I Suffered a Back Injury in a Car Accident—What Are My Legal Rights in Pennsylvania?
If you suffered a back injury in a car accident, you need to make sure you know your legal rights. Serious back injuries can lead to significant financial and non-financial losses; and if someone else was at fault in your car accident, you may be entitled to just compensation for both your losses to date and the losses you will incur in the future.
So, what are your legal rights when you suffer a back injury in a car accident in Pennsylvania? An experienced back injury lawyer in Bethlehem, PA explains:
Your Rights When You Suffer a Back Injury in a Car Accident that was Someone Else’s Fault
For purposes of our discussion, we will assume that someone else was at fault in your car accident–and that the at-fault party has “full tort” insurance coverage. If you are responsible for your own back injury, then you may be limited to relying on your health insurance coverage (though you may also have certain other options available). But, if someone else is responsible, then you can hire a lawyer to file a claim—which will most likely involve dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Here is an overview of your legal rights when you suffer a back injury in a car accident that was someone else’s fault:
1. The Right to Obtain Treatment from a Doctor of Your Choosing
When you have a liability claim after a car accident, you have the right to obtain treatment from a doctor of your choosing. You should not let the insurance companies tell you where to go for treatment. Back injuries require treatment by a qualified specialist, and it will be important for you to choose a reputable specialist who can help ensure that you are able to recover as fully and quickly as possible.
2. The Right to Choose Your Repair Shop
Along with the right to choose your doctor, you also have the right to choose your repair shop. Here, too, you do not want to rely on the insurance companies’ “advice.” Their “preferred” repair shops are preferred for a reason. If you go to an insurance company’s “preferred” shop, the shop will prioritize the insurance company’s interests over yours, and you may find yourself deeply disappointed with the quality of the work done to your vehicle.
3. The Right to Be Treated Fairly By the Insurance Companies
Under Pennsylvania law, you have the right to be treated fairly by the insurance companies. Insurance companies have a duty to investigate and process all claims in good faith, and they are supposed to pay the compensation they owe in a timely manner.
In practice, however, this rarely happens. Most accident victims struggle to recover the financial compensation they deserve. When you are dealing with a serious back injury, it is especially important not to let the insurance companies take advantage of you.
4. The Right to Hire a Lawyer to Represent You
Fortunately, you also have the right to hire a lawyer to represent you. You can hire a lawyer to deal with the insurance companies for you, and your lawyer can help make sure that the insurance companies treat you fairly. Your lawyer can help you understand the total long-term costs of your back injury, and your lawyer can fight to recover just compensation on your behalf.
5. The Right to Proper Compensation for Your Out-of-Pocket Costs
As a car accident victim in Pennsylvania, you have the right to a few different forms of financial compensation. The first is financial compensation for your out-of-pocket costs. The costs of treatment for a serious back injury can be substantial—and they can continue to add up over the rest of your life.
6. The Right to Proper Compensation for Your Lost Earnings
Pennsylvania law also allows accident victims to recover just compensation for their lost earnings. Many back injury victims are unable to work for weeks, months or even years after suffering their injuries. If you miss time from work, or if you need to take a lower-paying job to manage your back injury, your lawyer can help you seek just compensation for your lifetime loss of income and benefits.
7. The Right to Proper Compensation for Your Non-Financial Losses
Car accident victims in Pennsylvania can recover just compensation for their non-financial losses as well. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will work closely with you to document and calculate the “value” of your pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-financial losses.
8. The Right to Decide When (and If) to Settle Your Claim
While the insurance companies may try to pressure you into accepting a lowball settlement, you have the absolute right to decide when (and if) to settle your claim. Once your lawyer determines what your claim is worth, then you can make an informed decision about whether to accept a settlement or keep fighting for more.
9. The Right to Go to Court if Necessary
In some cases, fighting for more means going to court. If the insurance companies refuse to settle your back injury claim for just compensation, you have the right to take your claim to trial.
10. The Right to Protect Your Best Interests
Finally, and most importantly, you have the right to protect your best interests. You do not have to—and should not—let the insurance companies talk you into doing anything that makes your life more difficult than it needs to be. Copying with a serious back injury is hard enough already, and you owe it to yourself to make sure that you recover the full financial compensation you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Back Injury Lawyer in Bethlehem, PA
If you have questions about your legal rights after suffering a back injury in a car accident, we encourage you to contact us for more information. Call 888-479-9197 or get in touch online to arrange a free consultation. With offices in Doylestown, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Stroudsburg, we handle car accident cases throughout Pennsylvania.