Erie Fatal Car Accidents Lawyer
Your Erie personal injury lawyer from Melaragno, Placidi & Parini has your back.
When you or a loved one is involved in an Erie, Pennsylvania car accident, several laws come into play. In most cases, those who have been injured in a car accident and those who have lost a loved one in a fatal collision, do not know what options are available and which Pennsylvania laws may impact their case.
To help you in these hard times, our Erie fatal car accident attorneys at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini are ready to discuss your case.
The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), indicates car accidents occur every minute of the day. A staggering number of collisions with personal injuries, property damages and possible deaths occur every day nationally.
While any fatal car accident is one too many, the good news is that Pennsylvania's rate of car accident deaths is declining. In 2018, there were 128,420 crashes in Pennsylvania, which claimed the lives of 1,190 people. To put that in perspective, this is a fatality rate of 1.17 per hundred million vehicle-miles travelled. It is the second lowest rate in Pennsylvania since records began being kept in 1935.
Limited tort and full tort insurance
Under limited tort insurance, emotional stress or pain and suffering compensation can only be obtained if you are seriously injured or fall under other exceptions. Instead, you will typically only receive compensation for medical bills and lost wages under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. The claim will cover medical bills and lost wages.
Full tort means that you can recover non-economic (pain and suffering) damages without needing to prove your injuries are serious or proving you fall under other exceptions. This option allows you to file lawsuits against the other driver to receive compensation. The at-fault driver’s insurance pays for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement and other damages resulting from the accident.
Most Common Pennsylvania Car Crashes
At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we handle a wide variety of car accidents that include:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end crashes
- Hit and run scenarios
- Fatal car accidents
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Running stop signs and red lights
- Unsafe lane changes
- Vehicle mechanical defects
The Comparative Negligence Rule
If you were deemed to be partially at-fault for the fatal car accident, then the modified comparative negligence rule kicks in. In such cases, both parties involved in the collision share the blame for the car accident. In case of a trial, the plaintiff’s damage award may be reduced by a percentage equal to their share of fault.
For example, if a jury in a wrongful death lawsuit awards damages in the amount of $300,000 to cover for lost income, medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, but also suggests that you are 40 percent responsible for the accident because you ran a red light, your final damages amount would be 60 percent of $300,000, or $180,000.
However, if a jury determines you were more than 50 percent at fault for the fatal crash, your award for damages is zero. The comparative negligence rules bind not only judges and juries, but they also act as a guide for insurance adjusters when evaluating your claim. For help navigating your fatal car accident case, contact an experienced attorney at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini. They can take steps to maximize your damages and minimizing your fault for the accident through careful investigation.
Pennsylvania car accidents are often complex. Navigating the state’s insurance system alone is challenging. For this reason, it is best to reach out to an Erie personal injury lawyer to handle your case to ensure you can obtain the maximum compensation possible and in the instance of a fatal car crash, discuss the merits of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact Melaragno, Placidi & Parini about your case.
My case was handled quickly and with no added stress to me or my family. I would recommend them to anyone in need of assistance after a motor vehicle accident.
The Statute of Limitations for Pennsylvania Car Accidents
The Statute of Limitations is a set time limit for the plaintiff to bring a lawsuit. If the deadline is missed and a case is filed later, the courts typically dismiss the claim unless there are rare extenuating circumstances.
Pennsylvania time limits for filing a personal injury lawsuit are found in the Title 42, Pennsylvania Code section 5524 that states, "an action to recover damages for injuries … or a death caused by a wrongful act or negligence of another must be brought within two years."
Different types of claims will have various statutes of limitations. In a personal injury case, the date that is of critical importance is the date of the crash. However, if the accident resulted in someone's death, the statute of limitations begins running from the date of the victim's death — a date that could be different than the date of the accident.
In most cases, it is a good idea to file a lawsuit as soon as possible after having discussed your case with an Erie fatal car accident lawyer. It is imperative to file quickly as the deadline to file is not long.