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Auto Accidents

If you have been involved in an automobile collision, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages from the other driver or your own insurance company.  Following an automobile accident, it is important that you act quickly to ensure that your rights are preserved.  The Banks Law Group is experienced in assisting injured drivers and passengers with securing their rights following a car accident.  Contact the Banks Law Group, to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney if you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident.

Statistics

In 2010 alone, there were 121,312 reported automobiles crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 87,949 injuries.1 That averages approximately one accident in Pennsylvania every 4 minutes and 20 seconds. There is a high likelihood that you or someone you love will be injured in a car accident at some point during your lives.

In 2010, the total number motor vehicle traffic deaths nationwide was 33,687.2 In 2011, 32,367 people were killed in the estimated 5,338,000 police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes; 2,217,000 people were injured; and 3,778,000 crashes resulted in property damage only.3 Pennsylvania reported 1,324 car-related fatalities in 2010, up 5.4% from 2009.4 Of those deaths, 459, or 34.7% were alcohol-related.5 On an average day in 2010, 1.3 persons were killed and 26 persons were injured in 34 alcohol-related traffic accidents.6 At night, your chances of being struck by a drunk driver increase dramatically: approximately 72% of alcohol-related automobile collisions occur during the night.7

What to do when you’ve been involved in an automobile collision

  • If you’ve been in a car accident, the best advice is to stay calm.  Then:
  • If you’ve been injured, contact 9-1-1 immediately for medical assistance.
  • If you’re able, move your car to a safe place and activate your hazard lights.
  • Contact the police – even if the accident is minor.
  • Get the other driver’s information, including his/her:
  • driver’s license number, insurance provider and policy number, license plate and registration information, etc.
  • Do not sign or admit to anything – even if you believe you may have been at fault.
  • Take notes and pictures, if possible, to refresh your memory later.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Contact one of the experienced attorneys at the Banks Law Group, LLC.

Common injuries

Injuries from automobile accidents are as varied as the accidents themselves.  However, there are several common types of accident injuries.  They range in severity from the relatively minor, which will heal on their own in a few days, to the extreme: loss of life.  Even a minor accident may result in permanent damage and disability.

  • Lacerations & Contusions.  Minor cuts and bruises will resolve within a few days of injury; but deeper lacerations may require surgical repair and result in permanent scarring.  Deep bruises, similarly, may be more serious hematomas, which can last for years.
  • Fractures.  Broken bones are a common result of a car accident.  A simple break will generally be treated with casting followed by physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles in order to regain strength and full range of motion.  More serious breaks, such as a compound fracture where the broken bone erupts through the skin, may require surgery to repair.  You may require an orthopedic specialist to ensure full recovery.
  • Spinal Injuries.  Whiplash is caused when your head and/or neck are moved forcibly outside their normal range of motion, typically as the result of a rear-end impact.  While whiplash can resolve in a matter of days, it may also trigger serious neck problems, either by itself or by aggravating a pre-existing condition.  Spinal injuries can result in intense pain, referred pain and numbness in your limbs and face, and permanent or temporary paralysis.
  • Internal Injuries.  The impact of the crash may cause damage to your internal organs.  These injuries are serious and should be treated promptly.
  • Concussions & Traumatic Brain Injuries.  Any blow to the head may cause swelling in the brain.  These injuries are not always noticeable, and if you believe that you struck your head in a collision, you should inform the medical responders immediately.  Symptoms from such injuries do not always manifest themselves immediately, and you may require monitoring to ensure that you did not suffer more serious damage.
  • If you were injured by the negligence of another driver, each of these injuries can be serious enough to warrant compensation.  Contact the Banks Law Group, to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.

The Process

If you’ve been injured in an automobile collision, you may be entitled to the recovery of monetary damages from the negligent driver.  This is done by proving that the accident was the fault of the other driver.  Proof of negligence is essential.  The experienced attorneys at the Banks Law Group, know the importance of identifying and contacting witnesses, interviewing police officers and other first responders, and, when necessary, retaining accident reconstruction experts.

Accident-related medical expenses and wage loss benefits are considered “no fault” damages, and are covered by your own insurance company regardless of the cause of the accident.  Benefits for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses are “fault”-based, and the negligent driver is responsible for compensating the victim for his/her losses.

After establishing that the other driver is liable for your injuries, the next step is to demonstrate and quantify the seriousness of those injuries.  This is done by compiling the records of your crash-related medical treatment and contacting your doctors.  It may even be necessary to retain economists, doctors, or life-care planners as experts to fully explain and document the extent of your injuries.  The attorneys at Banks Law Group, will handle all of these matters for you, in order to ensure that you are compensated for all of your injuries.

In the event that the negligent driver’s automobile insurance is unable to fully compensate your injuries, you may be able to recover damages from your own insurance company.  This is called Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance coverage.  If you have been paying for UM/UIM coverage on your auto insurance policy, then your insurance company may be contractually obligated to compensate you for damages that the negligent driver cannot cover.

Even a simple car accident can present many complex issues of both law and fact.  Contact one of the experienced attorneys at the Banks Law Group, to ensure that your rights are protected.

Car Accident Statistics – Fast Facts

  • In 2011, an average of 89 people died each day nationwide – one life every 16 minutes.8
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for persons ages 4 and 11 through 27.9
  • In 2011, 2.2 million people were injured in an automobile accident.10
  • NHTSA estimates that 11,949 lives were saved by seat belts in 2011.11
  • In 2011, speeding was a contributing factor in 30% of all fatal crashes, and 9,944 lives were lost in speed-related incidents.12
  • In 2010, the total economic loss due to reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania was over $14.5 billion dollars, or approximately $1,148 per Pennsylvania resident.13