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Car Accidents

Erie Car Accident Attorneys

Pennsylvania is a large state with over 120,000 miles of roadways. Each year, motorists travel over 100 billion miles on Pennsylvania roads. 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.

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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. 

At the Erie Pennsylvania car accident law firm of Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we represent personal injury victims in cases against negligent drivers. Our team of skilled car wreck lawyers has decades of experience handling a wide range of claims, and has a track record of success at trial and the negotiation table. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients in which we will explain the recovery process in detail and how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation.

Types of Erie Vehicle Collisions

At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, 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:

Crashes involving a fixed object – The most common type of Pennsylvania car accident consists of a vehicle smashing into a fixed object. Nearly 30 percent of all Pennsylvania motor vehicle crashes involved a stationary object. While it may be tempting to assume that a driver who collides with a fixed object is to blame, that certainly isn’t always the case. Often, if an attentive driver takes evasive action to avoid a collision with another vehicle, they end up crashing into a utility pole or other stationary object.

Head-On collisions – Head-On collisions are one of the most dangerous types of accident due to the speeds that are often involved, as well as the fact that these crashes involve a 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.

Rear-End accidents – While rear-end accidents often involve low speeds, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be injuries. 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.

Sideswipe crashes – The most common cause of a sideswipe collision is a motorist’s failure to yield the right-of-way at an intersection. Often, this comes as a result of the driver running a red light or a stop sign, and crashing into another motorist as they travel through the intersection. Sideswipe accidents account for about 6.5 percent of all Pennsylvania motor vehicle collisions.

Pedestrian Accidents – Not surprisingly, Pennsylvania pedestrian accidents are the deadliest type of collision. While pedestrian-involved crashes only account for 3 percent of the total number of accidents, they are responsible for 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.

From our clients

Gene was awesome!!! He handled everything so I didn’t have to worry and could just focus on my recovery and get back to work. He was always available and quick to return my phone calls and emails with the answers I needed. My case was handled quickly and with no added stress to me or my family. I would recommend Matt to anyone in need of assistance after a motor vehicle accident. 

-V.L.

Automobile crashes can be complicated cases

Many questions and issues 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 who can provide answers to all of your questions and to help you through this difficult time.

Highly experienced automobile accident attorneys

Our attorneys have decades of eperience 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. Our team has direct experience in maximizing your recovery.

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 as long as they are less than 51 percent responsible for the crash. 

It is essential to keep in mind that an injury victim who is partially at fault will have the total amount of damages reduced by their own percentage of fault. For example, assume you are involved in an accident that resulted in $500,000 in damages; however, the jury determined that you were 30 percent at fault. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative fault analysis, you would receive $350,000 ($500,000 less 30 percent). Given the nature of how the comparative fault rule works, Erie car wreck victims must work with a reputable injury lawyer to minimize the chance that a defendant can shift any liability away from themselves.

Seven things to do after 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. Many drivers find it helpful to print this list and place it in their glove compartment or some other convenient location; that way, they don’t have to worry about committing these important steps to memory. 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.

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.

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.

Call the police – Except in the most minor of accidents, 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.

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. You can also look around to see if any surveillance or traffic cameras may have documented the accident.

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.

The importance of insurance in Western Pennsylvania motor vehicle collisions

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 following coverage:

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

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. 

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.

Testimonials

Attorney Parini impressed me as soon as I met him. I knew right off the bat that this attorney was the person I wanted to represent me. His very intimidating posture, led me to believe he could handle anything that would come his way. The man is a winner.  

-J.C.

99% Success Rate

Our firm has over a 99 percent success rate when handling personal injury matters. When we take on a case, we expect to be able to achieve a successful outcome. If you or a loved one has been injured, we can help you get the just compensation you deserve.

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. 

  • Special damages – 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.
  • General 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.
  • Punitive damages – 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.

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.

Gene P. Placidi

With more than 70 years of collective legal experience and an exceptional history of success, you can be confident in our ability to handle your case and produce maximum results.

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.

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.

To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation, call us at (814) 459-5557. You can also contact us online.

I would recommend them to anyone and have. 

John is a great attorney.  John and his staff promptly return calls and emails when you have questions and concerns not only when the process starts but all the way to completion.  John and his staff have been a godsend throughout. I would recommend them to anyone and have. 

- Virginia

Attorney Parini impressed me as soon as I met him.

I knew right off the bat that this attorney was the person I wanted to represent me. His very intimidating posture, led me to believe he could handle anything that would come his way. The man is a winner.  

- J.C.

Gene was awesome!!!

He handled everything so I didn’t have to worry and could just focus on my recovery and get back to work. He was always available and quick to return my phone calls and emails with the answers I needed. My case was handled quickly and with no added stress to me or my family. I would recommend Matt to anyone in need of assistance after a motor vehicle accident.

- V.L.

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