How Does Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Work After an Accident?

You’re a careful, defensive driver.  You never thought it would happen to you, but you’ve just been involved in a serious car accident.  You know you have the auto insurance you’re required to carry by law, but you’ve never been in a crash before and don’t know what to expect.  Insurance can be a confusing subject, so it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced Philadelphia auto accident lawyer if you have been hurt in a crash in Pennsylvania.  Thousands of dollars – or considerably more – could be riding on the line.  Your attorney can analyze your insurance policy and evaluate your options to make sure you don’t miss opportunities to pursue compensation.

How Does Car Insurance Pay for Treatment Costs if I Am Injured in an Auto Accident?

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State law requires Pennsylvania drivers to carry insurance called PIP, which stands for Personal Injury Protection.  If you are compliant with Pennsylvania’s auto insurance requirements, you have at least $5,000 worth of PIP coverage.  You may have opted for a higher coverage amount at the time you purchased insurance.

If you are injured in a car accident in Pennsylvania, the good news is that your PIP coverage will pay for some of your medical expenses.  The bad news is that your medical expenses are likely to exceed your coverage, especially if you need surgery or ongoing care.

Once your PIP coverage is exhausted, your health insurance may cover some of your remaining treatment expenses.  However, if you’re among the 33 million Americans who don’t have health insurance, you will be left paying for your medical bills out of pocket.

For many people, this is simply not a feasible option.  However, you may be able to file a car accident claim with the other driver’s insurance company if the other driver was at fault for causing the crash.  This is called a third-party claim, as opposed to a first-party claim you make with your own insurer.

A car accident attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf.  However, if the insurer refuses to settle the claim – which can occur for many reasons, such as denial of liability – it may become necessary to file a lawsuit.

It is important to note that if you purchased limited tort insurance as opposed to full tort, you will generally be precluded from suing for non-financial or “non-economic” damages, such as pain and suffering, unless your injuries are serious or certain exceptions apply.  These exceptions include, but are not limited to, injuries caused by:

  • Out-of-state drivers.
  • Uninsured drivers.
  • Drivers who intentionally attempt to inflict injury or cause death.
  • Intoxicated drivers who go on to be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), regardless of whether the intoxicating substance was alcohol, prescription medications, marijuana, and/or other illicit drugs.
  • Automotive defects, in which case a product liability attorney can assist you.  Product liability is the field of personal injury law that deals with injuries caused by products which malfunction due to design flaws or manufacturing errors.  According to PennDOT data, most defect-related crashes are caused by defective tires.  It’s a good idea to have your tires rotated whenever you get an oil change, or at least once every six months.

Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer Representing Crash Victims Throughout PA

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According to PennDOT, more than 80,000 people were injured in Pennsylvania auto accidents last year.  That means on average, nearly 220 people were hurt in car crashes on every single day of 2015.  Hopefully, you will never contribute to these statistics; but the unfortunate reality is that car accident injuries are very common in Pennsylvania.

If you or one of your loved ones is ever injured in a traffic accident, you should speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer about getting compensated for your medical bills and other expenses.  Depending on how and why your accident occurred, compensation may be available for your care costs, the income you lost due to the accident, and other crash-related damages.  You may even be able to get compensated for expenses you are expected to incur in the future, such as anticipated financial losses expected to result from permanent disability.

To talk about your Pennsylvania car accident claim in a free and confidential legal consultation, call the Wieand Law Firm, LLC at (888) 789-3161.  We represent car crash victims throughout Pennsylvania, including Bucks County, Berks County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County, and more.  We also handle:

*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes.  It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice.  The Wieand Law Firm, LLC is based in Philadelphia, PA, and proud to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.* 

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