It is no surprise that devastating injuries can result when tons of metal collide at high speeds. Unfortunately, it is not easy to understand the legal maze of your own auto insurance policy and your rights for a fair recovery. The attorneys of Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer can guide you through that maze and represent you, as we have represented the victims of car accidents for over fifty years.
Car accidents frequently involve just two parties: our clients and those who injured them because of unsafe driving. A Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer attorney not only helped write Pennsylvania auto law for these types of accidents, but he also wrote the book explaining the law to other attorneys.
To achieve positive results for our clients, we work with accident reconstructionists, highway design engineers, trucking safety experts, and leading industry specialists. When it’s time to explain an accident to a jury, we develop advanced computer animations that make the truth very clear.
Suffering serious injuries in a car accident because of the actions of another person or company can be devastating. After an accident, you may face increasing medical expenses, combined with lost pay and other financial losses. These added stresses can make it harder for you to recover from your injuries. If you have lost a loved one in a car accident that was caused by someone else, you may be facing substantial losses while you are trying to grieve.
At Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer, our auto accident attorneys advocate for each of our clients to recover damages in amounts that will fairly compensate them for all of their losses. We can handle the negotiations and legal process for you so that you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries.
What to do after an accident
Most people are confused about what they should do when they are involved in car accidents with other drivers. People may feel a rush of adrenaline and heightened emotions that make it difficult for them to know how to react. There are several steps that you should take immediately after you have been in an accident with an at-fault driver that can help to protect your rights.
After an accident, call the police and stay at the scene. If you leave the accident scene, you may be charged with a crime even if you were not at fault in its cause. Check yourself and others for injuries. Be sure to exchange information with the other driver. You should get his or her name and contact information, insurance information, and registration information. If the other driver is hostile, wait for the police and ask the officers to get the information for you. If/when the police arrive at the scene, be sure to collect the officers’ names and contact information, so that you can later obtain a copy of the police report.
If anyone saw what happened, get the witnesses’ names, phone numbers, emails, and addresses. You should take pictures of the damage to both of the vehicles involved and of the accident scene. It is always best to capture other details which may be relevant such as photographs of traffic lights, the location of both vehicles, speed limit signs, and tire skid marks.
If you are injured, you should seek immediate medical attention. Sometimes, with your adrenaline running, it can be difficult to assess your own physical condition. Even if you are unsure if you have been injured, you should still see your doctor for an examination. The symptoms of certain injuries might not show for hours or days. Seeking immediate medical attention can help to identify injuries that you might be unaware of while providing a causal link between the accident and your injuries. Early medical/surgical treatment can be crucial for both your physical recovery and the strength of a personal injury car accident claim.
After you have sought medical attention, you should contact the attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer as soon as possible. Getting help early in your case can provide your lawyer with more time to investigate while helping to prevent critical evidence from being lost as time passes.
How our auto accident lawyers can help
If you are injured in a car accident, you may have to deal with debilitating injuries and income losses while simultaneously being burdened with unexpected costs. A lawyer can assist you in demanding compensation from the insurance company in an amount to pay for all of your losses.
Our team of attorneys will thoroughly investigate your potential case to determine liability and to figure out what happened. We may work with accident reconstruction experts to better understand what happened in the moments leading up to the accident and essential information such as the relative speeds of both vehicles. Our attorneys take advantage of our extensive resources and their legal knowledge during their investigations.
We work closely with our clients to understand how their lives have been impacted. We will help you understand the process of a potential lawsuit – including the possibility of a settlement or a trial; and what you could potentially receive as compensation. Our team of attorneys works with medical and other experts to determine the losses that you might face – now and in the future – because of the accident.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are too low to pay for your losses adequately, we understand how to seek compensation from your own insurance company through an uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance claim. We have a goal of identifying all of the potentially liable parties that should be named in a lawsuit to maximize the recovery amounts for our clients. When multiple parties share fault for an auto accident, each party may be liable to pay a percentage of the damages.
Our attorneys understand the importance of experts in proving auto accident claims. We frequently retain experts to help us reconstruct what happened in the accident and to understand the extent and severity of the injuries and the likelihood of recovery. We also work with financial experts who can calculate the economic impact that an accident may have on our clients and the amount of income that a person who died would likely have earned if he or she had lived. Working with appropriate experts can help us to support your claim for damages and to increase the likelihood that you will receive a fair settlement or jury verdict award.
Once retained, we immediately start working on your behalf. We contact the insurance companies to notify them of our representation. From that point forward, we will handle all communications with the insurance companies, and they will communicate with your lawyer instead of repeatedly calling you. After evaluating your claim, we will send a demand letter to the company that outlines the legal claims and the damages that you are demanding from it. The company may accept or deny the demand.
In some cases, the company may make a counteroffer. We understand what it takes to secure the maximum possible settlements for our clients. We also know the common tactics and defense strategies that insurance companies use against our clients to reduce the amounts that they might have to pay.
Many auto accident claims can be settled out of court. In some cases, your claim may be settled without ever filing a lawsuit. However, if the insurance companies deny liability or refuse to extend a fair settlement offer, our attorneys are ready to defend your rights. We are have decades of experience as litigators who prepare every case as if it is headed for trial, and we are ready to argue to protect our clients in court vigorously.
Liability in an auto accident
Determining liability in an auto accident is critical to the outcome of a case. Multiple factors may contribute to the cause of an auto accident. Potential causes of an accident might include the following:
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- DWI or DUI
- Distracted driving
- Texting while driving
- Aggressive driving
- Road rage
- Erratic lane changes
- Drowsy driving
- Poor repairs and maintenance
- Road defects and debris
- Defective car parts
After identifying the causes, our attorneys can then work to determine who may be liable. For example, if the at-fault driver borrowed the vehicle from someone else, the person who loaned it to him or her may be liable for lending the car to a driver that they knew was a negligent driver. Mechanics who improperly repaired mechanical problems on a car that contributed to the accident may be liable to pay damages. The manufacturers of defective car parts may also be liable for the defects that contributed to the accident. Entities that are responsible for maintaining and repairing the roads may also hold liability. Finally, both drivers may share some of the liability in a car accident.
When an accident injury victim is partially at fault, his or her contributory negligence will not serve as a bar to the recovery of damages. Pennsylvania has a modified comparative fault law. Under this law, the jury determines the percentage of liability that each party holds in an accident. If a plaintiff is assigned a percentage of the fault, his or her damages award may be reduced by that percentage. Each party that is allocated a percentage of the fault in an accident will be responsible for paying the corresponding percentage of the gross verdict award.
Damages in an auto accident claim
The monetary compensation amounts that may be available to you will depend on several factors. Since the facts and circumstances of every case are different, an attorney will need to evaluate your claim while taking into consideration all of the various factors.
Two primary categories of compensatory damages may be recoverable in an auto accident lawsuit, including general and special damages. Special damages are monetary amounts that are awarded to compensate you for your actual economic losses and include the following types:
- Past and future medical costs
- Past and future income losses
- Property losses
- Funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death cases
- Cost of a deceased person’s medical care from the time of the accident until his or her death
- Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death cases
General damages are monetary amounts that are awarded to compensate you for your noneconomic losses and include the following types:
- physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of your ability to enjoy life
- Loss of consortium, support, or guidance in wrongful death claims
The third type of damages that is available in some cases is punitive damages. This type of damages is intended to serve as a punishment for the liable driver. Punitive damages are usually awarded in cases in which the defendant’s behavior was particularly outrageous. Your attorney can explain whether the facts of your case might support your ability to recover a punitive damages award.
Contact the attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer.
The attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer strongly believe that people who are injured because of the negligent actions of others deserve to be fully compensated for their losses. We are strong advocates for the rights of our clients and work hard to recover maximum compensation for each one. To learn more about how we might help you and about your potential claim, contact Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer today for a free case evaluation by filling out our online contact form or calling us at 800.535.1797.
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