Car accidents are very traumatic, especially when you or a loved one is severely injured or killed. In the confusing aftermath of the accident, you need to know who is going to pay for damage and injury expenses. You should not be left with bills that you cannot cover because of someone else’s negligence.
At SMT Legal, you will get solid guidance from a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer who will do everything possible to get you the money you deserve and recover what you and your family are owed for your injuries. The personal injury attorneys at SMT Legal have the experience needed and a proven track record of successfully handling car accident cases like yours.
Types of Car Accident Cases SMT Legal Handles
Whether your car accident involved a single vehicle or was part of a multi-car pileup, you can rely on an experienced car accident lawyer in Pittsburgh from our firm for help. We have handled a variety of car accident injury cases, including:
- Rear-end collisions
- Passenger injuries
- Uninsured/underinsured motorists
- Texting while driving or distracted driving
- Multi-vehicle accidents
- Rollover accidents
- DUI accidents
- Construction zone auto accidents
- Uber accidents / ridesharing accidents
- Rental car accidents
We Find Out Who Is at Fault
No matter the circumstances of your car accident, the most crucial task your attorney will perform is to determine who is at fault. Proving negligence on the part of the person who hurt you is what allows you to receive compensation for your losses.
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, meaning you must file a claim with your insurance company regardless of who is responsible. However, if your injuries and property damage are higher than the policy coverage limits, showing fault will allow you to pursue reimbursement through a personal injury lawsuit.
Serious Injuries Mean You Can File a Civil Lawsuit
Some car crashes can lead to catastrophic and debilitating injuries. The costs associated with these situations usually exceed insurance coverage and require a lawsuit for you to secure full compensation. You can file a personal injury claim under the no-fault system if your injury is considered “serious” under Pennsylvania law. This typically means that the injury impairs bodily function or has seriously or permanently disfigured you.
Some of the serious injuries we typically deal with include:
- Spine injuries, back injuries, or spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries or TBI
- Skull fractures or other head injuries
- The loss of a limb or amputation
The Pittsburgh car accident attorneys at SMT Legal also regularly assist injury victims who have sustained many other common types of injuries, including:
- Broken bones and dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations or puncture wounds
- Open head wounds
- Other severe neck or back injuries, including whiplash
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
Pennsylvania Insurance Choices: No-Fault or Full Tort
Pennsylvania has a few options when it comes to auto insurance. There is a no-fault option and a full tort option that is more expensive. If you go with no-fault insurance, you can file an insurance claim for personal injuries and out-of-pocket expenses with your own insurance company through your personal injury protection (PIP). The benefits of no-fault coverage are that you do not have to prove fault to receive this coverage, and you can get it fairly quickly.
However, going with a no-fault insurance plan leaves you with few options when pursuing coverage for medical expenses beyond the minimums covered, and you cannot get compensation for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering damages.
If you choose the full tort insurance route, you have more options when it comes to getting a settlement in the aftermath of a car accident. With this type of auto insurance, you do not give up your right to bring a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver, and you can lodge a claim even if the injury is not considered “serious” under the law.
Pennsylvania’s no-fault insurance only applies to injuries after a car crash. You can still file a claim against an at-fault driver to recover compensation for property damage to your vehicle. This usually only applies if you or a loved one suffered permanent, catastrophic, or life-changing injuries in a car accident, such as disfigurement, paralysis, an amputation, or death.
Your Pittsburgh Car Accident Claim Could Be Worth Thousands
Pursuing a lawsuit can be overwhelming, and most people will choose to hire a skilled car accident lawyer to help them. However, even working with insurance companies can be confusing and exhausting when you are recovering from injuries and trauma. You may expect that the insurance company is on your side, but this is not the truth.
Insurers protect their profits. You need someone who will protect your rights and your need for fair compensation. At SMT Legal, we are proud to be the team that reviews settlement offers and ensures you get every penny covered. With multiple people and insurance carriers involved in the claims process after a crash, it can be very complicated, and you need a competent car accident attorney in Pittsburgh to handle it all.
Each case is unique, but if you have severe injuries, your losses could total hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your lawyer will account for all your past, current, and future expenses, including items such as:
Economic damages (those with a price tag), including:
- Lost wages while you cannot work
- Hospital bills for the ICU, ER, or surgery
- Ambulance fees
- Prescription medications
- Property replacement or repair for your car, luggage, clothing, cell phone, computer, etc.
- Medical aids such as neck braces, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, or crutches
- Renovations to your home to accommodate permanent disabilities
- Lost earning potential if you can no longer do your job
- Loss of inheritance for your heirs
Non-economic damages (those that are subjective) including:
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of consortium with your spouse or partner
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Many injuries will appear in the days or even weeks after your car accident, such as spinal damage or whiplash. In the worst cases, a victim could die from the crash. If a fatality results, the surviving family members will be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to recover all the expenses associated with medical treatment, as well as what they will suffer without their loved one. Funeral and burial costs, loss of guidance and care to children, and loss of income for the family can all be included in the compensation demands.
Proving Fault in A Pittsburgh Car Accident Lawsuit
Robust, high-quality evidence is necessary to demonstrate negligence and obtain the compensation you need for your serious injuries. Your SMT Legal car accident attorney in Pittsburgh will put our professional legal team to work gathering the necessary documentation, such as:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Independent accident investigation reports
- Photos of the accident scene
- Photos of your injuries and property damage
- Weather reports for the time of the crash
- Details on road conditions and any construction or hazards
- Footage from security, traffic, and dashboard cameras
- Social media posts of photos and videos from witnesses or those involved in the crash
- Driving records for everyone involved
- Cell phone records to determine activity prior to the car accident
Using this evidence, your lawyer will create a strong case with a fairly estimated list of compensation requirements. They will demonstrate that the defendant owed you a duty of care, but they failed in that duty. Your personal injury lawyer will also show that you suffered injury and property damage directly because of the defendant’s negligence and that you have related expenses that deserve compensation.
Having a truthful reconstruction of what happened and who is at fault is a valuable tool to convince a jury and judge. Your car accident lawyer from SMT Legal will do everything possible to get you the justice you deserve in court.
Pennsylvania Liability Insurance Requirements
- Medical Benefits: Pays medical bills for you and your passengers. The minimum is $5,000 of coverage, although you can carry more.
- Bodily Injury Liability: Pays medical expenses and any damages for anyone you injure in a crash for which you are liable. Coverage minimums are:
- $15,000 for one person
- $30,000 for two or more people, as a maximum per accident
- Property Damage Liability: Pays for any property damage you cause with a minimum of $5,000 in coverage.
- Limited or Full Tort: Limited tort coverage covers economic losses but not non-economic ones. Full Tort coverage maintains full rights for you to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for your losses.
It can be helpful to invest in additional policies that cover other expenses or to pay for a gap between what minimums cover and your actual costs. A variety of these optional policies exist, including:
- Accidental death benefit: Pays a benefit to the personal representative of the insured person if they die from their injuries within two years of the car accident.
- Collision: Pays to repair your vehicle after a roadway crash. Pennsylvania lenders require this coverage if you take out a loan to pay for your car.
- Comprehensive: Also required when you finance a vehicle, this pays for damage caused by flood, theft, vandalism, or hitting an animal.
- Extraordinary medical benefits: Pays medical expenses that total over $100,000 with a maximum coverage of $1 million.
- Funeral benefit: Pays a benefit for funeral costs if you or a family member passes away due to a car accident.
- Rental reimbursement coverage: Pays reimbursement for a rental car and sometimes ridesharing costs while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced.
- Towing coverage: Pays for the towing and labor expenses to have your damaged or non-starting vehicle taken to a repair shop.
- Uninsured Motorist / Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM): Provides payment if you are hurt by someone with no insurance or not enough coverage to pay for your claim. UM/UIM covers medical costs but not property damage.
These policies will be in effect whenever a covered vehicle is driven by you, your family members, and anyone you give temporary permission to drive your car.
Why Choose SMT Legal to Handle Your Car Accident Case
We have a team of personal injury lawyers, investigators, and field experts who work together to build strong cases for our clients. We aim to achieve the best possible outcome and get the maximum compensation you deserve.
The Pittsburgh car accident attorneys at SMT Legal understand your rights and how to fight for the money you deserve. Our law firm has in-depth knowledge of federal and state laws and their effect on your particular case. We work to develop a complete understanding of your medical needs and the impact of the car accident and resulting injuries on your personal and work life.
Correctly understanding and applying personal injury law takes professional knowledge and experience. When you are recovering from your injuries, it can be overwhelming to negotiate with insurance companies or even consider filing a lawsuit. SMT Legal’s skilled team of lawyers stands ready to tackle these complexities for you. We offer many services that will ease the burden of seeking justice.
We Interpret the Law to Your Advantage
We negotiate with every insurance company and every defense lawyer involved in your claim. Where multiple parties are concerned, it is critical to have an experienced lawyer who understands how to apply the law to minimize your liability and maximize your compensation. We will evaluate your circumstances and outline the most likely options you should use.
We Aggressively Negotiate with Insurance Representatives
Insurance adjusters are always on the lookout for fraud, but sometimes they use those skills against you. You may be asked to provide proof of the severity of your injuries and the extent of your property damage. They may even argue that you deserve less because you are partly responsible.
Whether you contributed to the crash or not, you need a skilled car accident lawyer to fight back against underhanded tactics such as pushing you to take a lowball offer. You deserve to have every single expense paid for that your coverage includes. Our team will not stop until we have secured the settlement or verdict you need for all your losses.
We Fully and Fairly Assess Your Damages
We can connect you with experts in the medical, auto, and other fields to ensure we develop a complete accounting of your damages. If you are severely injured, we have a network of doctors and specialists who will provide a prognosis and treatment plan for you. We can include the costs of your future care to keep you from facing bills you cannot pay as you move forward with your recovery.
We Present a Strong Case for You in Court
Although we have a successful record of negotiating fair insurance settlements, sometimes we must take a case to trial to get what the client deserves. We will use all the evidence we have gathered for the insurance claim and put it to work, building a solid case against the defendant at trial.
We will ensure that your claim is filed on time and correctly. Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. You must file your lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident to keep your right to seek compensation. If you wait until after the date, you can lose the chance to do so forever. There are some exceptions to this rule, and your SMT Legal attorney can explain whether they apply to your case.
Contact The Car Accident Attorneys at SMT Today and Get A Free Consultation
At SMT Legal, we are here to help you navigate car accident claims. Our experienced car accident lawyers understand Pennsylvania car accident settlements. We will not rest until we have achieved the best possible outcome for you. Contact our Pittsburgh car accident attorneys to schedule a free consultation.