pennsylvania Auto Accident Insurance Law
Pennsylvania insurance law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance in case they are at fault in an accident. The minimum amounts required by law are $15,000 for personal injury they cause to one person or $30,000 if multiple people are injured, as well as $5,000 worth of insurance for property damage they cause. Drivers are also required to have first-party medical payments coverage of at least $5,000 which can help with medical costs regardless of who was at fault.
When buying liability insurance in Pennsylvania, drivers have the choice of selecting either a Full Tort or Limited Tort policy. With a Full Tort policy, injured drivers can sue at-fault drivers for the full amount of their economic and noneconomic loss after an auto accident. These losses include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other legal damages.
With a Limited Tort policy, injured drivers can recover out-of-pocket medical and other expenses, but they cannot recover compensation for pain and suffering or other noneconomic loss unless a specific exception applies to the auto accident. These exceptions include:
- Hit by a drunk driver
- Hit by a vehicle registered out of state
- Hit by a driver who intended to injure him or herself or another
- Hit by a driver with no insurance
- Accident caused by an automotive defect
- Injury victim was the occupant of a vehicle that was not a private passenger motor vehicle
A Limited Tort policy costs less in premiums, but you may regret choosing this coverage if you are injured in an accident and kept from recovering the full amount of compensation you need.
Legal Help is Essential after an Auto Accident
Whether you chose Full Tort or your accident falls under a Limited Tort exception, you’ll still need to be able to prove your case against the at-fault driver. This means proving the other driver’s negligence caused your injuries and also proving the nature and extent of damages caused. Their insurer, meanwhile, is likely to downplay your injury or say that it couldn’t have happened in the accident, or they may claim that your own negligence caused or contributed to the accident. Shifting some of the blame onto you can reduce the amount you can recover or even bar you from making any recovery at all.
For these reasons, it’s important to contact an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash. The first couple of days after an accident are often the most critical in determining how much you can recover from the negligent party or even whether you can pursue a claim at all. An experienced personal injury lawyer will spring into action and begin the process of collecting evidence, securing your claim and seeing that you get the medical care you need. When the time comes to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, your lawyer will be well-prepared to obtain a full and fair settlement or take your case to court if necessary.
Help is Available after a Pennsylvania Auto Accident
In Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and surrounding areas in eastern Pennsylvania, call the Figured Law Firm at 570-954-9299 for a free consultation after an auto accident. We are here for you, and you can count on us to give you the advice and representation you need.