Philadelphia, PA

  • Hiring a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney?

    Pennsylvania accident laws are in place in an attempt to avoid lengthy legal battles over automobile wrecks and other accidents.

    If you have been involved and injured in a car accident in the Greater Philadelphia area, then here are a few things you should perhaps consider before securing a lawyer:

    Time Limit

    In Philadelphia, like most cities across the country, you have just 24 months from the date of the accident to file your claim, unless it was with a city or county official, in which case, you have just 6 months.

    Your own car insurance plan pays your claim

    When it comes to accidents and insurance claims, Pennsylvania is considered a “no fault” state. Damage to your property or medical injury claim will be submitted and paid for by your own car insurance company.

    Shared liability rule

    In an accident lawsuit, if the court determines you were 50% or more responsible for the accident that caused your injuries; then you will not receive any compensation.

    No limit on awarded damages

    Also called “no cap”, Pennsylvania does not put limits to the amount of money a person can receive to cover economic damages, such as lost wages, medical expenses, property damage, etc, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of quality of life.

    Things to Consider When Hiring a Lawyer

    If you have been in a minor accident and have suffered bumps and bruises, even had to spend some time off from work, then there might be a few things to consider as you seek a personal injury attorney.

    Depending on your case, some law firms might turn down your case if it’s for a small or minor accident. There are injuries that may seem minor at first but turn out to be more serious than previously thought.

    If you have sustained significant or serious injury, then it may be in your best interest to speak with and hire a qualified personal injury professional to represent your case against car insurance companies.

    Insurance company lawyers do not represent you and some cases offer reduced or low compensation or even deny your claim altogether. Retaining an accident lawyer might be the best option for people who:

    Long Term Injury or Permanent Disability

    Most injury rules consider an injury that last more than a year to be “long term” and one that affects a person for the rest of their life to be “permanent”. Both, however, can cause devastation to your financial life, your quality of life, as well as your personal relationships.

    While some injuries are simple to prove in a court of law, others may be a bit more difficult. Your attorney may hire a medical expert to testify on your behalf in order to explain your injuries and what it means for your future life.

    Disputed Liability or Refusal to Pay

    Since Pennsylvania is a “shared liability” state, often times the insurance company will dispute your claim, or refuse payment all together, saying that you were equally responsible for the accident. In a Philadelphia court, your lawyer may be better able to prove the other driver’s fault, or at least, reduce your share of liability to increase the percentage of compensation you may receive.

    When Hiring an Accident Lawyer

    Because of certain limitations and guidelines that must be followed due to Philadelphia’s accident laws, it may be important to secure a lawyer as soon as possible to represent your case.

    Here are a few tips when looking for the best lawyer for you:

    Specializes in Personal Injury

    While some lawyers specialize in many areas of law, you might consider securing a lawyer with experience representing your type of injury case. An experienced car accident lawyer knows the laws and rules that govern the car insurance company, as well as what your legal rights are.

    Attorney's Reviews

    If you have narrowed down 3 or 4 attorneys who specialize in car accidents, it may be important to research what others are saying about him or her. Google reviews are helpful, but you can also access online resources like the Philadelphia Bar Association to ensure they can practice law in the state of Pennsylvania and do not have any fines or judgments against them. More info here.

    Time and Dedication to Your Lawsuit

    It is usually normal for an attorney to be working on multiple cases at one time, but is he or she working on too many that they won’t be able to effectively represent you?

    While you can ask about caseload directly, you can also determine the answer by who you met with during your consultation (the attorney, or one of his legal assistants) and the attention he gave you (was he asking you questions to learn more? Or was he trying to speed through the conversation?)

    It may be Important to Hire a Spanish Speaking Lawyer

    Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and Hispanics make up the 3rd largest ethnic group. In addition, 10% of all language spoken is Spanish. Latinos make up the fastest growing segment of the population and it is becoming easier to find a private Personal Injury lawyer in Philadelphia who speaks Spanish to represent you.

    There are several reasons to hire a Spanish speaking lawyer:

    Good Understanding

    A personal injury lawsuit involves understanding medical, legal and insurance terminology, all of which can be confusing. Even more so, if you do not have a Spanish speaking lawyer to explain the details of your case to you. Having a lawyer who speaks your language can ensure you are not signing your rights away and that you receive proper representation.

    Open and Clear Communication = Trust

    It may be difficult to establish trust if you and your attorney do not speak that same language. He or she may not be able to fully understand the scope of your injuries and the impact it has had on your life. You just can’t fake trust.

    Trust is established through commitment, when there’s respect for each other’s time and both parties are honest and truthful. Hiring a Spanish speaking attorney might increase and encourage open communication and clear understand with each other.

    Avoid Language Misunderstandings

    Many words and phrases in English simply do not translate well into Spanish. As your injury case goes through the legal process, you will be required to sign many forms and understand the questions being asked.

    How you answer these questions will determine whether or not you have a case and the amount of compensation you can receive. By having a Spanish speaking lawyer to assist, you will be in better position to avoid any misunderstandings resulting in a better outcome for your case.

    Larger Range Of Legal Representation

    Hispanics, just like any other ethnic group in America, have the same legal troubles as anyone else. Not just for personal injury and accidents, but also divorce, bankruptcy and criminal accusations. Even if your personal injury lawyer does not focus on any of these areas of law, often times he or she is able to refer you to another Spanish speaking lawyer in the Philly area that may be in better position to help.

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