I was in an auto accident in Harrisburg, PA or Carlisle, PA or York PA, or Chambersburg, PA or anywhere in South Central Pennsylvania, is it okay to speak to the insurance companies? Before you say anything to an insurance representative or sign any documents, you should speak to an experienced auto accident attorney about your case. Our initial consultations are free. Unfortunately, many victims speak to the insurance representatives before they know their rights. Many victims suffer not only from their injuries but also from the mistakes they have made in attempting to handle the matter without knowing their rights. Before you speak to an insurance company, you should spend a little time learning about your rights from one of our experienced auto accident attorneys. The consultation is always free on motor vehicle accidents, so you have nothing to lose. Do I need an personal injury attorney or car accident lawyer? The insurance company has agents, adjusters, investigators, and appraisers working for them. Their adjusters are not paid to make sure you get maximum and fair compensation. Their job is to pay the least amount possible on each claim. You should have a professional team on your side. Let us worry about the insurance representatives so you can focus on getting better and back to your normal life. I don’t know if I can afford an auto accident attorney. How do you get paid? Our initial consultations on personal injury cases are always free. So you have nothing to lose by picking up the phone and calling to find out your rights. In personal injury matters we represent people on a contingency fee arrangement. In other words, our fee is a percentage of the total recovery. If we do not make a recovery on your behalf, we do not get paid a fee for our work. We also will advance expenses to pursue your case and we do not get repaid unless we make a recovery for you. While the amount of the contingency fee may vary depending on type of case you have, the fact that we get a percentage of the total recovery means that the more we get for you, the more we get for ourselves. Therefore, we have an incentive to fight to get the maximum amount we can for you. During our initial meeting, we will discuss the fee agreement with you before representation begins. Remember, we do not get paid unless we make a recovery for you. Can any lawyer handle an injury case? Technically, any lawyer could handle your case but not all lawyers have the same experience in all areas of the law. You should have a lawyer experienced in the area of law for your case. If you needed brain surgery, you would not want a foot doctor to perform it. Likewise, if you have an automobile accident case, you should not expect that an attorney who only handles criminal law will be able to get you the same result an experienced automobile accident attorney. Mooney & Assoicate, auto accident attorneys have the skillls and knowledge to get you the compensation you deserve. The insurance adjuster said because I have Limited Tort that I have no right to make a claim even though their driver was at fault. Is that right? In Pennsylvania, whether you have a right to pursue claims for non-economic damages, or pain and suffering, depends on the type of insurance YOU purchased. If you chose Full Tort coverage, you essentially agreed that your insurance rates would be higher but by paying more you maintained your legal rights to pursue claims for pain and suffering. If you chose Limited Tort, you essentially agreed to give up your rights to pursue claims for pain and suffering in exchange for cheaper insurance rates. However, there are many exceptions to the Limited Tort rule and even if you have Limited Tort you should seek a free consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss whether any of those exceptions apply in your case. My medical bills were sent to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They have refused to pay them and told me to submit them to my insurance. Why should my insurance company pay the bills when it was their driver’s fault? In Pennsylvania, our motor vehicle law provides that if you are involved in an accident your medical bills are paid by your own car insurance. If you do not own a car but live with a relative who owns a car, then your bills go through that insurance policy. If you do not own a vehicle, do not reside with a relative who owns a vehicle, then your medical bills would go through the insurance policy covering the vehicle you were occupying at the time of the crash. I was not in my car when the accident happened. Why does my insurance have to be involved at all? In Pennsylvania, we look to our own insurance for certain benefits and to define the rights you have. Even if you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, your insurance is still responsible for payment of your medical bills. Even though your vehicle was not involved and you were not driving, we still look to your insurance to determine if you have Full Tort rights or Limited Tort rights. I have not been able to work. I am getting behind on my bills. Is there any way to make the insurance company pay for my missed time from work? If the accident was not your fault, you should be able to recover for your lost wages. When you purchased your insurance, you were given the option of purchasing Wage Loss or Income Loss coverage. It is an optional coverage and you did not have to purchase it. If you did purchase Income Loss coverage on your policy, your insurance company will typically not cover the first five days you miss but after that they will pay 80% of your lost wages up to whatever monthly amount of Income Loss coverage you purchased. If you did not purchase Income Loss coverage, you should still be able to present that claim to the at-fault driver’s insurance at the right time. In order to prove a lost wage claim to an insurance company, you typically need two things: Anote from a doctor saying you are not allowed to work Proof from your employer that you have a job, what days you missed, and what your earnings are If you do not have a doctor’s note saying you can’t work, the insurance company will not believe you were not able to work. If you choose to take off without a doctor’s note, you should expect the insurance company will believe that you just wanted to take the day off. Often, proving lost wages can be fairly straightforward but whenever someone is self-employed it can be more complicated. This happens because a self-employed person usually doesn’t bother to get a doctor’s note since they have no employer to give it to. Additionally, proving lost earnings can be more complicated and therefore it is a good idea to speak to an experienced accident attorney to discuss things you can do to help support your lost wage claim. The insurance company made me an offer but I am still not better. If I take their offer, what happens if I have problems down the road? At Mooney & Associates, the auto accident lawyers, we like to tell our clients that “insurance companies don’t pay for what ifs down the road.” You are not in a position to figure out how much your case is worth or enter into settlement discussions until you are better, back to normal, done receiving medical treatment, or at least have reached a plateau in your recovery. An insurance company is not going to settle with you multiple times. They will only settle once. If you accept a settlement, the insurance company will require that you sign a Release. A Release is a document which essentially says that you are accepting the insurance company’s offer and you will never be able to come back and ask for more money in the future as a result of this accident. Therefore, we want to make sure you have fully healed and that have received all the medical treatment you needed before we evaluate the case. I found out the at-fault driver did not have insurance. Can I still sue or pursue claims? Technically, you could still sue the at-fault driver but rarely does that do much good if there is no insurance in place. You should check your policy to see if you purchased Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This is an optional coverage but if you purchased it, you can pursue your injury claims against your own insurance company. How much is my case worth? This usually depends upon the type of injury that you sustained, the amount of medical treatment you received, the type of treatment that you received, whether or not you make a full recovery and what your past and future expenses are. There are many other factors that play a role in determining the value of your case. We will review your case in detail and advise you what we believe the insurance company will pay for your injuries. That said, we cannot tell you how much your case is worth until you have finished all of your treatment.