Our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers will fight for car accident injury victims to ensure they get the compensation they deserve. Jim McEldrew is a trial attorney that has been representing individuals with serious medical injuries for more than 30 years. Jim McEldrew is a Past President of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association
If you need an auto accident lawyer following severe or catastrophic injuries in a car crash, please contact Jim McEldrew for a free initial consultation. We represent PA residents in traffic accidents on a contingency fee basis – there is no fee unless we recover money.
Car Accident Recoveries
Every car insurance policy written for a vehicle in PA must provide at least $5000 in medical benefits for the driver and passengers in the car. If you are traveling in a vehicle registered in this state with valid insurance, the insurance will at least pay the first $5,000 in medical bills. After that amount, you and your health insurance company (if any) will pay for the costs. If the other driver was at fault, then you will have a potential lawsuit seeking coverage from his or her insurance company and/or the driver.
Wage loss benefits are an optional item offered to drivers in Pennsylvania when they select their insurance. If you selected it, it will pay up to 80% of the wages you lost. If you did not select it and it is determined that the other driver is at fault, you may be able to seek coverage from the other driver for your lost income.
Loss of Consortium
Spouses and some family members are able to seek compensation for their own injuries when a family member is killed or seriously injured by the wrongful acts of another person. The compensation is provided to them for loss of love, companionship or sexual relations with the injured person.
Pain and Suffering
Damages for an accident victim’s pain and suffering is available in PA if an individual selected full tort on their insurance coverage or one of the legal exceptions to the limited tort selection applies.
Types of Injuries
Motor vehicle crashes are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury is a blow, bump or other impact to the head that disrupts normal brain function. It is a major cause of death and disability, accounting for 30% of all injury deaths. Mild TBIs are commonly called concussions.
A neck strain due to whiplash is a common result of accidents. It is caused when there is a forward or backward jerking motion of the head in a car accident. A cervical radiculopathy, or a pinched nerve, can happen during an accident when there is irritation to a nerve in the cervical spine. It may happen when, for example, the head of an individual hits the windshield.
The most severe back injuries relate to the spinal cord. A damaged spinal cord and nerves can lead to long term disability including paralysis, loss of feeling, or other medical issues. Thoracic spine and lumbar spine injuries may result in permanent nerve damage, pain and limitations on movement. A herniated disc can also result from an auto accident. This can result in sudden pain in the lower back or numbness in the legs.
Serious facial injuries can result from shattered glass, airbag deployment or impact with the steering wheel or other object in the car.
We did not detail all of the potential injuries that could happen to an individual here. For example, we left knee pain, amputations and disfigurement off the list.
Types of Accidents
On highways, motor vehicles traveling at high rates of speed for the conditions may result in a deadly accident where several cars crash at the same time. In one of the worst forms due to ice, snow or fog, trucks and cars proceeding into the area can not see that traffic has stopped until it is too late and oncoming traffic continues to crash into the nearest stopped vehicles. Some accidents on highways have resulted in more than 100 cars and trucks crashing into each other.
A vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed or on a turn may flip into its side or the roof. Some vehicles, such as SUVs, are considered to be at a greater risk of rolling over due to a high center of gravity.
The injuries to individuals in cars that are moving toward each other, such as when one car is traveling the wrong way on a road, can be extremely serious or fatal when the front of both cars collide.
Side Impact Collisions
These accidents occur when the front or rear of one vehicle impacts the side of another car or truck. Vehicle occupants on the side that is struck are often most severely injured in these accidents.
Only one vehicle is involved in these types of accidents. They may occur when a car swerves off the road or onto the shoulder and hits a telephone pole, tree, fire hydrant, building or even
A traffic accident where the front of one car crashes into the rear of the other car are often caused by sudden braking or distracted driving. The car in the rear is frequently considered to be at fault.
Important PA Insurance Selections
Full or Limited Tort?
Pennsylvania offers car owners the option of selecting either limited or full tort coverage on their auto insurance. Limited tort is cheaper but does not allow you to receive certain damages, such as pain and suffering, unless the injuries meet one of the exceptions in the law. Full tort coverage allows you the ability to bring a lawsuit against a negligent individual without restricted rights. The policyholder is able to sue for both unreimbursed economic losses as well as pain and suffering regardless of the severity of the injuries.
The selection of limited torts applies to any named insured on the policy as well as certain other individuals considered insureds under the policy such as a spouse, relative or minor residing in the same household. This option has been available since 1990, when the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law required insurers of private passenger motor vehicles to offer the option as a cost saving measure for policyholders.
The exceptions to limited tort in Pennsylvania are cases of serious injury, certain drunk drivers, commercial vehicles and out-of-state vehicles. If one of these exceptions applies, full tort coverage is available to the policyholder even if they selected limited tort. Serious injuries include cases of death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement. Injuries in accident with drunk drivers become full tort if they are convicted of a DUI or enter ARD.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage
Insurance companies in Pennsylvania will offer car owners the option to purchase additional insurance to cover car accidents with uninsured and underinsured drivers. If you have purchased this insurance coverage, your provider will pay the difference between the other person’s insurance and the full value of the amount that you are owed. If you have a traffic accident with a person that does not have adequate automobile coverage
Why wouldn’t a person have adequate car insurance? Pennsylvania law only requires that an individual have certain amounts of coverage. For bodily injury liability, the minimum amount is $15,000/$30,000. This means that the insurance company will pay the medical expenses and damages of at most $15,000 if the policyholder injures someone in an accident. As you can imagine, $15,000 in medical bills would not even begin to scratch the surface on a serious injury.
If you did not add this coverage and your claims exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits, your ability to recover for them may be dependent on whether it is possible to recover the additional money from the driver. If they do not have sufficient assets to pay you for the damages, and you are not covered by any other insurance policy, you may be out of luck.
If you have selected UM and/or UIM coverage, your insurance company will be responsible for compensating you for your injuries. They may decide to demand proof of your losses and challenge your claims.
We can evaluate your insurance policy to determine whether you have UM or UIM coverage, whether you have made a proper waiver of it if you did not select it, and whether insurance coverage is available from any other policies. If you need assistance getting your insurance policy to cover you under your selection of UM or UIM coverage, please also contact us.
Looking for an Auto Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia?
GET A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY AT McELDREW YOUNG CONCERNING YOUR INJURIES FOLLOWING A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT:
About McEldrew Young
Our trial attorneys are ready to litigate on your behalf. They have handled thousands of oral arguments, mediations, arbitrations and jury trials. James J. McEldrew, III is a Past President of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association. He has an extensive set of contacts with local and national physicians in order to line up medical experts concerning your injuries.
Against Big Business
Our lawyers have sued some of the largest health care companies, insurance companies, local hospitals and other corporations both in the local area and nationally. We may be a small team but we carefully select cases so that we have the resources to litigate them properly and we are not allocating our time to a case that we don’t think we have a shot of winning.
For Individuals & Families
We represent our personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that there is no upfront cost to hire us and you owe nothing to us unless we receive a recovery for you. We know that litigation is expensive and our clients generally don’t have the money to front the cost to take a case to trial. Our personal injury practice consists largely of the representation of individuals and families in the five counties that make up the Philadelphia area, including Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester counties.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much is My Case Worth?
Every case is different and there is no typical injury case. The value of a lawsuit is dependent on your injuries, the cost of medical treatment, the length of the recovery, and any lost wages, to name a few things. There is even the possibility that your case has no value. Your rights to recover may be limited based on where the accident happened, insurance contracts or certain other laws that limit lawsuits.
The value of your case may also depend on information that is not in our possession, including the financial resources of the Defendant and the limits of their insurance policy. Additionally, the state of the law may change between now and the time your case is actually litigated. There could be important court rulings which would raise or lower the value of your case in terms of a potential settlement or jury verdict.
How Long Will it Take for Me to Get Paid?
Lawsuits are unfortunately not a quick solution. Although there are some times in which a client is lucky and a settlement is reached quickly, this is fairly rare. The typical case will take months or even years to reach a settlement or other disposition. If you have been injured in an accident, settlement is typically delayed until your medical treatment is finished as the costs for it will be included in the. A recalcitrant defendant, extended discovery or legal appeals can push any resolution out further.