Lancaster Car Accident Lawyer
After a car accident, many victims are left with injuries that require extensive medical treatment and may cause long-term consequences. For this reason, it is important to hire an experienced attorney who will defend your right to compensation after a Pennsylvania car accident. For more than 30 years, Schmidt Kramer’s Lancaster car accident lawyers have helped victims of negligence obtain the justice and compensation they deserve. We understand that recovering compensation for an injury suffered during a car accident is a challenging process. Insurance companies are often reluctant to pay victims the compensation they are owed, and may even unfairly deny your claim. Our Lancaster personal injury attorneys are ready to fight for your rights and will pursue every legal option available to help you obtain the compensation you need. We have recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for our clients and continue to pursue the maximum amount of compensation for each claim or lawsuit we represent.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. Our car accident lawyers in Lancaster work on a contingency fee basis, which means we will work with you at no upfront cost. You only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim. We take cases involving accidents in the City of Lancaster and throughout Lancaster County. This includes accidents on many of the major roadways in the county, including Interstate 76, US Route 30 and State Route 272.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to get started.
How a Lancaster Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Car accident victims often face several difficulties after the collision. This may include suffering a serious injury that requires medical treatment and prevents you from working and earning an income. It may also include interference from an insurance company reluctant to approve your personal injury claim.
However, an experienced Lancaster car accident lawyer will help you with every aspect of the claims process, including:
Handling Insurance Companies for You
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, meaning you will need to file a personal injury claim with your own insurance company after a car accident. However, insurance carriers have teams of lawyers and adjusters who begin reviewing your claim the moment they receive it. The insurance adjuster handling your claim will then decide the amount of money you can receive.
Insurance companies are known to offer accident victims the smallest amount of compensation possible for their personal injury claim. An initial settlement offer may only pay for part of your medical treatment, and will not fully reflect the losses you have suffered.
A Lancaster car accident lawyer will work to ensure you are fairly compensated after an auto collision. Your attorney will act as your advocate during the claims process and always act in your best interest. He or she will handle all communications and negotiations with an insurance adjuster to help you receive maximum compensation for your claim.
Constructing Your Case
Your Lancaster car accident attorney will investigate the accident to help you prove the other driver is at fault for the car accident. He or she will help you build a case by:
- Gathering evidence, such as the police report and video/photos of the accident
- Collecting your medical records that indicate the severity of your injury and medical treatment
- Interviewing witnesses who may have seen your accident happen
- Reconstructing the accident to build a timeline of the events that led up to the collision
- Contacting expert witnesses, such as medical and auto accident specialists, who will testify in support of your claim
- Taking pictures of the accident scene, including the surrounding area and road the accident occurred on
For qualified legal representation after an auto accident, contact Schmidt Kramer to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. Our Lancaster car accident attorneys are dedicated to defending the rights of injury victims and will not accept a settlement less than what you deserve.
To get started, call (888) 476-0807.
Compensation for a Car Accident Lawsuit
To determine the amount of compensation you may be owed, your Lancaster car accident attorney will review several aspects about your claim. This will include the financial losses you suffered after the collision, as well as how your resulting injuries have affected your life.
According to 42 PA Cons Stat § 8528, car accident victims may be entitled to pursue compensation for:
- Past, present and future medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Our attorneys will be able to determine a fair amount of compensation you may be owed for your injuries. However, there may be several factors that affect the amount of compensation you can receive.
Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Law
When both parties involved in a car accident are negligent, Pennsylvania uses the law of comparative negligence to determine the amount of compensation the victim can receive.
According to 42 PA Cons Stat § 7102, a court will examine the actions of each party involved in the accident and assign them a percentage of fault. This percentage represents his or her level of fault for causing the accident.
As long as you are less than 51 percent at fault for the accident, you can still receive compensation. However, the amount of compensation you may receive is reduced by the percentage you are assigned. For example, you may file a $100,000 personal injury claim after an auto accident. If you are found to be 30 percent at fault for causing the accident, your claim’s maximum value will be reduced to $70,000.
Personal injury victims may also be awarded punitive damages in addition to their compensatory damages. However, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim for his or her injury.
Punitive damages are meant to financially punish the at-fault party for being especially negligent, recklessly indifferent to other’s safety, or intentionally causing the victim harm. Furthermore, a court may award punitive damages to discourage others from acting the same way as the at-fault party in the future.
When a court decides whether punitive damages should be awarded, it must consider the following factors:
- The character of the car accident
- The nature and extent of the victim’s injuries
- The wealth of the at-fault party
To learn more about the damages you may be entitled to pursue, contact Schmidt Kramer’s Lancaster car accident lawyers. We will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to help you understand the value of your personal injury claim.
Complete our Free Case Evaluation form today.
Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Insurance Law
Pennsylvania is one of the few states in the U.S. that follows a no-fault insurance system for car accidents.
This means drivers who are injured in a car accident must file a personal injury claim with their own insurance company to receive compensation for medical expenses and lost income. Neither driver has to admit fault for the accident in order to receive compensation from his or her insurance company.
However, your insurance company will only pay up to the personal injury protection (PIP) limit you purchased with your auto insurance policy.
Pennsylvania's PIP Coverage
PIP coverage is a type of insurance coverage that you are required to purchase when selecting an auto insurance policy. The amount of PIP coverage you choose to purchase will be the amount your insurance company agrees to pay for the damages that occurred during a car accident.
In Pennsylvania, drivers are required to purchase the following minimum amounts of PIP coverage:
- $5,000 for medical benefits
- $15,000 per person/ $30,000 per accident for bodily injury liability
- $5,000 for property damage
Auto accident victims often incur expensive bills for their medical treatment, which often surpass the amount of PIP coverage they purchased. When this happens, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to receive additional compensation. This will depend, however, on whether you purchased the full tort or limited tort option with your auto insurance policy.
Limited Tort vs. Full Tort
When you purchase your Pennsylvania auto insurance policy, you are given the option to choose either full tort or limited tort coverage. This choice will determine if you are allowed to sue the other driver involved in your car accident for additional compensation.
By purchasing full tort coverage, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver involved in your accident. This option provides you the chance to obtain additional compensation for your injury, including compensation for noneconomic damages like pain and suffering.
Additionally, you do not have to prove the extent of your injuries to file a lawsuit and can automatically pursue a claim for all of the financial losses you suffered after the accident.
On the other hand, choosing to purchase limited tort coverage means you give up your right to sue the other driver for pain and suffering. You still have the right to file a lawsuit, but you can only pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and other economic damages you suffered.
The only exception to Pennsylvania’s limited tort coverage is if you suffered a serious injury that passes the “injury threshold.” When this happens, you may be able to file a personal lawsuit against the at-fault driver and pursue compensation for all your damages, including pain and suffering. However, the only injuries that cross the threshold are life-threatening injuries that require extensive medical treatment followed by a long and painful recovery period.
To learn more about your legal options if you purchased full tort or limited tort coverage with your auto insurance policy, contact our Lancaster car accident lawyers for a free, no obligation consultation. We will review your policy and the damages you suffered to help you obtain the compensation you need.
To schedule a free consultation, call (888) 476-0807
Proving Liability for a Car Accident
Before you can receive compensation for a car accident injury, you must be able to prove it was caused by the other driver’s negligence.
This will require your Lancaster car accident attorney to prove four elements of negligence were present when the auto accident occurred:
- Duty of Care: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care to ensure your safety. This means the other driver had a legal obligation to operate the vehicle in a reasonably safe and cautious manner to avoid causing you harm.
- Breach of Duty: The at-fault party failed to uphold its legal obligation by acting, or failing to act, in a manner that caused you harm. In a car accident case, a breach of duty may occur when the other party is texting while driving or traveling faster than the speed limit.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s breach of duty directly caused you to suffer an injury. This means that your injury would not have occurred if the at-fault party had acted in a reasonably cautious and safe manner.
- Damages: You suffered financial damages as a result of the at-fault party’s negligence. This may include the cost of medical treatment to recover from your injuries, or the wages and income you lost during your recovery.
Our Lancaster car accident attorneys will thoroughly review your car accident to help you determine if the other driver is liable for your injuries. However, we will also need to find evidence detailing the at-fault party’s negligence to help support your claim.
This may include the police report conducted by responding law enforcement officers that state which driver caused the accident. Likewise, we will use your medical records and medical history to prove that you suffered an injury as a direct result of the accident.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to find out if you have a case.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases
Pennsylvania imposes a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits, including car accident lawsuits, according to 42 Pa. Consol. Stat. § 5524(2).
This is an important legal deadline that begins on the date of the accident. This means you have two years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, or else your claim will be dismissed and you cannot recover compensation.
Additionally, insurance companies impose their own deadlines on personal injury claims. It is important that you immediately contact your insurer to inform it about your car accident and any injuries you may have suffered.
To ensure you meet the statute of limitations and any other deadline that may affect your claim, you should immediately consult with a car accident lawyer in Lancaster. He or she will need time to investigate your claim and gather evidence needed to build a case on your behalf.
To find out your legal options after an accident, call (888) 476-0807.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Although a Lancaster car accident lawyer will manage every detail of your case, there are several things you can do immediately after your auto collision to help your case. This includes:
Taking Pictures of the Accident Scene
If you are able, try to take as many pictures as you can of the accident scene after the collision. This may include pictures of property damage, such as vehicle damage, broken railings, skid marks on the roadway or debris from the vehicles. You should take pictures of any visible injuries you suffered during the accident.
Pictures can be an important piece of evidence our Lancaster car accidents can use to prove the at-fault party is liable for the accident. However, you should only try to take pictures if you are not seriously injured and are in a safe location.
Seeking Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
After a car accident, your health and safety should be your main priority. You should always seek medical attention as soon as possible following a car accident, regardless of the collision’s severity.
A health care provider will diagnose any injuries you may have suffered, or discover an injury that was not immediately apparent. Many car accident injuries, such as whiplash or concussions, may display delayed symptoms that are not easily identified at the accident scene. Obtaining medical care immediately after an accident may help you determine the type of treatment you need.
Furthermore, insurance companies may be skeptical or your claim if you wait to seek medical treatment. This may cause an insurer to believe your injuries are not as serious as you claim, and lower the amount of compensation you are offered.
You should always seek medical attention after a car accident to help establish your claim and get the treatment you need to recover from your injury.
Acquiring Copies of Your Medical Records
Medical records can be an important factor in deciding the outcome of your car accident case. They provide documented proof that you suffered an injury during the accident. Additionally, your medical records may also provide details about the severity of your injuries and the pain and suffering you have experienced since the accident.
You should ask for a copy of any medical record related to your injury or the treatment prescribed by your health care provider. This may include:
- Doctor’s notes from your original visit
- Receipts of your emergency room visits
- Prescriptions from your doctor
- Intake or discharge form from the hospital
- Results of your X-ray, MRI or CT scans
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation evaluations
- Paramedic reports
If possible, you may want to obtain copies of medical records indicating your physical health before the car accident. This may include copies of your previous physical or blood tests that describe your pre-existing health issues. Our attorneys know how to prove your car accident injuries are unrelated to other medical conditions. Insurance companies often try to say your injuries are unrelated to the accident because of a pre-existing illness.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Many personal injury claims are settled through insurance claims so it is important that you do not hesitate to report the accident. Insurers may have their own deadlines for filling a personal injury claim. If you do not file your claim within this timeframe, your may be denied compensation.
Furthermore, you should be very selective about what you tell an insurer. Only stick to the facts about your accident and do not provide too many details about your injury. You should only explain that you were involved in a car accident and are receiving medical treatment.
Obtaining Records of Your Lost Wages or Income
If your injury prevents you from working, you should have evidence detailing the wages you lost as a result.
You may need to ask your employer to provide you with copies of previous paychecks, pay stubs, time cards or your employment contract to help us determine your average rate of pay before the accident. We will use this information do determine the amount of income you would have earned had you not been injured in the car accident.
Call (888) 476-0807 to find out if you have a case.
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Throughout our experience as car accident attorneys in Lancaster, we have seen victims suffer serious injuries due to another driver’s negligence, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured bones
- Chest contusions
- Herniated discs
- Internal bleeding
In many cases, a car accident may be a traumatic event that causes victims to suffer severe impairment and debilitating medical conditions. These symptoms may include:
- Memory impairment
- Neck pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Limited mobility
- Difficulty balancing
- Limited mobility
- Emotional distress
- Difficulty sleeping
- Chronic headaches
At Schmidt Kramer, we understand the difficulties many people face after being injured in a car accident. That is why our compassionate Lancaster car accident attorneys will help you through every step of your claim. We are prepared to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and will not accept any amount of compensation that is less than what you deserve.
Complete our Free Case Evaluation form today.
Contact Schmidt Kramer to Schedule a Free Consultation
A car accident can have a serious impact on your life, resulting in costly medical treatment, lost wages, and chronic pain and suffering.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact Schmidt Kramer’s Lancaster car accident attorneys to find out your rights. We will review the circumstances behind your accident and the injuries you have suffered to determine which legal options may be available for you to pursue compensation.
All of our Lancaster car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. We do not charge upfront legal fees for our services and only require payment if we help you recover compensation. There is no risk in contacting us to find out if you have a case.
Call (888) 476-0807 to contact our qualified attorneys.