Even though there is an interstate highway system in the United States, each state has its own motor vehicle laws and regulations. The laws of the state where the accident occurred control the case.
Under Pennsylvania law, an automobile owner is required to have insurance, and the insurance companies must offer First Party benefits to insured. Nearly 100% of the motor vehicles that are insured in Pennsylvania include First Party benefits.
First Party benefits: First Party benefits are medical and wage loss benefits that you can recover from your own automobile insurance policy. First Party medical benefits are typically $5,000.00, thus the first $5,000.00 in medical treatment that you receive are paid by your own auto Insurance. This first $5,000.00 is paid no matter who is at fault in the accident.
After the first $5,000.00 party medical benefit are used, the remaining medical bills will either be paid by your health insurance, if available, and, if not available, by the First Party benefits of the at-fault vehicle. If there is no health insurance after the First Party benefits, and there is no other source of payment of the medical bills, the bills must be recovered from the Defendant’s Insurance Company.
Limit Tort: Frequently, we are asked what it means to have Limited Tort. Under Pennsylvania law, an insurance company is required to give a policyholder a choice between selecting Limited Tort or Full Tort. Limited Tort is cheaper than Full Tort, but, in selecting Limited Tort, you are giving up your full right to sue somebody for injuries they caused you. Full Tort, on the other hand, gives you the full right to sue. We strongly recommend that everybody pay the very little difference in the premium and get Full Tort. In most cases, Limited Tort will prevent you from receiving any recovery for your pain and suffering as a result of an automobile accident. Over the years, we have become convinced that the few dollars saved now is just not worth it in the long run.
What can I recover from an automobile accident? Pennsylvania Law permits people injured by motor vehicle accidents to recover lost wages, including future loss of income, past and future medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, we have, in the past, seen many instances where individuals are in automobile accidents where they are presently laid off, or not working, and they fail to make of less income claims. We have been successful in making claims for loss of predicted or potential income, as well as losses of actual income. Do not let the insurance company tell you that since you were not employed on the day of the accident that you are not entitled any wage loss coverage or a potential earning loss claim. Call us to dicuss this very complicated, but extremely important item of damages and automobile accidents.
Property Damage: In most car accidents, there is some sort of property damage to the vehicle, telephone pole, guard rails, etc. Your insurance policy has a provision in it for payment of property damage(s). Don’t accept what the insurance company says the vehicle is worth without researching it on your own.
Non-obvious cause of automobile accidents: Everybody knows that car accidents can be caused by speeding, running stop signs and red lights, texting while driving and driving while under the influence, however, we have brought claims with far less obvious causes and have resulted in medicinal recovery. These non-common causes of car accidents are not any less real than the known causes of automobile accidents, but often end up requiring the recovery against different entities.
1. Road maintenance: pot holes, gravel, worn traffic lines are causes of automobile accidents that have resulted in recovery to individuals.
2. Improper signage: missing signs, signs that are obstructed by shrubbery or tree limbs, signs that are missing their reflective properties, signs that are mis-positioned and mislead drivers, and signs that are located in places where they should not be located. These are all cases that have resulted in recovery to injured motor vehicle occupants.
3. Construction zones: Unfortunately, the climate in our region results in roads that become in a state of disrepair. This commonly results in partial closures and lane cross-overs. Construction zones are not only dangerous to construction workers, but also to motor vehicle operators and passengers. Confusing, dark, and mis-signed construction zones are rampant with private construction companies and state agencies alike, and result in many fatal and serious injuries to workers and automobile occupants every year. If you or a loved one has been injured in a construction zone, it is of the utmost importance to document the location of each and every sign and barricade, to determine whether or not it is a properly signed and signaled construction zone.
4. Road maintenance (snow and ice): Although snow and ice can be unpreventable on Pennsylvania roads, that is not always the case. The government agencies and private companies have the duty and responsibility to act reasonable when it comes to maintaining our road system free of snow and ice. If you are injured as a result of icy roads, please call Woomer & Talarico to discuss your options.