12 Key Legal Questions for Motor Vehicle Injuries
1. Do I have a case?
There’s an easy way to find out: call us at 610-370-6682 or 570-799-5017. Simply tell us what happened. We’ll tell you if we feel you have a good case, and answer any other questions you might have about the legal process. No pressure, no obligation, no cost. In fact, with Liever, Hyman & Potter, you will pay no fee, not even expenses, unless we recover money for you.
2. How will I be charged?
There are two ways that attorneys charge. One is by the hour. The other, which we use, is by a percentage of the money recovered for our clients. This is known as a “contingent fee.” If for any reason we do not obtain a financial recovery for our client, there would be no charge for our services.
3. What about expenses?
In some vehicle accident cases, there are expenses for medical experts, investigators and the like. Some attorneys will charge the client for these expenses regardless of the outcome of the case. We do not. We advance these expenses on behalf of our client. Assuming we win, part of the settlement is used to reimburse these costs. But if there is no recovery, our client wouldn’t have to pay us back.
4. How much is my case worth?
No two cases are alike. The value depends on many factors such as the nature, extent and permanency of the injuries, their effect on the victim’s ability to earn a living, and their effect on the victim’s/family’s ability to enjoy life.
5. Will I have to go to court?
Possibly, but most cases are settled out of court. When we have all of the information we need, we’ll sit down with you, review the case, and determine the appropriate settlement figure. On your behalf, we’ll then present the demand. As soon as we get a response, we’ll call you. The decision to accept or reject the counteroffer is entirely up to you. If we reject it, we’ll file a lawsuit. The case can still be settled out of court up to the time of the trial, but if it isn’t, your trial lawyer is ready to represent you in court.
6. Who decides whether my case is settled or goes to court?
You decide. We’ll give you our recommendations, but the final decision is entirely yours.
7. Who will decide my case?
If your case cannot be settled out of court, it will normally be decided by a jury. Some cases are decided by a judge. Others are decided by a panel of arbitrators, usually composed of three lawyers.
8. What about my medical bills and lost wages?
Pennsylvania law requires that your initial medical bills be submitted to your own automobile insurance company, even if the accident was completely the fault of someone else. If your policy’s medical coverage is used up, your bills should then be submitted to any other health care provider (e.g. Blue Cross, Medicare). Work loss benefits might also be available if such benefits are included in your auto insurance coverage. Being familiar with the benefits required by law, we know how to review your insurance policies and fully explain their benefits to you.
9. What if the other driver has no insurance?
You or other family members living in your household may have “uninsured motorist” benefits on your policies. If someone outside of your family was driving, such benefits might also be available through the policy on the car you occupied at the time of the accident.
If the other driver has insurance but not enough to fully compensate you, there may be “underinsured” motorist benefits available in the various policies. We’ll check them and tell you exactly what protection you have.
10. Can I recover for my pain and suffering?
By Pennsylvania law, when you purchased your insurance you should have been given a choice between “full tort” and “limited tort” coverage. If you selected the “full tort” option, you may recover for your pain and suffering. If you selected “limited tort,” you may still collect for your pain and suffering if you have what the law defines as a “serious injury.” But this is a general rule, and there are exceptions. We’ll review the facts of your case and carefully analyze your insurance policy to determine your eligibility to claim damages for pain and suffering and any other losses that occurred.
11. What about my car?
If you have automobile collision insurance, your own insurance company will reimburse you for the damage caused to your car, less any deductible. If the other driver’s insurance company reimburses them for the full damage, your provider will also reimburse you for the deductible.
If you don’t have collision insurance, then you must look to the other driver’s insurance to pay for the damage to your vehicle. We help our clients understand the property damage insurance coverage, and assist them in getting paid. This service is usually provided at no charge to the client.
12. What if the accident was partially my fault?
You’ll still be entitled to recover the medical or wage loss benefits provided under your own insurance policy. In addition, the law still allows a claim on your behalf against the other driver as long as you are not more at fault. In other words, if you are 50% or less at fault for the accident, you are still entitled to a proportionate financial recovery of the damages.