It is natural to have a lot of questions when you have been injured in an auto accident in Pennsylvania. That’s why we’ve put together this list of commonly asked questions and answers to those questions so that you can find the answers you need quickly. If the answer to your question isn’t here, or if you want more information about any topic, contact an auto accident attorney in Pennsylvania.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I don’t own a car and am injured as a pedestrian by an uninsured motorist, what can I do?
If something like this happens to you while you’re living in Pennsylvania, then you may meet the criteria to file your claim with the Assigned Claims Plan. This will allow you to recover as much as $15,000 ($5,000 in medical expenses plus $10,000 in additional damages). There are some complex rules and guidelines with the Assigned Claims Plan, so contact an attorney to find out more.
If I was a passenger in a collision with an object (tree, telephone pole, sign, etc), and neither myself or the driver have insurance, what can I do?
The Pennsylvania Assigned Claims Plan may apply to your situation if you meet the criteria. You have to live in PA, have no vehicles under your name, and meet some other requirements to recover up to $15,000 ($5,000 in medical expenses plus $10,000 in additional damages). Contact an attorney to find out if you are eligible to file a claim under this plan.
If I was in an accident that wasn’t my fault and an insurance adjuster asks me to give a recorded statement, what do I do?
Never give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster because it can be used against you later. You don’t even have to talk to the insurance company without first getting advice from a lawyer.
What if I was in an accident in another state, but I live in Pennsylvania?
Your insurance generally follows you wherever you go and will cover you no matter where the accident occurred. However, the laws of the state where the accident occurred will dictate your ability to file a lawsuit with the other driver/insurance company. Contact a lawyer right away to learn more.
Why might the insurance company deny my claim?
If you have not fulfilled your end of your insurance contract or if your policy is fraudulent, then your claim can be denied by the insurance company. If your insurance company believes that you are not responsible for the accident, then the company may deny the claim also. Your best bet is to contact an attorney to find out if you really have a case.
I was a passenger in an SUV rollover accident, though the driver was safe. What can I do?
Even when the driver is safe and following traffic laws, an SUV can still roll over because of its size and
shape. You may have a products liability case against the SUV manufacturer in this situation. Contact an attorney to find out if you have a case.
If I was wearing my seatbelt correctly but still suffered severe abdominal injuries in a car accident, what does this mean and what can I do?
There is a good chance that the seatbelt ‘window shade’ was defective. This is the device that is supposed to relieve tension and allow slack so that you are not injured by your seatbelt. If this device fails to retract the belt after you lean forward, then the slack can be permanent and result in severe abdominal injuries caused by the body jackknifing. You’ll want a lawyer to evaluate your case.
If my underage teenager was at a party where the parents allowed liquor to be consumed by minors, and was then in an accident caused by a DUI, are the hosting parents responsible?
There is a social host liability claim option against the adult host of any party where persons under 21 are allowed to consume alcohol. This means that you may have a claim against the parents who’s decisions ultimately led to the injuries of your minor child. Contact an attorney to learn more.
What if I drank too much at a bar and got behind the wheel because I wasn’t thinking clearly, then caused an accident? Do I have any rights?
In Pennsylvania there is a Dram Shop Act which ensures that drinking establishments (bars, restaurants, etc.) are held responsible for continuing to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. If you experienced an injury that ultimately resulted from this irresponsible behavior on the part of the establishment, then the bar may be responsible for your injuries. However, it can be difficult to prove a case like this, so you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Why is it my job to prove negligence?
Negligence, or carelessness, must be proven by the plaintiff to demonstrate that the person who caused your injuries had a duty to be more careful in the circumstances of the accident and that this person was careless (negligent) in that duty, causing your injuries.
How can I know how much my claim is worth?
There is no way to know what your claim is worth until you’ve completed medical treatment or until an attorney has reviewed your case. Every case is different, and you should discuss the facts of your case with your lawyer to get an idea of what your claim might be worth.
Will it take a long time to settle my claim?
There is no way to know how long it will take to settle your claim. You can speak with an attorney about this question, but even then it will be hard to guess the timeframe of the negotiation and settlement process. If your case is more complicated, it will take longer. Your settlement process can’t begin until your medical treatment in completed and all costs are calculated.
Am I going to have to go to court?
There is no way to know for certain if you’re going to have to go to court to resolve your claim. This will depend on the unique facts of your case, and you would be wise to get a free consultation from a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney to learn more about your options.
Is there a time limit for filing a legal claim in my case?
There is always a time limit, called a statute of limitations, for filing a legal claim. The specific statute of limitations that applies to you will vary from one state and one case to the next. An attorney can give you more advice about this, and you should contact one sooner rather than later so that you know you have enough time to negotiate a settlement and take your case to court if necessary.
If your question isn’t here, or if you need more information about Pennsylvania laws and how they apply to your unique case, contact an attorney for more details and answers to your questions.