Assisting With Car Accident Claims In Pittsburgh

First-Party Benefits

Driving an automobile has been proven to be the most dangerous thing that most people do on a daily basis. Pennsylvania is a major trucking route making the danger even higher. Injuries caused by moving vehicle accidents can range from mild to severe to catastrophic.

All accidents of any size are disruptive and stressful. Pennsylvania has a comprehensive, and confusing, statute that controls the rights of individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents. You would be well-served to consult an auto accident lawyer for guidance with maneuvering through the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act.

With that in mind, a brief overview is offered. Medical expenses incurred as the result of a motor vehicle accident are paid by your own insurance policy. A benefit paid by your own policy is referred to as a first-party benefit. The so-called “no fault” nomenclature associated with Pennsylvania motor vehicle law applies only to first-party medical payments.

These medical benefits are paid by each individual’s policy regardless of fault. This system eliminated the emergency room battles where health care professionals were required to enter the fault debate in order to determine how to get paid. Payment of a first-party benefit does not cause insurance premiums to be raised. You also have the ability to purchase additional first-party benefits, including lost wage and funeral benefit payments.

Third-Party Benefits

When it comes to making a recovery for damages beyond medical expenses, the Pennsylvania system is fault-based. In other words, an injured party must prove that the other driver was careless in order to be awarded compensation. Money recovered from another driver is referred to as “third-party benefits”. Under Pennsylvania law all drivers are required to purchase third-party liability insurance to cover injuries they may cause when utilizing their vehicle. Unfortunately, the Pennsylvania legislature has established a minimum of only $15,000. Obviously, that amount is woefully inadequate in a serious trucking or car accident.

Underinsured And Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Because of this inadequacy, drivers are afforded the opportunity to purchase underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. These benefits are activated when another driver with no insurance or inadequate insurance is at fault for your injuries.

While it seems unfair (and indeed it is unfair) that you must purchase insurance to compensate you when someone else is at fault, it is much more unfair to be seriously injured and have no additional insurance available. As such underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage is highly recommended.

You also have the ability to stack coverage for each and every vehicle insured on a policy. When the stacking option is purchased, the limits of insurance are multiplied by the number of vehicles covered. So for example, a policy with $100,000 in underinsured motorist limits covering three vehicles provides a total of $300,000 in coverage.


Limited Tort Option

The limited tort option was established the Pennsylvania legislature in order to provide low-cost insurance. While limited tort insurance premium discounts are certainly significant, the rights given away in order to purchase the insurance are even more significant. With few exceptions (out-of-state at-fault driver, driver convicted of felony including DUI, and serious injury), a limited tort driver surrenders the right to pursue all noneconomic damages. Thus, the injured limited tort victim will have medical bills and economic damages covered but receive nothing for pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, or loss of life’s pleasure.

By way of example, an individual horribly facially disfigured who can continue to work following an auto accident will probably receive no money for the suffering they will endure. Many people may have no option other than limited tort coverage. Selection of the limited tort option can also limit the rights of relatives who reside in the same household with you. If you have any option, please think long and hard about this decision. You may also call or email our office for a free consultation on the limited tort selection.

Dealing With Insurance Companies

Regardless of what you may be told, retaining a trucking or auto accident attorney will not cost you more money than it is worth. You should not think for one second that the insurance company is on your side or is acting in your best interest. Insurance companies and their adjustors are driven by profits. The more money they save on paying your legitimate claim, the better for them!

Before you sign ANY documents or agree to settle your claim, call or email our offices for a free, no-obligation consultation with our auto accident lawyers. If the insurance company has made you a fair and reasonable offer, our trucking and auto accident lawyers in Pittsburgh will gladly tell you so.

If you would like one of our personal injury attorneys to review your case, contact our Pittsburgh office at 412-281-4200 and make arrangements for a free consultation.

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