Car, truck and pedestrian accidents are very common in Philadelphia. If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was caused by another party, these three tips will help protect your legal rights.
1. Don’t Speak to the Other Party’s Insurance Company
After a car accident happens, the parties involved may get phone calls from claims adjusters who work for an opposing party’s insurance company. This is especially true in situations when fault isn’t so clear. It’s critical for an injured victim to avoid speaking to anyone about the accident and injuries. The only exception is someone calling from their own insurance company; an injured victim is required to cooperate with their own insurance company.
Speaking to an opposing party’s insurance company may result in problems with a lawsuit down the road. A claims adjuster may question the injured victim about how the accident happened and the extent of the injuries. Anything the victim says can be used in the case later.
For example, Driver A, who was hit by another car, gets a call from the insurance company for the other driver. Driver A states that he had the right of way, since the light was green. However, at the accident scene, Driver A stated that the light was yellow, but about to turn red. This inconsistency is important and can mean the difference between winning and losing the case.
It’s important to note that in some situations, both drivers may be insured with the same auto insurance company. This does not mean an injured victim is required to speak to the claims adjuster who’s been assigned for the opposing party’s claim. Rather, the injured victim is only required to speak to the claims adjuster assigned to their own claim for PIP (personal injury protection) or property damage, not the adjuster assigned to the other party’s bodily injury liability claim.
2. Follow All Medical Advice
Some injured victims fail to follow up on medical advice. This is a mistake. Under Pennsylvania injury law, a plaintiff is required to mitigate their damages. In other words, an injured victim must take all reasonable steps to prevent an injury or damage from getting worse. This means following a doctor’s orders, including returning when recommended, finishing physical therapy unless otherwise directed by a doctor, taking prescription medications, etc. Failing to follow medical advice can cause problems later. In car accident lawsuits, defense attorneys love to argue that the plaintiff exacerbated the injuries or damages.
For example, a driver who suffers serious injuries in a highway accident in Philadelphia requires surgery for a shoulder injury. After surgery, a course of physical therapy is ordered. The driver only attends half of the therapy sessions. One year later, he complains of pain in his shoulder that doesn’t get better and limits his range of motion. The defense is sure to argue that the plaintiff’s own failure to complete physical therapy is what resulted in the complaints of pain one year later.
3. Take Pictures and/or Keep a Diary
Those who suffer serious injuries after a car accident in Philadelphia may find that their lives are turned upside down. Work life and family life can keep injured victims incredibly busy, especially when there are multiple medical appointments. Oftentimes, injured victims are so focused on getting their lives back together that they forget to document their injuries. Keeping a diary or taking pictures of an injury, including the stages of healing, can help paint a more accurate picture of the extent of the injury.
For example, a Philadelphia resident is hit by a car while crossing the street in Center City, Philadelphia. The impact results in a fractured knee which requires surgery and placement of several pins. The scar is quite significant, especially in the first few months after surgery. A few pictures of the scar can help show the opposing side just how serious the surgery was. This is important when it comes time to negotiate a settlement or otherwise take the case to trial. Pictures, video or a journal can really hit home with jurors in terms of conveying pain and suffering.
For more info, visit the PA auto injury law library.
Philadelphia Auto Accident Injury Lawyers
Our lawyers handle car and truck accidents in Philadelphia. Contact our firm for a FREE consultation. (866) 641-0806
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