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 honest answer is: it depends. If your injury resolves quickly and there is no permanency, it can resolve sooner than most. However, if the injuries are severe and treatment is expected to take some time, it can take a year or more before your case can go to trial.

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.