Bethlehem Accident Attorney for Car Accidents
Experienced Legal Help After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Though safety standards and technology improve with each passing year, both passenger and commercial motor vehicles — cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other types — continue to pose a significant injury risk to others on the road. According to the latest data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDOT), there are more than 80,000 motor vehicle accidents in the Commonwealth each year, with approximately 10 percent of these accidents occurring in Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and can demonstrate that the defendant caused you to suffer harm due to his or her negligent, reckless, or wrongful conduct, you may be entitled to recover significant damages as compensation. You don’t need to prove this on your own, though. An experienced Bethlehem motor vehicle accident attorney will handle everything with compassion and commitment to your case. With 35 years of legal experience in helping victims just like you, we’re ready to help.
Motor Vehicle Accident Negligence Explained by Our Top Bethlehem Accident Attorneys
Motor vehicle claims often involve multiple defendants, each having contributed to the accident in unique ways. For example, if you are injured in an accident by a reckless driver in Bethlehem, you may not only have a claim against the reckless driver but also against your car manufacturer (if your seatbelt was defective or your airbag failed to deploy). As such, the cause of injuries from motor vehicle accidents vary significantly form case to case, depending on the circumstances.
Driver negligence is the most common form of negligence in motor vehicle accidents. Examples of driver negligence include, but are not necessarily limited, to:
- Reckless driving
- Excessive speeding
- Failure to adhere to road rules
- Road rage antics
- Fatigue and/or lack of sleep
- Driver is unlicensed
- Failure to use turn signals
- Failure to use prescription glasses required for driving
- Running a red light
- Running a stop sign
- Improper lane change
- Using a cell phone
When Employers and Third-Parties Can Be Liable for Bethlehem Car Accidents
Accidents involving Bethlehem employee drivers (i.e., commercial truckers, delivery drivers, etc.) may expose the employer to personal injury claims under a theory of vicarious liability, but also to separate claims such as negligent hiring and supervision. Examples of employer negligence in the motor vehicle context include, but are not necessarily limited, to:
- Inadequate training of drivers
- Negligent scheduling of drivers such that drivers are sleep-deprived
- Inadequate supervision of drivers to ensure that there is no drug abuse
- Improper loading of cargo, leading to tipping/rollover accidents
- Failure to adequately inspect and maintain vehicles to ensure that they are in a reasonably safe condition
Some Bethlehem motor vehicle accidents are caused — at least in part — by the negligence of those who are responsible for designing, installing, inspecting, and maintaining the roadways, whether the relevant party is private or public (i.e., the City). Examples of car accident negligence by an entity like the city or state include:
- Negligent design of roadways
- Creation of a pedestrian trap
- Dangerous conditions of a property
- Failure to adequately inspect roadways
- Failure to install necessary traffic signals
- Failure to correct hazards, despite extensive prior accident history on the relevant roadway
- Negligent design of a center median or guard rail
- Negligent installation of a center median or guard rail
Our Bethlehem Accident Attorney Reminds You What to Collect at the Scene of Your Car Accident
After an accident, taking care of your injuries or your injured passengers is your primary concern. If you are well, however, you do need to try and collect some information to help preserve your rights as an accident victim. The important information you should gather includes:
- The date and time of the accident
- The exact location of the accident
- The contact information of any other drivers involved
- The license plate number of any other drivers involved
- The driver’s license number of any other drivers involved
- The insurance carrier’s name, phone number, and policy number of any other drivers involved
- The names and contact information of any witnesses
- Any remarks made by witnesses, the other drivers, or the police that seem important or related to fault
- Photos and/or video of the scene, the vehicles, and any injuries
- The names and contact info of all the occupants in both vehicles
- A copy of the police report and any tickets that were issued
- The police officer’s name and badge number
- You should also strongly consider simply taking pictures or videos of all of this information. It’s much quicker, undeniably accurate, and easier to track
Remember, the information you gather will help the experienced Bethlehem accident lawyers at Drake, Hileman & Davis handle your insurance and legal claims and recover all of the compensation you’re entitled to.
5 Car Accident Mistakes You Need to Avoid
If you are entitled to financial compensation for injuries received from a motor vehicle accident, you must be very careful to protect your legal rights. In addition to taking all of the steps that are required in order to secure coverage, this also means avoiding mistakes that the insurance companies will seek to use against you. Here are five examples of all too common mistakes you need to try and avoid:
1. Waiting to See a Doctor
If you were injured in a car wreck, you need to obtain a diagnosis and begin treatment right away. Not only can waiting to see a doctor negatively impact your physical recovery, but it can negatively impact your financial recovery as well. To be sure, an insurance company will use any gap in treatment as a sword against you.
In order to secure insurance coverage for your injuries, you need to be able to prove that your injuries resulted from your motor vehicle accident. If you wait to seek treatment, the insurance companies may try to argue that either: (i) your condition is worse because of the delay (and therefore isn’t fully coverable in your claim); or, (ii) your injuries could have happened after the accident (and therefore aren’t covered at all). Said a different way, the insurance company will argue: “If your client was really hurt, why didn’t they go to see a doctor right away?” You want to avoid that question if at all possible.
2. Waiting to Talk to a Bethlehem Accident Attorney
Due to all of the challenges involved in recovering financial compensation after a motor vehicle accident, it is important to consult with a Bethlehem accident attorney as soon as possible. If you wait to seek legal advice, you could end up making mistakes you cannot fix, like speaking with an insurance company and giving a recorded statement. Again, while you may think that these statements are harmless, an insurance company can use the smallest thing you said as a sword against you in your claim.
As we mentioned above, this list of mistakes just covers some of the most common examples. There are many more mistakes you need to avoid in order to protect your legal rights.
3. Making Assumptions
Making assumptions after a motor vehicle accident can prove incredibly costly. For example, many people assume that the insurance companies will pay what they owe. They assume things like the insurance company is “on your side” or that you’re “in good hands” with the insurance company. However, the insurance companies will always put their own financial interests first; and, if you do not do everything that is necessary to protect your claim, you may not receive the full compensation you deserve.
4. Sharing Too Much Information
When you have an insurance claim after a motor vehicle accident, you need to be very careful about sharing too much information. While you can speak freely with your Bethlehem accident attorney, you should not share more with your insurance adjuster than is strictly required. You will also want to avoid discussing the accident with your friends and coworkers, and you should not post anything about the accident on social media.
5. Making Uninformed Decisions
Perhaps most important of all, you need to avoid making uninformed decisions. This applies to all aspects of your motor vehicle accident claim—from choosing a doctor to deciding when (and if) to accept a settlement. If you don’t have a clear understanding of your medical needs, if you don’t know what information you are (and aren’t) required to share with your insurance adjuster, or if you don’t know how much you are entitled to recover, you won’t be able to make smart decisions with your long-term best interests in mind. Speak to an experienced car accident attorney here today so we can help guide you through some of these common mistakes, and help you avoid them.
FAQs: Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Motor Vehicle Accident in Bethlehem
What Should I Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident in Bethlehem?
Any time you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should report the accident to the police and your insurance company. You should also see a doctor promptly, and you should discuss your legal rights with a Bethlehem motor vehicle accident attorney here at Drake, Hileman & Davis.
Do I Need to Hire a Bethlehem Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney?
While you can certainly try to handle your situation on your own, you can also hire an attorney to assist you. When you contact us about your accident in Bethlehem, one of our attorneys will explain everything you need to know (and everything you need to do) in order to fully protect your rights. Your attorney will also work to gather all of the evidence needed to prove your rights and calculate your losses, and then your attorney will negotiate to secure a favorable insurance settlement on your behalf.
How Should I Deal with the Insurance Companies?
While you need to report your accident to your insurance company, you also need to be very careful when doing so. Anything you say can, and likely will, be used against you. As a result, when reporting your accident, you should stick to the facts, and you should not let the insurance agent talk you into saying it is possible that you caused the crash, or that you weren’t really injured in the accident.
Dealing with insurance companies after an accident can take months, and there are numerous pitfalls along the way. Rather than dealing with the insurance companies on your own, you can—and should—hire a Bethlehem motor vehicle accident attorney to deal with them for you. This will ensure that you do not make any costly mistakes, and you can rely on your attorney to seek maximum compensation on your behalf.
Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer?
While it might eventually make sense to settle your motor vehicle accident claim, generally you should not accept the insurance company’s first offer. In fact, you should not accept any offer unless advised to do so by your attorney. The insurance companies calculate their settlement offers with their best interests in mind. This means that any unsolicited offer you receive will almost certainly be for just a fraction of the total financial compensation you deserve.
What If I Can’t Work and Can’t Afford to Pay My Bills?
If the injuries from your motor vehicle accident prevent you from working, you may find yourself in a difficult financial situation. If this happens, you are not alone. Many auto accident victims struggle to pay their bills, and while this can be stressful, it is important to know that you have options available. A Bethlehem motor vehicle accident attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis can explain these options to you, and your attorney can help you make smart decisions while your accident claim is pending.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Bethlehem Accident Attorney Right Away
Motor vehicle accidents can be complicated by numerous factors as litigation proceeds. From the introduction of aggressive corporate defendants (such as vehicle manufacturers) to conflicts with public defendants on matters such as inadequate traffic signals, things can get complicated very quickly. To succeed in motor vehicle accident litigation, you’ll want to consult with a skilled Bethlehem car accident attorney who has the experience and track record of success in helping clients secure compensation for their injured clients. Call in today at 888-777-7098 to schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC. We are ready to help and look forward to speaking with you.