The Devastation of a Serious Car Accident
According to AAA, the average cost of an injury crash in the United States in 2009 was more than $125,000, while the average cost of a fatal accident was closer to $6 million. Add to this the devastating effect on people’s lives from serious injuries that can main, disfigure, and cause pain and suffering that may last a lifetime, and it is no wonder that victims of car crashes seek compensation.
If you or a loved one was injured or someone has died in a car crash, motorcycle, or truck accident on a Pennsylvania highway, road or street, you should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer regarding your legal rights.
If another party’s negligence or responsibility was involved in the accident, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, and pain and suffering. However, your case must be handled correctly and competently, or you may never collect the compensation you are entitled to.
Our seasoned Williamsport car accident attorneys have helped hundreds of people file successful personal injury lawsuits. With decades of experience with many types of auto crashes and an excellent reputation in the legal community, we are well positioned to handle even the most difficult cases. Our lawyers have successfully represented clients in car and truck accident cases of all kinds, including:
- Collisions on Routes 80, 81 (the northeast extension), 180, 15, 220, 287 and 44 involving local and out-of-state drivers who file suit in state and federal court
- Accidents involving speeding or reckless drivers
- Crashes involving drivers who run red lights or stop signs, make illegal turns or commit other moving violations
- Drunk driving accidents
- Distracted driving accidents involving texting, talking or surfing on cellphones or mobile devices.
We offer a free consultation to carefully examine the individual facts in your case and determine the best way to handle it. Contact us for a free consultation with a highly experienced Williamsport, PA car accident lawyer or call (570) 323-8711 to set up your free consultation.
Why Work With the Car Accident Lawyers at Rieders Travis?
Being involved in a car accident can be a devastating and life-changing experience, and when it comes to getting compensation for your losses, there is much at stake. If you have been injured in a Pennsylvania vehicle crash, you should not attempt to go it alone. The skilled and experienced Williamsport car accident lawyers at Rieders Travis can help make life easier and less stressful by taking on the burdens and helping you deal with the issues involved.
Types of Serious Injuries in Pennsylvania Car Accidents
One single crash can cause several serious, debilitating injuries to a vehicle occupant. The number of injuries and the potential combination of these injuries is endless. However, there are a few common injuries that our clients have suffered in these accidents, including:
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Extensive soft tissue damage
- Fractured bones – hips, knees, wrists, ankles
- Internal injuries or organ damage.
If your injuries are costly and painful and were due to the mistakes of a careless driver, you should consider your legal options. You deserve compensation for the costs of your injury. Contact Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters today to talk to us about your case.
After a car crash, victims often feel confused and overwhelmed. Our seasoned car accident attorneys can help as you deal with:
- Trauma and physical and emotional injuries which may be permanently debilitating. Some common injuries are:
- Head, neck and spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Lacerations, cuts, scrapes
- Injuries to muscles and soft tissue
- Brain damage and memory loss.
- Property damage and loss of transportation. If your vehicle is seriously damaged, how will you replace it, and how will you be able to go to work or school?
- Investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and determining who is liable for the accident. Evidence disappears quickly after a crash, and witnesses may forget vital facts that prove you were not at fault. Our car accident attorneys know how to deal with evidence and interview witnesses to acquire information.
- Filing an insurance claim and negotiating with insurance companies. Insurance companies work for profit and do not have your best interests at heart. Our Williamsport car accident lawyers will speak to adjustors and negotiate on your behalf to ensure you get the best offer possible.
- Making sure that your medical bills are paid. Pennsylvania requires carrying at least $5,000 in coverage for first-party medical benefits and liability insurance worth at least $15,000 for one individual and $30,000 for all individuals hurt in an accident. Your own insurance usually pays your medical bills even if you are injured as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. However, auto insurance can be slow to pay medical bills, and insurers often wait until your treatment is complete and the total cost is known. If your own car owner’s insurance does not offer enough money to cover all your medical expenses, you may seek compensation from the other driver’s liability insurance. There may be other sources of payment as well, such as the assets of the tortfeasor.
- Interpreting confusing laws and statutes. Our car accident lawyers understand Pennsylvania’s hybrid insurance system and doctrines such as modified comparative fault, under- and un-insurance, and how these laws will affect your settlement. We work promptly to ensure filing before the statute of limitations runs out. Cliff Rieders wrote the book on Financial Responsibility Law that many lawyers utilize in Pennsylvania, and he teaches on the subject as well.
- Determining how much your case is worth. Rieders Travis attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case and examine factors such as the type of injuries you have sustained, the type of treatment you received, whether you’ll make a full recovery, and the expenses related to the accident to get a realistic idea of what your case is worth.
- Fighting for your rights and taking your case to trial if necessary. When you work with the Williamsport car accident lawyers at Rieders Travis, you will have a seasoned team of professionals on your side to build the strongest case possible to get you the settlement you deserve.
What to Expect in the Process of a Car Accident Claim
If the at-fault party and their insurance company make an offer that meets your needs, then a settlement is reached and the matter is resolved without the need for a trial. In some situations, a settlement offer is inadequate and the case is taken to trial where we make your case in front of a jury.
The process can take several weeks, several months or even longer, depending on the circumstances and complexities of your case. It is always best to begin the work of your case as soon as possible, which is why we encourage you to contact us to speak with our team.
Pennsylvania Car Accident Laws
Cliff Rieders has written one of the leading books on cases involving vehicle collisions, The Financial Responsibility Law. That law regulates how most insurance issues and questions are addressed when there is a collision or crash.
The following are some laws regarding vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania:
- Pennsylvania’s Hybrid System – Pennsylvania has a hybrid insurance system. First party benefits, those pertaining to medical and hospitalizations, are paid on a no-fault basis from your own insurance. However, Pennsylvania gives purchasers of car insurance the option of selecting “full tort” and “limited tort” coverage. If your insurance is “limited tort” you are prohibited from suing unless the accident resulted in “serious injury.” If you are able to go beyond the no-fault limitation or if you have “full tort” coverage, you can seek compensation for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
- Under and uninsurance – People may have the availability of both under and uninsurance motorist coverage. This is coverage you purchase yourself. In essence, your insurance company stands in the place of the wrongdoer. This can be very complex. Many people sign-down the under and uninsurance they are entitled to. Sometimes we can overcome those sign-downs to obtain more coverage for clients. This is a very complex and difficult area of the law, and you need to have someone who is experienced.
- Statute of limitations – This is the deadline by which you must file a car crash lawsuit. In Pennsylvania, the statute is two years after the accident for filing a personal injury or property damage lawsuit. If you miss the two-year lawsuit filing deadline, the court will probably throw out your case. For an injury case, the date the clock starts running is the date of the accident. If a death is involved, this is figured from the date the victim died. The statute of limitations for filing a claim against the insurance company, either for bad faith or for under or uninsured motorist coverage, is different than for tort claims against the wrongdoer.
- Comparative fault – Pennsylvania has a “modified comparative fault” rule. This means your total damages award is reduced by whatever percentage of the fault of the accident the courts determine is yours. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault, you would receive no
- Damage caps – state laws limit or “cap” the amount of compensation you can recover when the defendant is a local or state government entity, such as a school district. This does not apply in civil rights cases. Sometimes one could bring a civil rights case even in connection with a vehicle crash or collision. For example, where a state trooper speeds excessively to catch a driver and causes a serious collision, this may lead to a situation where a civil rights claim could be filed. These are unusual and unique cases which should not be taken lightly. The facts have to be very explicit to bring such a claim.
Bad Faith in Pennsylvania
Bad Faith in Pennsylvania by Cliff Rieders is focused on many aspects of bad faith claims. In the book, Rieders provides a definition of bad faith, discusses who may be able to file a claim, burden of proof, damages and exceptions to bad faith claims, among other related subjects. It contains an up to date discussion of relevant case law concerning insurance bad faith in Pennsylvania.
In this excerpt, you’ll learn exactly what the term “bad faith” means. This includes how bad faith relates to underinsured or uninsured motorist claims, insurer misrepresentations, investigative practices and settlement factors.
What to Do In Case of a Crash
If involved in a vehicle crash, you should follow these rules:
- Get legal representation.
- Provide any necessary help to other motorists, passengers or pedestrians that may have been injured.
- Notify 911 to report any injuries and call for medical assistance.
- Inform police if the accident resulted in injuries, death or property damage.
- Submit a Driver’s Accident Report within 5 days of an accident, if the accident was not investigated by the police or the accident resulted in death, injury or severe damage to any vehicle.
It pays to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer in Williamsport, PA before you talk to an insurance company, to protect your rights and maximize the compensation you receive. Insurance companies will try tactics such as trying to shift responsibility or getting you to accept the lowest settlement, and our Williamsport car accident attorneys have the skills and experience to help ensure you get the best settlement possible.
What Does Compensation Cover?
In Pennsylvania, compensated costs and losses fall into two categories: economic damages, and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages – expenses which can be objectively calculated, such as medical, therapy, and rehabilitation costs, costs of equipment such as wheelchairs, lost income, property damage, and funeral and burial costs if a death is involved.
- Non-economic damages –may include pain and suffering, disfigurement, the loss of enjoyment of life, loss of life’s pleasures, and the loss of a marital relationship (consortium) such as society and services and sexual relations.
The Value of Your Car Accident Claim
Every crash is different. From the perspective of an attorney, there is no way of knowing how much you should seek in a claim without knowing the details of your case. These claims can range from thousands to millions of dollars. The value of your claim depends on the costs of your medical care, how a crash impacted your ability to do your job and several other factors.
At Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters, we know how important it is to accurately determine the damages you have experienced. We know that “non-economic” damages are just as important as the financial consequences of your crash and that these two categories are more closely linked than many people understand.
If you want a clearer idea of what your claim is worth, you should speak with our team so we can learn more about the details of your case. You are under no obligation to move forward with a claim if you do not feel comfortable doing so.
Contact Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters to schedule your free consultation.
Dealing with Auto Insurance Companies
In general, you should cooperate with your own insurance company and avoid contact with another driver’s insurance company. However, if your own insurance company makes you an offer that does not reflect the costs you have faced, you DO NOT have to accept it.
If you are contacted by another driver’s insurance company, you should know that they will likely want you to make a statement, which they will use against you to lessen the payment they offer. If you are contacted by someone else’s insurance company, do not speak to them at length. The only thing you should say to these representatives is to contact your attorney.
At Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters, we have a reputation of dealing firmly with insurance companies. We have been handling car accident cases in Pennsylvania for decades, and we know the tactics they use to deny or lessen payments to injured people.
Let us deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. Contact Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters to schedule a free consultation with our team.
Wrongful Death in Pennsylvania Car Accidents
If you have lost your loved one due to the actions of a negligent driver, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim to get payment for the costs you have faced. In Pennsylvania, spouses, children and parents of the deceased can file wrongful death claims to receive compensation for burial fees, funeral costs, pending medical bills or funds that would have been generated by the deceased to support surviving family members.
The Pennsylvania car accident attorneys at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters have years of experience handling wrongful death claims. If the death of your loved one was caused by a negligent driver, you do not have to carry the financial costs of their reckless behavior.
Achieving Results When it Counts
If you or a loved one is involved in a car crash, you should get legal assistance to help prove that your case qualifies for exemption from no-fault, and to protect your rights at every stage of your liability claim.
Our experienced Williamsport, PA car accident lawyers at Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters have spent decades honing their skills and successfully representing Pennsylvania families who have suffered an injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence. We offer personal attention and loyalty to every client, aggressively fighting for their right to compensation. Whether in settlement negotiations or pursuing a favorable trial verdict, we are thoroughly prepared and committed to achieving a just outcome. With our experienced staff, we offer strength in numbers while providing top-notch personal service.
If you or your loved one has suffered harm from someone else’s negligence or incompetence in a car crash, your next step should be to consult our Williamsport car accident lawyer by calling (570) 323-8711, or by using our online contact form. Based in Williamsport, PA we serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all personal injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.