Car Accidents


Car accidents are a common occurrence on the roadways in the United States. In the United States, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel,

  • Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year
  • An additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled
  • Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year
  • Nearly 8,000 people are killed in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20
  • Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person
  • Road crashes are the single greatest annual cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens traveling abroad

Every 12 minutes someone dies because of a motor vehicle crash; there is a disabling injury every 14 seconds. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 1 to 33. Although most car accidents are due to operator error, automobile defects are a common cause of car accidents as well.

Based on the odds, it is likely you have been or will be involved in an auto accident at some time in your life. For this reason, it is important to understand your rights and legal options after a vehicle accident has occurred.

After an accident, try to stay calm. If you have a phone, call the police. If not, ask someone else to call them. If the police refuse to respond, (which is becoming a more frequent occurrence), gather as much information as you can about the other vehicle (color, make, model, license plate number) as well as the name, address, telephone number and insurance information for the driver of the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident. Try to obtain contact information for the passengers and any witnesses. If you have a camera or cell phone, take pictures of the vehicles involved and the accident scene.

Do not refuse medical attention simply because you don’t have medical insurance. Pennsylvania is a "no-fault state." Typically this means that the auto insurance company covering the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident will cover your medical bills and lost wages, up to the policy limits, regardless of who was at fault. PA Law prevents a car insurance company from increasing your rates after paying your medical bills.

You need to report the claim to your insurance company as soon as possible. Tell the agent where the accident happened, when, with whom, whether there is a police report, if anyone was injured, what damage was done to your vehicle, the location of your vehicle and that is it! Do not talk about anything else at this point. Do not agree to give the agent a recorded statement at this time. Do not sign any documents. Do not admit fault in any way. Anything you say at this time may be used against you in the future.

If your vehicle was damaged and the other driver has conceded fault, you may have the option of having your own insurance company pay for the repairs (if you have collision coverage) or going through the other driver’s insurance company. Sometimes, because of the hoops that the third-party insurance company will make you jump through, it is preferable to have your vehicle repaired through your own insurance company. Often repairs covered by your own insurance company are completed more quickly. The downside is you will probably have to pay your deductible and wait to be reimbursed later. If you use your own insurance coverage, you may be entitled to a daily dollar amount for a rental car (if you have rental car coverage). If you don’t have rental car coverage, you will have to pay for the rental vehicle and wait to be reimbursed.

If you were injured in an accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your pain and suffering as well as your loss of ability to fulfill your daily activities. This will depend on a variety of issues, including your tort option, the severity of your injuries and the amount of your medical bills. You may also be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, loss of income, and property damage.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact our experienced attorneys today for your free consultation.

The information contained herein is dedicated to providing public information regarding Family Law issues in Pennsylvania. None of the information on this site is intended to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of attorney client relationship. Please contact our law firm for information regarding your particular case. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.