According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 69,138 automobile crashes occurred in the latest recorded year. Statistics say that there are an average of 12 crashes an hour and a fatality every eight hours. One out of every 57 people in the state is involved in a reportable crash.
Pennsylvania is a no-fault insurance state. This has various implications when it comes to recovering compensation after a crash in Pittsburgh. There are still imperative measures that can be taken to protect those involved, regardless of the type of insurance policy involved.
Reportable Crashes and Their Causes
A reportable crash is an accident where one or more people are injured, or one or more of the vehicles must be towed from the scene. A police report is required if a car accident in Pittsburgh resulting in these types of injuries or damages occurs on public roadways.
Many factors contribute to these traffic accidents. The weather, such as fog, rain, sleet, snow, and ice, often causes hazardous driving conditions. Traffic or driving too fast for road conditions compounds the potential for auto accidents when the weather isn’t straightforward and mild.
Alcohol or drug impairment makes up a significant portion of roadway crash causes. It’s important to know if one of the drivers was careless because they were driving while under the influence. If one of the drivers is drunk or high, fault becomes somewhat easier to assign. Finding out if the other driver is under the influence is a good idea and should be handled by law enforcement officers at the scene of the accident.
In addition, car accidents in Pittsburgh also occur within work zones due to unpredictable and shifting conditions. Traffic violations also give rise to reportable crashes.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Pittsburgh
In case of injury or a badly damaged vehicle or property, there are things you must do to protect yourself. The steps you need to take after being injured in a car accident in Pittsburgh include but are not limited to:
- Call the police. Tell them where you are, how many people were involved, and about any injuries or other damages that happened.
- If you or another individual is hurt, stay put and let the responding medical personnel evaluate the injuries.
- Even if you feel fine, have a medical checkup done. You could be in shock or experiencing a spike in adrenaline. This could mask symptoms of a more significant injury; and often, injuries show up later. So, having yourself checked out by an experienced medical professional is imperative after a car crash.
- If possible, move the vehicles out of the way of oncoming traffic while still keeping them as close to the accident scene as possible.
- Share your insurance information with the police officers at the scene.
- Contact your insurance company to report the car accident.
- Note witness accounts and take their contact information.
- Photograph the scene, noting road conditions, skid marks, and/or damage to the vehicles involved and to any other property.
- Inquire about any traffic or security cameras that could have recorded the accident.
- Don’t admit fault. Authorities will investigate, and responsibility will be determined if necessary. By admitting guilt or even just saying you’re sorry, you will only jeopardize your case.
- Only communicate with the officers at the scene.
- Keep a journal after the car wreck. Note doctor’s visits. Keep a list of tests run and results given, as well as all of the costs incurred due to the treatments. Ensure you have detailed accounts of pain and suffering, as well as damages and cost estimates for vehicle repair. All of these can be logged in a journal. If you remember anything about the car accident that might be useful, you can also write it there.
- Call a personal injury attorney to ensure you are paid appropriately for the damages you suffered – both for your physical injuries and for vehicular damage.
How Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Insurance System Works
A no-fault insurance policy means that the driver and others involved in the accident who are eligible for coverage will have their medical care and other expenses met by the driver’s policy. The system can be somewhat confusing. Drivers have the option of carrying limited tort coverage or full tort coverage.
Limited tort coverage means that the driver and other insured members of their household can only seek limited damages after a car accident. Medical expenses are covered, as are some out-of-pocket losses. But, if you are in an auto collision and only have limited tort coverage, you must have a severe injury to be entitled to more compensation. Regardless of the type of auto insurance you think you have, consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your situation is the most important step you can take to ensure you obtain all available financial compensation in the wake of a Pittsburgh car accident.
Full tort coverage grants the claimant the right to total compensation for the vehicle damages and medical expenses and the whole gamut of recovery. The driver and others covered by the policy may seek compensation for pain and suffering. To file for damages, they are not required to have “serious injuries,” as defined by Pennsylvania law. Some examples of coverage include loss of enjoyment of life, pain, suffering, and emotional distress. While more expensive after an accident, a full tort coverage policy offers far more protections under Pennsylvania law.
Contact SMT Legal for Help Navigating this Confusing Process
A car accident in Pittsburgh can cause physical and emotional trauma. It can disrupt your everyday life and keep you from enjoying life to the fullest. The legal system can be confusing, and insurance companies want to keep their payouts minimum. These factors set the stage for often complicated negotiations.The experienced Pittsburgh car accident lawyers at SMT Legal can guide you through all steps of the insurance and legal processes and will seek the damages you are entitled to under Pennsylvania law.