Can You Get Punitive Damages in a Car Accident Case?

June 24th, 2021 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

Car Accident

In short, you can recover punitive damages in a Pennsylvania car crash case. However, you need to prove that the defendant's actions were a product of deliberate indifference to the consequences or intentional. If the court agrees with you, then you have to take additional steps in order to obtain punitive damages. However, in some cases, it is worth the hassle to go after punitive damages. What Are Punitive Damages? Unlike compensatory damages, which the court orders in an attempt to make you whole again, the court orders punitive damages as a way to punish the defendant's deliberately indifferent or intentional actions or inactions. The court may permit a jury to award punitive damages, if the evidence supports a wanton, reckless and knowing indifference. This may only occur if you collect compensatory damages and after a number of other factors are examined that would permit punitive damages. What is the Difference Between Reckless Indifference and Negligence? Most injuries arise because of a defendant's negligence. You cannot collect punitive damages for negligence. The actions of defendant must be reckless and wanton, meaning that the defendant was knowingly indifferent to the consequences…

Car Accidents

April 8th, 2021 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

FAIR SHARE ACT-MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION Spencer v. Johnson, 2021 Pa. Super. LEXIS 144, 2021 PA Super 48 (March 18, 2021) (Panella, P.J.)  This consolidated appeal arises out of an automobile accident that occurred in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On October 16, 2014, the car that Cleveland Johnson (“Cleveland”) was driving struck Appellant/Cross-Appellee, Keith Spencer (“Spencer”), a pedestrian, as he lawfully crossed the street. Spencer suffered permanent, debilitating injuries, which have severely diminished his quality of life. Central to this appeal is the extent to which the owner of the car that Cleveland was driving should be held liable for Spencer’s injuries. The owner, Appellee/Cross-Appellant, Philadelphia Joint Board Workers United, SEIU (“PJB”), provided the car to its employee, Appellee/Cross-Appellant, Tina Johnson (“Tina”), who is Cleveland’s wife. The parties do not dispute two facts: (1) Spencer was not at fault, and (2) Cleveland was negligent in his operation of the vehicle. However, the parties disagree as to whether Tina was negligent in allowing Cleveland to operate her work vehicle, and whether PJB was negligent under the laws of agency and vicarious liability in failing to maintain reasonable policies and regulations for the vehicles…

Does Not Wearing a Seatbelt Affect an Accident Claim?

March 17th, 2021 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

Seat with seatbelt in focus

If you did not buckle up before being involved in an accident, you may wonder, “Does not wearing a seatbelt affect an accident claim?” The short answer is “no.” If you are severely injured in an accident, don’t spend any time or energy second-guessing yourself. Move on with your life and focus on recovery. The fact that you were not using seatbelts can’t be used by an insurance company to show that: You are to blame for the accident, or Your decision caused your injuries or made them worse. Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann will not let insurance companies play these games. We will not allow them to break the rules, so our clients won’t be cheated out of any of the compensation they deserve. Not Wearing A Seatbelt and Your Accident Claim Is a Very Different Matter than Your Safety There is a good reason that the law requires seatbelt use: it can be a matter of life and death. It is Pennsylvania law that a driver or passenger under 18 years of age must buckle up, according to Subchapter E of Chapter 45, Title 75 of Pennsylvania’s…

How to Get a Car Accident Police Report

February 2nd, 2021 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

Car Accident

How to get a car accident report is something you should know if you have been involved in a vehicle crash. It is usually the starting point for an investigation for an insurance claim or lawsuit. It is not admissible in court, and it may have mistakes in it, but it lays out what should be the facts of an accident. It should also state who, if anyone, was ticketed or arrested. It is an essential document for anyone involved in a car crash. If a vehicle accident happened, under Pennsylvania statute, you must contact the local police if: Someone was injured or killed, or A vehicle is so damaged that it needs to be towed away (it cannot be safely driven without further damage to it or the roadway). The same statute requires the police to investigate the reported accident. The police officer at the scene, or the one who contacts those involved when a report is made afterwards, writes the report. The officer at the accident may give you an incident number to help you find the report. Without that number, give your name, the date, time, and location…

What Are Non-Economic Damages in a Car Accident Case?

August 18th, 2020 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

Car Accident

If you are injured in a car accident, you may wonder what are non-economic damages in a car accident case. There could be different types of damages you could receive to compensate you, depending on the facts of your case. Under Pennsylvania law, damages generally fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Car accident cases are typically based on negligence law. The plaintiff (the injured person filing the lawsuit) would need to prove that the defendant (the party sued) had an obligation to do or avoid doing something in the situation, and the defendant did not live up to that duty. For example, the defendant was speeding, ran a red light, or was intoxicated. As a result, the defendant caused the accident and your injuries. You need to establish the harm you suffered. The judge or jury would decide what damages you are entitled to and the amount. Sometimes cases go to alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration. Damages in a car accident case measure the harm you suffered in dollars. That is easier to determine for economic (sometimes called special) damages. They are a reduced income or…

Can You Sue an Uninsured Driver?

August 12th, 2020 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

Can you sue an uninsured driver? In the state of Pennsylvania, it is illegal for a driver to not be covered by auto insurance. And, in fact, we have one of the lower uninsured rates in the country, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That is great news. However, like in any state, there are drivers here who try to get away with driving uninsured. And if you are unlucky enough to be hit by one of them, you can find yourself in serious financial trouble. Can you sue an uninsured driver? The answer is that you may be able to. After your accident, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer to help you recover the money you need to pay your bills and other losses related to the wreck. The lawyers at Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann will help you with every step of your claim. We will: Calculate the amount of your losses Determine your own insurance coverage and whether you have enough to cover your losses If necessary, help you file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver and any other responsible parties. Can…

How to Calculate Pain and Suffering in a Car Accident Settlement

November 1st, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

Knowing how to calculate pain and suffering in a car accident settlement can help you understand what compensation to expect in your case. If you are injured in a car accident in Pennsylvania, the chances are that you will suffer not only financial damages, but also physical and emotional damages along with pain and suffering, disfigurement and loss of life’s pleasures that can impact your life even more severely than your financial loss.  One court has said that the so-called noneconomic damages represent the iceberg, with the economic damages only the tip of the iceberg.  Determining how to calculate pain and suffering and other non-economic damages in a car accident settlement is much more challenging than calculating economic costs, such as lost wages, lost wage horizon, medical, hospital, and rehabilitative bills, and property damage. If another party’s negligence or responsibility was involved in the accident, you should be entitled to receive financial compensation that covers pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress and loss of life’s pleasures as Pennsylvania law allows you to recover both economic and non-economic losses from the at-fault party who caused the crash. However, insurance companies have…

Car Accidents Articles

July 24th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

Three Things You Should Not Have to Worry About When You Hire a Capable Car Accident Attorney If you have been in a car crash in Pennsylvania, you probably have lots of worries. Your first priority should be taking care of your injuries, but there are also worries about your financial situation and how the crash will affect your future and your family. You worry about paying your bills and your living costs, especially if the injury affects your ability to work and you no longer have a vehicle. Then there is the stress of dealing with insurance companies. What if you say something wrong and it damages your case? How do you know how much your settlement is worth and whether to agree to what the insurance company offers? You will want to know what underinsurance is. You will need to know if you have signed any waivers or sign-downs reducing your underinsurance coverage. You will need to know about the insurance coverage of the other driver or drivers. You will want to know whether the other driver who was at fault for the accident was at work and, if so,…

Excessive Speed Causes Accident

June 26th, 2019 by contenteditor in Car Accidents

Central Pennsylvania City Police release information concerning a two-vehicle crash. City Police say that the driver was traveling at an excessive speed when his Pontiac Firebird struck a utility pole and slammed into a stopped SUV. Both drivers were taken to a Regional Hospital in Pennsylvania, as was a passenger in the car. If you or a loved one suffered an injury that could have been avoided or that was caused because somebody was careless or negligent make sure you know your rights. Call us for a free consultation at 570-323-8711

Drivers with Multiple DUI Offenses in Pennsylvania

January 11th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

Drivers who repeatedly drive while intoxicated, even after getting multiple DUI convictions, put themselves and others at risk. Drunk driving is a major cause of car crashes that kill and maim people throughout Pennsylvania.  In 2017, the department of transportation (PennDOT) recorded 12,040 crashes where a driver was suspected of being impaired, a 2.1 percent increase from 2016. With the holiday drinking season in full swing, Pennsylvania lawmakers have voted to increase penalties for repeat DUI offenders. On December 23, 2018, a law went into effect that increases penalties for those with a third conviction of driving with at least twice the legal limit of alcohol in their system, and for anyone with fourth DUI convictions. In addition, mandatory jail time for repeat offenders is longer. If you or a loved one was injured or if someone has died in a crash involving drunk driving, you may have a claim for compensation for your losses. This includes medical, hospital and rehabilitation costs, lost past and future wages, loss of wage horizon, and other economic expenses.  Compensation may also include the even more significant concept of non-economic damages such as loss…