Car Accidents in Pennsylvania
Car accidents happen every day. Often, crashes result in catastrophic injuries that lead to skyrocketing medical bills and lost wages. In many cases, people do not even realize that they have been injured until some time has passed. Known as delayed pain, sometimes this occurs because adrenaline from the shock of the accident can mask discomfort. It is important to seek medical attention right away to hasten recovery and also document injuries. It is best if you consult a lawyer before speaking to the insurance company, as any mistake may jeopardize a claim.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over three million people are injured in car accidents every year in the United States. Compensable injuries from auto accidents range from relatively minor to severe, depending on whether the person was wearing a seat belt, where the car was impacted, whether the individual was facing forward or turned to the side at the time, the speed of all vehicles involved at the time of the crash, and whether air bags were deployed.
Common Car Accident Injuries
- Soft tissue injuries. This is when a person’s muscles, ligaments and tendons are damaged. The mid- and low-back muscles are often sprained or affected in collisions. More severe accidents can cause nerve damage due to the impact on the spine.
- Whiplash. This is a type of soft tissue injury where the neck muscles are stretched due to the sudden movements imposed on the head and neck.
- Lacerations. Any time a car is involved in an accident, parts of the vehicle can become dislodged (such as air bag components), or loose objects can cause cuts and scrapes, including cell phones, cups, purses, and pens. Some lacerations can lead to severe bleeding and permanent disfigurement.
- Head injuries. Sometimes, a person’s head will hit a side window or steering wheel, causing scrapes, bruises, or deeper cuts. Severe accidents can result in fluid leakage in the brain, concussions or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Contusions and bruises. These often affect the chest area, and can sometimes be accompanied by deeper injuries such as broken ribs or pierced organs. Seat belts can cause bruising as well.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
If you have been involved in a car accident, ensure that you move to a safe place, off of a busy roadway. Seeking medical attention for any injuries – even though none may be apparent initially – is critical. Obtain contact information for the other drivers involved in the accident and talk to any witnesses who may be at the scene. Lastly, do not speak to an insurance company until you have contacted an attorney who is experienced with car accident litigation to ensure that your rights are protected.
Recovering Compensation for Injuries in Pennsylvania
After a car crash, the police will file a report, which will be reviewed by both drivers’ insurance companies. An agent will investigate the cause of the crash and estimate the damages. Once this has happened, victims can begin negotiating for a settlement. They almost always offer far less than your claim is worth. Hiring a Wilmington car accident lawyer who is also an experienced negotiator can help your chances of recovering the full amount you deserve.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
In Pennsylvania, there is a two-year statute of limitations to file negligence claims for car accidents and wrongful death. A statute of limitations is a time limit on a person’s right to file a claim. The two-year time period typically starts running on the date of the accident.