Philadelphia, a vibrant and bustling city, is known for its historical landmarks, diverse culture, and thriving communities. However, along with its many attributes, the City of Brotherly Love also experiences a significant number of traffic accidents. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, understanding what to do when you're involved in a traffic accident in Philadelphia is crucial. In this post, we'll discuss the prevalence of traffic accidents in the city, the immediate steps to take after an accident, key Philadelphia traffic laws, and the invaluable role of a personal injury lawyer from van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim.
Prevalence of Traffic Accidents in Philadelphia
Philadelphia, as one of the largest cities on the East Coast, experiences a high volume of traffic. This bustling environment, combined with factors like distracted driving, speeding, and adverse weather conditions, contributes to a significant number of traffic accidents.
According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were over 19,000 reportable traffic accidents in Philadelphia in 2021. These accidents resulted in numerous injuries and, tragically, loss of life. The impact of these accidents goes far beyond the physical injuries, affecting the emotional and financial well-being of those involved.
While no one plans to be involved in a traffic accident, it's essential to be prepared for such situations. Understanding what to do immediately following an accident can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
Immediate Steps to Take
1. Ensure Safety
The safety of all parties involved should be the top priority. If you can, move your vehicle to a safe location to prevent further accidents. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers, and if possible, set up warning triangles or cones.
2. Check for Injuries
Assess yourself and others for injuries. Even seemingly minor injuries can escalate, so it's crucial to seek medical assistance promptly. Call 911 immediately, even if no one appears injured.
3. Exchange Information
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party or parties involved in the accident. Gather names, phone numbers, insurance policy details, and license plate numbers. This information will be essential when filing insurance claims or seeking legal action.
4. Document the Scene
Take pictures of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, license plates, and any relevant road signs or signals. These photos can serve as valuable evidence later on. Additionally, note the date, time, and weather conditions at the time of the accident.
5. Contact the Police
In all cases, contact the police and file a report, even for seemingly minor accidents. A police report can provide an unbiased account of the incident, which may be crucial when dealing with insurance companies or pursuing legal action.
6. Talk to Witnesses
If there are any witnesses to the accident, gather their contact information. Witnesses can provide crucial testimony if the facts of the accident are disputed later on.
Pennsylvania Traffic Laws: A Quick Overview
Pennsylvania has specific traffic laws and regulations that drivers must adhere to. Understanding these laws can help protect your rights and interests after a traffic accident.
1. Comparative Negligence
Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence system. This means that each party involved in an accident can be assigned a percentage of fault. If you are found to be partially at fault, your compensation may be reduced by that percentage. Having a skilled personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of comparative negligence.
2. No-Fault Insurance
Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state. This means you will initially turn to your insurance company for compensation for medical bills and other expenses, regardless of who was at fault. However, you will be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
3. Statute of Limitations
In Pennsylvania, you have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit after a traffic accident. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. Failing to file within this time frame will result in losing your right to compensation.
4. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In Pennsylvania, auto insurance policies must offer you uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage can be invaluable if you're involved in an accident with a driver who lacks insurance or sufficient coverage. When purchasing your policy, always select uninsured and underinsured coverage.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer
Dealing with the aftermath of a traffic accident can be a complex and challenging process, especially if you've suffered injuries. This is where a personal injury lawyer from van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim can step in to assist and guide you through the legal aspects of your case.
1. Investigating the Accident
Experienced personal injury lawyers have the resources and knowledge to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident. They will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and work with accident reconstruction experts to determine the cause of the accident and establish liability.
2. Evaluating Damages
Determining the full extent of your damages is not always straightforward. Your lawyer will work with medical professionals to assess your injuries and future medical needs. They will also calculate other losses, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.
3. Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies often try to minimize their payouts. Personal injury lawyers have experience negotiating with insurance adjusters to ensure that you receive fair compensation. They can handle the legal paperwork, communicate with the insurer, and protect your rights throughout the process.
4. Pursuing Legal Action
If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. They will represent your interests in court, presenting evidence and arguments to seek the compensation you deserve.
5. Handling Legal Complexities
The legal process can be complex, with numerous rules and deadlines. Your lawyer will navigate these complexities on your behalf, ensuring that you meet all necessary requirements and protect your rights throughout the process.
6. Providing Peace of Mind
Perhaps most importantly, a personal injury lawyer can provide you with peace of mind during a difficult time. They will guide you through the legal process, answer your questions, and ensure that you understand your options and rights. This support can be invaluable as you focus on your recovery.
Contact an Experienced Traffic Accident Lawyer at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim for a Free Consultation About Your Case Today
Philadelphia's bustling streets can be a hotspot for traffic accidents, and knowing what to do when you're injured in such an incident is essential. Taking immediate steps to ensure safety, document the scene, and gather information is crucial. Understanding the city's traffic laws, such as comparative negligence, no-fault insurance, and the statute of limitations, is also important.
However, the complexities of the legal process and the potential disputes with insurance companies make it highly advisable to seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim are experienced in handling personal injury cases in Philadelphia, and they can provide the guidance and representation you need.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident in Philadelphia, don't hesitate to seek legal assistance. Contact van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim for a free case evaluation. Our dedicated team is ready to help you navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation you deserve. Your rights matter, and we're here to protect them.