If you were injured in an auto accident in Bucks County Pennsylvania, and are dealing with rising medical bills, lost wages, ongoing pain, etc. there are some important steps you need to take to help get those bills covered and to bring a successful auto claim. An attorney experienced at handling Bucks County auto accidents will be able to help you cover each of these steps and bring a successful auto accident claim.
Getting Your Bills Covered From Insurance
One step is to contact your own auto insurance to get medical benefits coverage. You should have what is called personal injury protection (PIP) or no-fault medical benefits coverage with your auto policy. This medical benefits coverage will cover your medical bills up to the policy limits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. To get these benefits you will have to fill out some forms and send them back to your auto insurer. If you are not sure how to fill them out an attorney experienced in handling Bucks County auto claims can help you with this. Often, there will be a back and forth where you can negotiate your claim. You should contact your own auto insurance about the accident even if you were just a passenger in someone else’s car. If you were struck by someone’s car while a pedestrian than your own health insurance will cover your medical treatment.
What if you do not own a car and were just a passenger in another person’s car when the accident happened? Then you contact the auto insurance for the car you were a passenger in and go through the same process of filling out forms. Once these medical benefits are exhausted you will get a letter notifying you of this from the auto insurer. At this point you must submit all future medical bills to your health insurance. If you do not have health insurance, any additional unpaid medical bills can be included as part of your damages for an auto claim if you have one.
What if the other driver does not have auto insurance or took off after hitting your car? You can still make a recovery against your own insurance for your injuries if you have uninsured motorist coverage. Likewise, if you have very serious injuries and the defendant only has limited auto insurance coverage, you can also collect against your own auto insurance for those injuries if you have underinsured motorist coverage.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate all of these complicated systems, and help get you the compensation you deserve.
In addition to get your medical benefits covered through your auto insurance, your attorney will also need the declaration page for your auto policy to see if you are full or limited tort. If you have full tort coverage you will have no limitations on bringing a Bucks County auto accident claim. If you have limited tort then you can only recover for your pain and suffering injuries if you can show your injuries are significant and/or life altering. This can be shown through your medical records and reports of your treating doctors or other medical experts. There are also other exceptions to the limitations of a limited tort policy such as if you were in an accident with a commercial vehicle or if the other driver’s car is registered out of the state of Pennsylvania.
Another step is to make sure you get property damage coverage for your damaged car from your auto insurer if you have that coverage. Your auto insurer will inspect the damage to your car and provide reasonable costs for repairs. If your car was totaled your auto insurer will get a check for the current value of your car. This does not mean the original price you paid for the car but instead the present value of the car…which will usually be less.
Police Reports Will Help Establish Fault
You or your attorney will need to get a copy of the police report. Hopefully after the accident either you, the other driver, or a witness contacted the police. You will also want to give a statement to the police about the accident so that they can complete their report and investigation. The police report will help establish whether the other driver in your accident was at fault because the police will normally cite that driver if they are. If you are having problems getting the report an attorney can also help you with that.
If the police were not contacted or did not show up to your accident you can also prove the other driver was fault through your own testimony, testimony of other passengers in the car, or any witnesses to the accident.
Proving Your Need For Compensation
You should also (or if you are medically not able to a family member or close friend) take pictures showing the extent of the damage to your car. This can help show the seriousness of the accident if there was extensive damage to your car.
If you have lost wages, you will need to get copies of your taxes from the past couple of years as well as recent pay stubs to help show what those lost wages were. You should also make a list of names of any co-employees or managers at your work who can talk about what kind of employee you were at work and how the accident changed you.
Finally, you will need to get your medical records. This can be handled by contacting the medical records department at the hospital or doctor’s office you treated. However, an attorney who is experienced in handling auto accident claims can get these records for you after you sign an authorization allowing any hospital or doctor you treated with to release your records to your attorney. Your attorney may also get reports from your treating doctors laying out your injuries are from the accident, and any treatment you will need in the future for those injuries.
Finding A Bucks County Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a member of our family was involved in an auto accident in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and are not sure what to do next, the attorneys at the Thistle Law Firm are here to take your call and answer your questions at 215-568-6800.