As Philadelphia car accident lawyers, we strive to obtain the best financial recovery for our injured car accident victims. When we meet with potential clients, many are misinformed about their legal rights and things that they can and cannot do. In this article, we will discuss some misconceptions victims of Philadelphia car accident victims may have.
Misconception 1 – You must talk to the insurance adjuster of the other driver.
Some injured drivers think that they must talk to the other driver’s insurance company after a Philadelphia car accident. This is simply not true. Drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents are not required to talk to another driver’s auto insurance company.
Typically, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will contact injured victims. The insurance company wants to know what happened in the accident and whether there were any injuries. It is best not to talk to the other driver’s insurance company because you do not want to say anything it may use against you if there is a lawsuit filed at a later time.
For instance, Driver A is rear-ended by Driver B at an intersection in Northeast Philadelphia. Driver A has neck and back pain immediately after the accident. The next day, Driver A calls his doctor to make an appointment, but the doctor does not have an opening until the next week. Later on in the day, Driver B’s insurance company calls Driver A to inquire about the accident. The insurance company also asks how Driver A is feeling, and Driver A says “just a little sore.” However, as the week progresses, the pain in Driver A’s neck and back gets worse. Driver A sees his doctor, who orders diagnostic imaging. As a result, Driver A has a herniated disc in his cervical spine and needs medical treatment.
Six months later, Driver A files a lawsuit against Driver B. What Driver A said to Driver B’s insurance company may be used against him in the lawsuit. Driver B may say that Driver A’s injuries are not that serious because Driver A said he was just a “little sore” after the accident.
While this can be easily explained, i.e., Driver A’s pain was masked by adrenaline and shock from the accident at first, it does present an unnecessary hurdle for Driver A.
Misconception 2 -The other driver’s auto insurance pays for medical bills.
Another common misconception injured car accident victims in Philadelphia have is that the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays for their medical expenses. Pennsylvania operates under a no-fault system. This means regardless of who caused the car accident, an injured victim’s OWN car insurance company pays for the victim’s medical expenses.
For instance, a driver is injured in a car accident on I-95 near Philadelphia. The car traveling in a lane next to the injured driver enters into his lane. The driver of the other car was texting while driving. In order to avoid the collision, the driver tries to swerve out of the way and hits a median. As a result, he sustains serious injuries. Even though it is clear that the driver who was texting is at fault, the injured driver’s own insurance company will pay for the medical expenses related his car accident. The amount paid depends on the coverage limit. The law requires that every PA standard auto policy carries $5,000 in medical or PIP coverage. However, drivers may purchase additional coverage in exchange for a higher premium.
Misconception 3 – If you file a Philadelphia car accident lawsuit, it will go to trial.
Just because a lawsuit is filed does not mean that there will be a jury trial. In fact, the majority of lawsuits filed in Philadelphia, including car accident lawsuits, do not go to trial. About 1 in 10 cases ultimately go to trial. Others settle before trial. A lawsuit can settle at any time after it is filed. Parties may settle after discovery is complete or even on the morning of trial.
There are also other alternatives to trial. Parties may try to resolve the car accident lawsuit via alternate dispute resolutions, such as a mediation or an arbitration.
In general, a mediation between parties is not a binding process. A mediator agreed upon by the parties will help to facilitate the parties to settle during a mediation. If a resolution cannot be reached, then the parties can go forward with trial.
On the other hand, arbitrations are usually binding. In a binding arbitration, an arbitrator listens to all the facts and evidence provided by each party related to the case and decides on the case. Whatever amount the arbitrator awards to the client is final and binding. There are also different types of arbitration, which we will discuss in a future article.
Help After a Philadelphia Car Accident
Car accident victims often get advice from friends and family members after an accident. However, some of them may be misinformed. It is best to talk to an experienced PA & NJ car accident lawyer who can answer all of your questions and concerns. Our injury and accident lawyers work hard to get you fair compensation for injuries suffered in a car, truck or pedestrian accident.
For more information, call for your FREE consultation. (866) 641-0806
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Page last updated: October 7, 2016