Owning a car comes with many responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is keeping your vehicle in good shape. Failure to do so can endanger everyone on the road.
If you were the victim of a Philadelphia accident caused by faulty or neglected vehicle maintenance, a lawyer from Morelli Law Firm is here to help. Contact a team member today at (212) 751-9800 to find out more.
When the Driver Is Responsible
Maintaining your car may involve:
- Going in for scheduled oil changes
- Taking the car to a mechanic if there are signs of trouble
- Rotating and changing the tires on a regular basis, among other things
While it may be inconvenient to have to take your car in for check-ups and repairs, the consequences of not doing so can be deadly.
If the other driver involved in your accident failed to maintain their car properly, they could owe you damages.
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When the Maintenance Crew Is Responsible
In some cases, a driver is not to blame. They took their vehicle to the mechanic in good faith, believing that they would carefully look over the car, honestly assess the car’s condition, and diligently perform all required maintenance. The mechanic’s failure to live up to these responsibilities may make them (or the company they work for) liable for your damages.
It is important that you know who is to blame for your accident before you file a lawsuit. As we will discuss later, a lawyer can investigate your case and search for evidence to identify the liable party.
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How Your Accident May Entitle You to Damages
What types of injuries can you receive compensation for after an accident? In Pennsylvania, you may qualify for compensation if your accident caused a serious bodily injury. Per 18 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 2602, the legal definition of “serious bodily injury” includes any severe, permanent, and/or life-threatening injury. To find out more and to get help proving that you qualify for monetary damages, call Morelli Law Firm at (212) 751-9800.
Once you qualify for damages, there are two types of damages that you might be able to collect.
For your accident-related monetary losses, you may seek economic damages, which often include:
- Medical expenses: Because of your injuries, you had to go to the emergency room and/or receive other treatments.
- Lost income or benefits: You could not perform your job for days, weeks, or longer.
- Diminished earning capacity: Your injuries will make it much harder for you to earn a living from now on.
- Repair expenses: Your car was damaged or destroyed in the accident.
For your accident-related physical, mental, and psychological injuries, you may seek non-economic damages, which often include:
- Scarring: Your physical appearance or abilities have been permanently affected by accident-related scars.
- Pain and suffering: Your physical and/or mental condition noticeably worsened, either temporarily or permanently, because of the accident.
- Diminished quality of life: Your injuries keep you from enjoying and participating in life the way you used to.
- Disability: You have permanent physical and/or mental injuries that were caused or worsened by the accident.
The Stages of a Lawsuit
After a Philadelphia accident caused by faulty or neglected vehicle maintenance, you may pursue a lawsuit on your own or with the help of a lawyer. Before you decide which route to take, it is advisable to educate yourself about the hard work that goes into getting a settlement. The steps are outlined briefly below.
Step One: Build Your Case
It is the insurance company’s job to be skeptical of claims like yours. To convince them that they should pay what you need, you (or your lawyer) will need to collect as much corroborating evidence as possible. This could include:
- Medical records
- Repair bills
- Surveillance footage
- Relevant photos
- Photos, videos, and statements from witnesses
Step Two: Argue Your Case
When you are ready to officially begin your lawsuit, you must send a notification to the liable party and to the appropriate court. The liable party’s insurance company will then decide whether to offer you a settlement, negotiate a settlement, or deny your claim. Your next actions will depend on theirs.
If they offer a settlement, you must decide if it is fair or if you want to negotiate for more. At negotiations, you or your lawyer will present testimonies and other evidence to try to prove your case.
Step Three: Settle Your Case—Or Keep Fighting
Negotiations will end in one of two ways. In the best-case scenario, the insurance company will agree to pay everything you ask for. A lawyer will then draw up the necessary paperwork so that you can sign the agreement and get your money as quickly as possible.
In cases where the insurance company offers an unsatisfactory settlement (or none at all), you and your lawyer can discuss the possibility of taking your case to court. This can take a while and involve a lot of work, but your lawyer can take care of it all—from finding witnesses to preparing trial exhibits—so you do not have to.
If your accident occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, let Morelli Law Firm fight for you. We can help you hold the liable party accountable and make sure you ask for the maximum possible amount of compensation. Call (212) 751-9800 to put your case in the hands of a Philadelphia accident caused by faulty or neglected vehicle maintenance lawyer from our firm. A team member is standing by to assist you today.