Erie car accident lawyers

Each year, motorists travel over 100 billion miles on Pennsylvania roads.

Pennsylvania is a large state with over 120,000 miles of roadways. While most motorists take their driving responsibilities seriously; unfortunately, that isn’t the case for all drivers. For example, in 2017, there were over 128,000 Pennsylvania car crashes. Of those, over 80,000 accidents resulted in injury and 1,137 resulted in death. Of course, nobody gets behind the wheel thinking that they are going to be involved in a Pennsylvania car accident. However, given the statistics, it stands to reason that no matter how many precautions a driver takes, Pennsylvania car wrecks are inevitable.

Contact us so that we can help you through this difficult time. The initial consultation is free.

Recovering from a car accident

In 2017

Being involved in a Western Pennsylvania car wreck is often a traumatic experience. Most accident victims suffer physical injury from the effects of a serious crash, but the damage caused by an auto accident doesn’t stop there. Many car wreck victims must take time off of work while they recover, and then once they finally can recover face seemingly endless medical bills. Victims must also deal with the lasting effects of the pain and emotional stress and anxiety caused by the accident.

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Do not go it alone

We represent personal injury victims in cases against negligent drivers.

Being involved in a Western Pennsylvania car wreck is often a traumatic experience. Most accident victims suffer physical injury from the effects of a serious crash, but the damage caused by an auto accident doesn’t stop there. Many car wreck victims must take time off of work while they recover, and then once they finally can recover face seemingly endless medical bills. Victims must also deal with the lasting effects of the pain and emotional stress and anxiety caused by the accident.

Let a car accident lawyer take on the hassle so you can recover.

We represent clients in all types of Erie car wreck cases, even in situations where you may have shared in the responsibility for causing the accident.

While every Pennsylvania car crash is unique, there are several common types of accidents:

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Crashes involving a fixed object

Nearly 30 percent of all Pennsylvania car crashes involve a stationary object. It is easy to assume that a driver who collides with a fixed object is to blame. However, if an attentive driver takes evasive action to avoid a collision with another vehicle, they may end up crashing into a stationary object.

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Head-on collisions

Head-on collisions are one of the most dangerous types of accident, due to speed and direct impact. In Pennsylvania, head-on collisions account for only 3.7 percent of all accidents; however, they make up over 10 percent of the fatalities.

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Rear-end accidents

Establishing that another driver is at fault in an Erie rear-end collision can be difficult, and requires a thorough understanding of Pennsylvania traffic laws as well as accident law. Rear-end accidents account for nearly 23 percent of all Pennsylvania car wrecks.

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Sideswipe crashes

The most common cause of a sideswipe collision is failure to yield the right-of-way. Often, this comes as a result of the driver running a red light or a stop sign. Sideswipe accidents account for about 6.5 percent of all Pennsylvania motor vehicle collisions.

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Pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian-involved crashes only account for 3 percent of the total number of accidents, but 12 percent of the state’s traffic-related deaths. While motorists must yield to pedestrians, recovering after an Erie pedestrian-car accident can be tricky because drivers routinely try to shift fault from themselves onto the pedestrian.

Our attorneys have decades of experience dealing with insurance companies on behalf of clients injured by the negligence of others. We know how they work, and we know how to beat them.
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Your questions answered:

Do I still have a case if I was partially at fault?

While some crashes are solely the fault of one party, it is not uncommon for an accident victim to share some responsibility for causing an accident. In Pennsylvania, the fact that you are partially at fault for an accident will not prevent you from bringing a case against other at-fault drivers. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative fault rule, an at-fault motorist can still pursue a claim for compensation if they are less than 51 percent responsible for the crash.

An injury victim who is partially at fault will have the total amount of damages reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, imagine you are involved in an accident that resulted in $500,000 in damages. The jury determines you were 30 percent at fault. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative fault analysis, you would receive $350,000 ($500,000 less 30 percent). A reputable injury lawyer can help minimize the chance a defendant will shift liability from themselves.

Many questions can arise as to who is at fault and what types of insurance will be available to compensate you for your injuries. The best thing to do is to contact an experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer.

Seven things to do after a Pennsylvania car wreck

Victims of Erie car crashes know how stressful it can be in the moments after the accident. The atmosphere is chaotic, adrenaline is at a high, and many accident victims describe the aftermath as a blur. It is common for crash victims to “zone out.” However, the moments immediately following a serious Western Pennsylvania motor vehicle accident are crucial, and there are certain things motorists should keep in mind. Keeping the below things in mind after an accident is a good way to ensure that you protect your rights following an Erie motor vehicle accident.

You may find it helpful to print this list and place it in the glove box; that way, you don’t have to worry about committing these important steps to memory.

01

Stop the car

02

Check for injuries

03

Call the police

04

Don’t admit fault

05

Protect the scene

06

Create a record

07

Talk to an attorney

Stop the car. Even if the accident seemed minor and you do not believe that you or anyone else was hurt, you should stop the vehicle. Aside from the fact that leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, you may not be immediately aware of any injuries. Often, adrenaline masks the pain we usually associate with an injury.

Check for injuries. After stopping, you should exit the vehicle and instruct all passengers who can do so on their own to do the same. Conduct a visual check for injuries, but do not move injured passengers. If you are injured, try to restrict your movement as much as possible, as this can worsen your injuries.

Call the police. Those involved in a motor vehicle collision should call the police and report the accident. The responding police officer will generate a police report and take down some basic facts about the accident. This information can be helpful in an Erie personal injury case.

Do not admit fault. Admitting responsibility for an accident does nothing but reduce your chances of being able to recover for your injuries because the other party can use your statements against you in a subsequent case. At the same time, refrain from arguing about whose fault it was and focus on gathering information.

Protect the scene. Resist the temptation to move your vehicle or clear the road of any debris and allow the responding police officers to handle the scene. Not only do you put yourself at risk by being on the highway, but you also make it more difficult for police officers to determine what occurred in the moments leading up to the accident.

Create a record. One of the most important things to remember is to document what happened. This includes obtaining identifying information from the other drivers involved, as well as from any witnesses who saw the accident. If you have a camera, take pictures of the accident before anything changes.

Follow up with an attorney. Once the initial stress of the crash has worn down, be sure to reach out to an experienced Erie personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights and how you can pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you sustained in the accident.

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The importance of insurance

Insurance companies play a significant role in Western Pennsylvania car wreck cases because they often defend the at-fault driver.

An insurance policy is a contract under which the motorist pays a monthly or annual premium and return the insurance company agrees to cover certain costs if the motorist causes or is involved in an accident. Some insurance is mandatory, while other types are optional. In Pennsylvania, all drivers must obtain the coverage listed here.

Motorists also have the choice between limited tort or full tort insurance. Limited tort insurance is less expensive; however,

insurance companies will not compensate a motorist for any pain and suffering they experience as a result of the accident. Full tort coverage, while more expensive, allows motorists unrestricted rights to pursue a claim against the insurance company.

Bodily injury liability: Minimum coverage of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident

Property damage liability: Minimum coverage of $5,000

Medical benefits: Minimum coverage of $5,000

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM)

Unlike many states, Pennsylvania’s car insurance requirements do not include mandatory underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) protection. Unfortunately, this leaves many accident victims in a precarious position because UIM protection is crucial if an at-fault driver does not have car insurance or does not have enough coverage to compensate the accident victim fully.

For example, if another driver hits you and you suffer $100,000 in medical expenses, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is only responsible up to the policy limit. If the at-fault driver only purchased the minimum amount of required insurance (as many drivers do), then you would only be able to recover $15,000. If you had a UIM policy, however, you could then file a claim with your own insurance company seeking compensation up to the policy limit.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company is only responsible up to their policy limit.

What damages are available to Erie car crash victims?

In Pennsylvania, there are three basic types of damages awards that are available to the victims of Erie car accidents. Determining which types of damages are appropriate in an Erie motor vehicle lawsuit is a complex and lengthy process, and best handled by an experienced Western Pennsylvania personal injury law firm.

Types of damages

General Damages

Special Damages

Punitive Damages

Sometimes called to as non-economic damages, general damages refer to those that do not have an easily determined monetary value. For example, general damages may include compensation for your physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of companionship or permanent disfigurement.

Also called economic damages, special damages provide victims with compensation for the financial expenses that they incurred as a result of the collision. Special damages often include medical expenses, lost wages and property damage. These damages also allow victims to recover certain attendant costs such as modifications that you need to make to your home as a result of your injuries.

Unlike the other two types of damages, punitive damages are focused on the conduct of the defendant, rather than on any loss you suffered. Courts award punitive damages to punish a defendant for especially egregious conduct. For this reason, courts award punitive damages only in situations where the defendant exhibited a reckless disregard for your safety.

40%

40 Percent Higher

Settlements for auto accidents are 40 percent higher with an attorney.

3.5x

3.5 Times Higher

Insurance payouts to injury victims are 3.5 times higher with an attorney.

Free Consultation

Contact an experienced Erie personal injury lawyer

If you or someone you care about was recently the victim of a Western Pennsylvania motor vehicle collision, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for your injuries. At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we represent Erie accident victims and their families in all varieties of car accident claims. We also handle Pennsylvania wrongful death claims related to fatal car accidents.

Recognized by clients and peers

The lawyers at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini have been selected as Top 10 Attorney for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys awarded to attorneys demonstrating exceptional and outstanding client service. Our dedicated Erie injury lawyers have been selected by Super Lawyers on multiple occasions and are rated as 10 out of 10 by AVVO, an independent lawyer rating service.

With more than 70 years of combined experience and an exceptional track record to success, you can be confident in our ability to handle your case.

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