Shaheen Wallace

FAQ

In Pennsylvania, you generally have two years from the date you were injured—or should have known that you were injured—to file a claim against the at-fault party. This two year time period is what is referred to as the statute of limitations.

If you do not file a claim within two years of the date of injury, you may be forever barred from bringing a claim in the future.

After a collision, it is recommended that you call the police to the scene of the crash and get a report filed. In some instances, if the cars are drivable and no one is visibly injured, the responding officer may not file a police report. If that happens, it is recommended that you call the department and have one filed yourself. The police report is often the first piece of paper that an insurance company will look at when they are determining fault and can be instrumental in your case.

The time it takes to resolve a personal injury case can depend on: (1) the investigation into the cause of the accident; (2) the time it takes to be discharged from treatment; and (3) litigation.

Attorneys take the investigation of a case very seriously because a poor investigation into the facts can spell disaster for the handling of your case.  A good attorney will want to collect evidence and speak to any witnesses to the incident and that can take some time.

Also, if someone is seriously injured, it can take several months to several years to recover from his or her injuries. Some people can recover completely from their injuries while others may have lasting damage for the rest of their lives.  Therefore, the full extent of your damages may not be known until your doctor has discharged you.

If your lawyer has to file a lawsuit to get full and fair justice, it can often take a year or more before your case goes to trial. Litigation is a slow process, but it is sometimes necessary to get the insurance companies to do right by you.

A case can be resolved quickly and in certain instances it can take a bit longer, but the goal is always to help injured victims get their lives back as best we can.

Historically, 98% of cases settle before trial, but at our office we prepare as if every case will go to trial.

The value of your case is determined by the seriousness and permanency of your injury, any actual and expected cost for medical treatment, any actual and expected lost wages, and a host of non-economic damages (pain, suffering, scarring, loss of enjoyment of life, embarrassment, etc.).

The value of your claim is not an answer we can provide to you at the beginning of your representation, but historical verdicts and settlements can give us an idea as to what to expect.

Witnesses are very important in cases where liability is disputed. Very often the only witnesses to an incident are the parties involved. When that is the case, liability rests on the believability of one person over the other. With the testimony of an independent witness (a witness with no personal connection to either party), it can make all the difference in your case.

At this office, we have yet to see an insurance company proffer a settlement offer that was even close to the fair value of the claim without being pressured by us.

If you are involved in a hit and run and are unable to get the insurance information for the car that hit you, you can turn to your own car insurance to collect Uninsured Motorist benefits for your injury.

Limited tort is an insurance option that “limits” what you can recover in the event you are injured in a collision. With limited tort insurance, you are generally limited to collecting lost wages and out of pocket medical bills, though there are some exceptions.

Full tort insurance allows you to collect lost wages, out of pocket expenses and the myriad non-economic damages that are available under the law.

Social media does matter. So much of our lives is public and what we post online are usually the highlights of our day. In a personal injury case, the insurance company will want access to your social media to find away to use it against you. It is not unheard of for the insurance company to find a picture of you smiling in order to say “there is no claim for emotional distress. Look at her smiling!”

So keep your social media private.

If the person injured in an incident is a minor, there are particular rules that apply, both to the statute of limitations and to any potential recovery they may receive.

For a minor, their two-year statute of limitations clock does not begin to run until they turn 18, which means that hey have until they turn 20 to file a claim. As for any potential recovery that a minor may receive, it will require approval by the court and will have to be deposited into a special account for them until they turn 18 years old.

In Pennsylvania, our car insurance has “no-fault coverage.” Under this coverage, regardless of who causes the car accident, our own car insurance pays for the first $5,000 worth of medical bills.

While this may not make sense at first, the reason is simple: so you can get treated for your injuries right away.

If there was no “no-fault coverage” you would spend months fighting with the other side to pay your medical bills and would never get the help you actually needed. So, in order to avoid these disputes and get you to a doctor right away, the law says that you report your injury to your car insurance and they pay your first $5,000 of bills.

If you are injured in a car, your car insurance pays the first $5,000 worth of medical bills. If and when the $5,000 is exhausted, your health insurer will pay the rest of the bills.

If your health insurer pays for your medical bills because you were hurt by someone else, they may have a right to a lien against any future settlement.

For example, if your insurance pays $10,000 for your bills, and you get a recovery of $100,000, the insurer can assert a lien for that $10,000.

Our office will attempt to negotiate down the lien so that the insurer would accept a reduced amount to allow you to net more, should there be a recovery in your case.

If you are injured on someone’s property, the first thing to do is to call for medical help. The next thing you should do is to report it to the property owner.

Premises liability cases are different than car and truck crashes because the property owner’s liability will be dependent on your status on the property.

For example, if you enter a store to buy something, you are a “business invitee” and the store owes a higher duty to make sure their property is safe. The property owner actually needs to actively check to make sure there are no dangerous conditions on their property. If you are an “intruder” however, a property owner’s duty of care to you is not that high.

So, if you find yourself injured on someone’s property, call our office so we can determine your status and pursue your claim.

A car accident is often violent and unexpected, especially if we are struck from behind. And when we are rear-ended, we automatically assume that the driver behind us is at fault. But is that always the case

In most rear-end accidents, determining who is at fault is fairly easy. It’s usually the person in the rear.  Most rear-end accidents we see occur when a driver is at a stoplight, stop sign or waiting to merge.

So what does this mean for safe driving practices?

In Pennsylvania, the law requires drivers to not follow someone closer than is reasonable and you have to have due regard for the speed of the car and the condition of the road.

So, for example, if you are doing 70mph on a highway, it may not be reasonable to only have two feet between your car and the one in front of you—in the event we need to suddenly stop; whereas, if you are in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you may not have a choice but to be quite close to other cars.

The law also requires that we pay attention to the speed of the vehicles in front of us, as well as pay attention to the condition of the road. Cars going 70 mph in an empty lane on dry pavement will stop easier than a car doing 50 mph on icy pavement.

Finally, the law puts the responsibility on the driver in the rear to pay attention to what’s in front of them, because in the event of an accident, the most important questions that the driver will have to answer are: (1) Were you following closer than was reasonable and (2) were you minding the speed and condition of the road?

So if you are stopped at a red light, stop sign or an intersection and you are rear-ended, it’s often the person who rear-ended you who is at fault. However, you will need to speak to an experienced attorney just to be sure, especially if you were injured in the rear-end accident. If you would like to speak to an attorney, you can call, text, or schedule a free consultation with us through our website. We have helped many clients just like you recover full and fair compensation for their injuries. 

Everyone hates dealing with repairing their damaged car after getting into an accident. People often ask: how can I get my car fixed? Who will pay for the repairs? Do I need a lawyer to represent me?

If you were not injured in the car accident, fortunately for you, you do not need a lawyer. You will be able to go through the property damage claim yourself, and it is usually a fast and easy process compared to a claim for personal injury. However, dealing with car repairs after an accident can be stressful and confusing. People are often worried about being able to get everything paid for. The insurance company will usually look at the following to determine what your claim is worth:

  • Cost of repairs are needed for your car
  • Cost of rental car and towing 
  • The market value of your car if it is totaled

Usually, the party at fault and their insurance policy will cover the repairs of your vehicle. However, if the person at fault does not have any insurance, or if their insurance is not enough to cover the cost of repair, you can get your own insurance policy to cover it for you.

TO MAKE SURE YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM GOES SMOOTHLY, IT IS IMPORTANT TO DO THE FOLLOWING:

  1. Report the car accident to the police and have them fill out an official police report, even if your car was parked when it got hit and the person who hit it left the scene. The report will document all the information necessary to make a claim with your or the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
  2. Take pictures of the damage to your car.
  3. Report the accident and damage to your own insurance company. They will usually handle the property damage claim for you. They will reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and get them to pay for your car repair. 

WHAT IF I WAS INJURED IN THE CAR ACCIDENT?

If you were also injured in the car accident, it is important to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible. Do not give any statements to any insurance company without speaking to a personal injury attorney first, or you could compromise your potential case. 

We are here to help you if you are injured in a car crash and do not know where to go from here. We understand that at this time, you may be stressed, scared, and worried about your bills or the time off work. This is why we make communication easy; you can call us, text us, or schedule a free consultation through our website. We have helped many injury clients like you get full and fair compensation for their damages.