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Frequently Asked QuestionsRegarding Automobile Accidents

Posted in: Practice Areas ? Personal Injury


The largest percentage of personal injury cases are automobile accidents. Statistically, one in three people will get into an automobile accident at some point in their life.  When automobile collisions occur they can have a traumatic impact on a person's life beyond physical bodily injury. The impact of the collision itself may cause a disturbance in one's daily life with unexpected residual side effects such as fear of driving and prevention of favorite recreational activities or past times.  If you have been involved in an automobile accident, chances are that those close to you are suffering as well. Provided below are some commonly asked questions when it comes to dealing with an automobile accident.

What should I do if I've been injured in an automobile accident?

The first thing you should do is seek immediate medical attention.  Often times, those in an automobile accident do not feel the effects of an accident until the next day.  Part of the reason is because adrenaline can act as a natural pain killer.  Many times people at the scene do not realize they are injured until the adrenaline wears off, making the pain evident.  It is always better to err on the side of your health when involved in an accident.


Who will pay my medical bills?

Most automobile insurance policies provide an allowance for medical treatment related to an automobile accident.  If you get into an automobile accident, first submit your medical bills to your automobile insurance carrier.  If you need continued treatment past your automobile insurance allotment, then submit them to your private health insurance carrier.


I have a Limited Tort automobile insurance policy does that mean I cannot recover for my injury?

Election of the Limited Tort will typically reduce your insurance premiums but will ?limit? your ability to sue for pain and suffering.  A Limited Tort policy holder will still be able to recover unpaid medical bills, property damage, and other economic loss but might not be able to recover damages for pain and suffering.  InPennsylvania, however, there a few general exceptions which will allow a Limited Tort policy holder to recover pain and suffering damages:


  1. You were hit by a drunk driver (i.e. the driver was convicted, plead guilty to, or was placed on ARD for driving under the influence);
  2. You were hit by an out of state driver (i.e. any other state besidesPennsylvania);
  3. You were riding a bicycle or were a pedestrian when you were hit by an automobile;
  4. You were either a driver or a passenger of a ?non-private passenger vehicle.?  This would include company cars or being a passenger in a bus or other commercial vehicle.
  5. The at-fault driver was driving without insurance.  (Although in many circumstances an uninsured motorist has little to no assets to collect from).
  6. The ?Serious Bodily Injury Exception? which allows pain and suffering money damages when it can be shown that a specific injury results in a ?serious impairment to a significant bodily function.?  This is very fact specific and largely dependent on individual circumstances.  For example, a surgeon or other skilled professional who relies on fine motor skill movement may fall under the Serious Bodily Injury Exception if he or she injures a pinky while most people would be largely unaffected and would not fall within the exception for the exact same injury.


What should I do after I've been in an automobile accident?

While litigation is not the first thing on most people's minds after they have been in a serious accident, it is important, if possible, to preserve as much evidence as you can after the accident.  This includes taking photographs and talking to those who may have witnessed the accident.  While you are recovering from an injury, it is important to keep detailed notes of how you are feeling physically and mentally.  This will help get the most accurate assessment of your day-to-day pain and suffering.


Can I afford an attorney?

McNichol, Byrne & Matlawski, P.C. takes personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis.  Litigation costs can be expensive and many people struggle financially and economically after an accident.  McNichol, Byrne & Matlawski, P.C. will pay the ligation costs and attorneys' fees, only seeking payment when we are able to collect money to compensate you.


Attorneys practicing law in Personal Injury
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