How Much Can You Recover for a Car Accident in Pennsylvania?
When you get injured in a car accident, you need to make informed decisions. This includes making informed decisions about asserting your legal rights. If you are entitled to insurance coverage (or other financial compensation) for your accident, asserting your legal rights could be essential for preserving your standard of living and ensuring your long-term well-being.
This brings us to an important question: How much are you entitled to recover?
After a car accident, the amount you are entitled to recover depends on several factors. As a result, calculating the value of your case isn’t easy. But, it is extremely important—and by hiring an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you, you can ensure that you consider all relevant factors and seek the maximum compensation available. Here are some examples of the factors that will determine how much you can recover for your accident-related injuries:
What Auto Insurance Coverage is Available?
Insurance coverage plays a central role in most car accident cases. If you got hit by a negligent driver, his or her insurance policy should provide coverage (all drivers are required to carry liability insurance under Pennsylvania law). You should be able to use your MedPay policy as well, and if you have uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, you can file a UM or UIM claim in the event that you are unable to obtain full compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Auto insurance policy limits vary widely. In Pennsylvania, drivers are only required to have limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury liability (BIL) and only $5,000 for property damage liability (PDL). However, some drivers opt to purchase more, and if you have UM or UIM coverage, this could increase the amount you can recover significantly.
Did You Opt for “Full Tort” or “Limited Tort” Coverage?
Another important factor is whether you opted for “full tort” or “limited tort” coverage. As the Pennsylvania Insurance Department explains:
“Limited tort coverage offers you a savings on your premiums. You are still able to recover all out-of-pocket medical and other expenses; however, you are not able to recover certain damages – such as payments for pain and suffering – unless [your] injuries meet one of the exceptions to limited tort . . . . With full tort coverage . . . you retain unrestricted rights to bring suit against the negligent party.”
In other words, while “full tort” coverage is more expensive, it allows you to recover more in the event of an accident. Since insurance payments for pain and suffering can be substantial, you will want to make sure you know which type of coverage you have.
Are the Auto Insurance Companies Handling Your Claim in Good Faith?
As a general rule, auto insurance companies are only required to provide coverage up to their policyholders’ coverage limits. But, there are exceptions—including exceptions for “bad faith” insurance practices. If an auto insurance company attempts to delay, deny or reduce the value of your accident claim in bad faith, your lawyer may be able to help you seek additional financial compensation.
Do You Have a Claim Outside of Auto Insurance?
While most car accident cases involve dealing with the auto insurance companies, there are exceptions here as well. In fact, there are several scenarios in which car accident victims may have claims against other companies or governmental entities. Some examples of potential “third party” claims include:
- A claim against the at-fault driver’s employer
- A claim against a vehicle manufacturer or dealership
- A claim against a maintenance or repair shop
- A claim against a government agency or contractor
- A claim against a rideshare company
These entities will typically have insurance coverage that far exceeds most drivers’ policy limits. As a result, if you have a “third party” claim, filing this claim could be your best option for recovering the full financial compensation you deserve.
How Much Is Your Car Accident Going to Cost You?
Determining which claim (or claims) you can file is just the first step toward determining how much you can recover for a car accident in Pennsylvania. Since the amount you are entitled to recover is based on your accident-related losses, you also need to know how much your car accident is going to cost you.
Unless you are limited to filing a MedPay or “limited tort” claim, you can seek financial compensation for all of the costs you have incurred—and will incur—as a result of the accident. This includes your past, present and future:
- Medical expenses
- Therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Prescription, medical supply and device costs
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
Depending on the severity of your injuries and other factors, these costs could range from thousands to millions of dollars. When you hire an experienced car accident lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will carefully calculate your total costs to ensure that he or she is seeking full compensation on your behalf.
How Else Has The Car Accident Impacted Your Life?
In addition to your financial costs, you may also be entitled to compensation for your non-financial costs. These “costs” include all of the various ways that your injuries impact your daily life. For example, in addition to pain and suffering, many car accident victims will be entitled to financial compensation for emotional trauma, scarring and disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-financial losses as well. Before you make any decisions about how to handle your situation, it is critical to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of all of the damages you are entitled to recover.
Discuss Your Claim with a Car Accident Lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC
Were you seriously injured in a car accident in Pennsylvania? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. To discuss your claim with a car accident lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, call 888-777-7098 or request a free consultation online now.