Car accidents can upset and overwhelm anyone—and always leave massively expensive medical bills behind. If an accident injured you, you may feel at a loss for how best to move your case forward—and when to expect it to conclude. An experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer will help ensure the fair compensation for your damages in a timely manner. Car insurance laws in Pennsylvania are somewhat unique to this state, so it may help to develop a basic understanding of how the process works.
No-Fault Car Insurance
When it comes to car insurance, Pennsylvania implements a no-fault insurance system with a twist—called “Choice.” As such, you, as an insured driver, have the choice of whether to purchase a less-expensive no-fault car insurance policy or a traditional car insurance policy that’s based on driver liability. Under no-fault insurance coverage, your car insurance company is responsible for covering your damages in a car accident, but your policy will only cover economic damages and will not factor in pain and suffering. There are, however, exceptions built into this system to accommodate for what the law considers a “serious injury.”
It goes against your best interest to assume that your car insurance company’s top priority is your fair compensation. On the contrary, insurance companies are in the business of turning a profit, which means minimizing their payouts by whatever means they can get away with—including denying or delaying your settlement. If a car accident injured you—regardless of the kind of car insurance you carry—you need experienced legal counsel. The dedicated car accident attorneys at The Levin Firm in Philadelphia have the experience, skill, and commitment to effectively and efficiently guide your claim toward its best possible resolution.
Statute of Limitations
First, consider Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, you have exactly two years from the date of your accident to file a suit for personal injury and property damage. Consult an experienced car accident attorney as soon you can after your accident to better protect your claim. Two years may seem like a long time, but a lot of work needs to go into a successful claim, and that time can slip by before you know it.
Your Case’s Timeline
Every car accident case is unique, which means that it’s nearly impossible to predict how long your car accident case will take to fully conclude. Some claims settle relatively quickly—within a few months or even weeks—while others can take much longer. Your car accident lawyer will endeavor to move your claim forward as efficiently as possible while also protecting your best interests. Furthermore, specific elements of a car accident claim can prolong the process.
One of the most significant elements of any car accident claim is the kind and severity of injury you’ve endured. While some injuries follow a fairly obvious path (such as fractured bones typically do), other common, if less predictable, injuries require careful assessments before you can calculate just compensation. Such injuries include whiplash and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
If you suffered such injuries, your health should reach your “maximum medical improvement” (MMI), which refers to your fullest recovery, before you consider negotiating your claim.
Because whiplash injuries and TBIs are so closely related to lengthier car-accident timelines, it’s worth taking a closer look at them.
Whiplash. When your head whips back and forth on your neck (much like the cracking of a whip), it can cause whiplash, a soft-tissue injury of the neck. Rear-end car accidents often lead to whiplash, but any kind of car accident will do—even accidents that occur at slower speeds. Whiplash can present instantaneous symptoms, or its symptoms can develop with time. The pain and diminished range-of-neck-motion associated with a whiplash injury can vary from mild to severe, and these injuries resolve quickly or remain for years (or even the rest of your life). In other words, never minimize or discount whiplash. Your health and your rights are too important to leave to chance—or to an insurance company.
Traumatic brain injuries. A TBI is caused by brain damage, such as commonly happens in car accidents. Your brain is your central command center, and even a seemingly minor injury can leave long-lasting, highly unpredictable physical and emotional consequences. Where a TBI will lead is anyone’s guess, so it’s critical that a doctor fully and accurately assesses the consequences of your injury before your attorney proceeds with your car accident claim.
A TBI can cause immense physical damage, altered mental functioning, chronic seizures, altered language abilities, and defective sensory perception—including to your senses of hearing and smell. This all significantly contributes to what makes you uniquely you, and a TBI that changes these things can exacerbate the psychological and emotional effects of such an injury. The damages associated with traumatic brain injuries are difficult to overstate.
If you’re injured in a car accident—regardless of the type of injury— you’re likely to face a range of medical expenses:
- Emergency transportation from the accident scene
- Emergency treatments
- Surgeries and aftercare
- Treatments and care from your doctor, specialists, surgeons, and therapists
- Follow-up care and ongoing care
- Prescription medications
- Adaptive medical devices
- Home adaptations
The expenses associated with a car accident can add up quickly. Obtaining compensation for the injuries that someone else’s negligence caused can at least help pay for those costs.
If a Car Accident Injured You, Consult a Skilled Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
If a car accident injured you, you’re likely to ask many questions—not the least of which is, “How long until you can resolve my claim?”
While every car accident claim is unique and no lawyer can provide an exact answer, an experienced car accident lawyer will help you better understand your case’s probable timeline and will help efficiently guide your claim toward just resolution. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we have the experience, commitment, and compassion to help you obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at (215) 825-5183 today.