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Tips for Filing Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuits

September 25, 2017

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Reckless drivers in Pennsylvania cause thousands of major auto accidents each year, even while fatal accidents are on the decline. Many of the responsible drivers could have prevented the crash but chose to drive drunk, to text and drive, or to do other things that pose a serious risk to others. This post offers some general advice on how to cope with the aftermath of a crash that leaves you or a family member with major injuries or a disability.

How to Prepare a Lawsuit

If a distracted driver injured you, preparing a legal case is less important than getting treated but you should still be preparing yourself. All victims of serious accidents could benefit from following these tips:

  • Never sign anything the other drivers, their insurance company or their attorney might give you. Doing so may prove expensive later, when your injuries and treatment prove far more expensive than predicted.
  • Never give a statement over the phone or in person to the other driver’s insurance company.
  • Collect all documents relevant to the accident and your medical treatment. Medical bills, hospital bills, and other documents will help establish the real cost of those injuries.
  • Gather information about the accident. Get a copy of the police report. Get photos of the site. Get photos of your car and the other car(s). Ideally, you can get photos or video footage of the accident’s immediate aftermath.
  • If you have bruises, cuts or scraps, get photos.

If you or a loved one become disabled, the ongoing costs of care and rehabilitation can add up to millions of dollars. A personal injury attorney can help you work out the likely long-term costs of that disability. You should also consider a range of common expenses that follow a major accident:

  • Insurance deductibles – If you have to pay these to fix a car, for example, this cost should be rolled into the lawsuit.
  • Lost wages – The responsible party should compensate you for any lost income. If you work on commission or are self-employed, however, it can be difficult to recover these losses.
  • Medical costs – In particular, if you paid any medical bills or bought medicine or a medical device like crutches with your own money, you should try to recover that money.

When to Settle and When to Sue

This is a legal question. If you face serious health problems or have a family member who needs ongoing care, it can be tempting to accept a settlement. Whether you choose to settle or to pursue a lawsuit, it helps to understand the potential value of your claim.

The driver’s insurance company will make its best case, to protect their financial interests. Sometimes, however, pursuing a settlement is the right move. An experienced attorney will be able to explain why to settle or not settle after a serious auto crash.

When the crash leaves you or someone in your family disabled, the ongoing costs can be catastrophic. If you are fighting for compensation, you need to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Don’t hesitate to reach out to van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim for professional assistance with your case. Our Philadelphia attorneys will begin working immediately on your behalf.


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