What Is the Average Settlement for a Minor Car Accident in Pennsylvania?

If you were in a fender-bender or other minor collision, you might wonder, “What is the average settlement for a minor car accident?” Many factors come into play to influence the compensation crash victims receive for their injuries. For example, the type of insurance you have (e.g., full or limited tort) can limit what compensation you can get. Likewise, you need to file a claim before the filing deadline comes up. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to file a lawsuit because of that collision. 

Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC champions the rights of those injured in car accidents throughout Pennsylvania. Our personal injury attorneys have nearly 20 years of experience helping people get the compensation they deserve after being in a collision. Past clients praise our respectful and attentive approach to client service delivery.  

What Are the Steps to Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Pennsylvania Motor Accident?

Each car accident is different, but there are measures victims can take to protect their legal rights after a collision. The first step is to notify the police and file a claim with the applicable insurance company. Talking to a lawyer is also important, as they can help victims identify and assert their rights. Finally, filing a lawsuit may be an appropriate method for the victim to pursue a fair compensation package. 

Notify the Police

Pennsylvania law requires folks to report car accidents if someone is or may be injured or if a driver can’t drive their car safely because of the crash. The best practice is to report the collision to avoid guessing wrong. If you don’t tell the cops about the crash, and it turns out you should have, you might get a ticket or face other consequences. Play it safe and call the police shortly after the wreck. 

When communicating with the police, tell them the bare facts about what happened. Try not to make statements like, “I was changing the radio station, so I didn’t see the other driver.” These can unintentionally make it seem like you are admitting fault for the crash. Comments like that can create an uphill battle for you later if the claim develops into a lawsuit. 

Submit an Insurance Claim

The next step in the process is to file an insurance claim. Typically, you would submit a claim to the insurance company that covers the car you were in during the collision. If you are a passenger, you may not have to submit anything (the drivers should take care of this). However, the insurance agents may want to talk to the passengers to learn about the crash and their injuries. Tell the insurance company what happened, but try to leave out commentary. For example, refrain from saying things like, “I didn’t see the other driver.” The insurance company may use this statement to avoid or limit paying out damages for the claim. 

Talk to a Lawyer

Once you meet your reporting obligations, it’s time to start talking to a lawyer. The car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and ability to bring a lawsuit. They can read your insurance policy and explain what your options are. Another essential role of an attorney is reviewing and negotiating settlement offers. They can tell you what a fair estimate of your injuries is and whether the insurance’s proposal meets the mark. A seasoned attorney also engages in settlement negotiations with the insurance company. The lawyer might bring a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to pay what it should. 

File a Lawsuit

The final step in bringing a personal injury claim is to file a lawsuit. Pennsylvania law lets people choose to take out limited or full tort policies. A limited tort policy doesn’t allow people to sue for noneconomic damages unless they suffer serious injuries. If the insurance proceeds aren’t enough to cover the economic damages, the victim may be able to bring a lawsuit. In contrast, full tort policies typically don’t have a limit on when and for how much victims can sue. If you have questions about your options in your specific situation, an attorney can help. 

When Can You File a Claim for a Car Crash in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law imposes a strict, two-year deadline on when people can bring a lawsuit for crashes. If people miss the deadline, the law may prevent them from ever filing a claim for that accident. What’s more, the type of insurance someone has dictates their options for suing the other driver for damages. 

The full tort option lets people bring lawsuits for noneconomic and economic damages, even if they suffer minor injuries. As a trade-off, the insurance company may not automatically pay out as much in compensation. 

The limited tort option only lets someone file a claim for noneconomic damages if they have a serious injury. The insurance pays money based on the coverage limits in the policy. Sometimes, people can file a lawsuit for economic damages not covered by insurance. An attorney is best suited to help people understand their rights in their insurance policy. 

What Is the Average Settlement for a Minor Car Accident?

Because every situation is different, there is no average compensation package for a minor car accident. The factors that influence how much someone gets include:

  • Whether they file their claim on time, 
  • How the injury and accident impact their life, 
  • The type of insurance policy they have, and 
  • The extent of their injuries. 

People can maximize their recovery by acting swiftly to protect their legal rights. They can also preserve critical evidence, like photographs and witness statements, and follow their doctor’s instructions. Furthermore, insurance companies are more likely to take the victim and their claim seriously if an attorney is involved. A car accident attorney can advocate for the victim’s rights and guide settlement talks. 

Can You Get Pain and Suffering for Minor Injuries in Pennsylvania?

Whether you can get pain and suffering for minor injuries depends on several factors. You need to prove that you suffered an injury and that it’s impacted your life negatively. You might accomplish this by documenting your pain every day or showing that you had to take time off work. 

Additionally, your insurance policy may limit your ability to recover pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages. As discussed above, the limited tort option typically doesn’t let people sue for pain and suffering unless they have serious injuries. A severe injury might include an amputation or something that threatens someone’s life. 

But full tort coverage gives people the right to sue if they can show the other driver caused the crash. People with this coverage also enjoy the right to pursue a financial award for their pain and suffering. 

What Compensation Can You Get for Soft Tissue Damage From an Auto Wreck?

One of the most common injuries after a car accident is damage to someone’s ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissue. Soft tissue injuries (like strains or sprains) can lessen your ability to show up in the ways you could before the crash. For example, you may have to leave your job or miss out on family events because of your pain. If you have whiplash or sprain your wrist in the crash, the compensation you might be eligible for includes:

  • Lost wages, 
  • Medical bills,
  • Pain and suffering, 
  • Property repairs, and
  • Physical therapy costs. 

The type of insurance coverage you have can expand or limit the types of compensation available to you. An attorney can help you calculate a fair settlement package and bring a legal claim against the at-fault driver. 

Can You Get Legal Damages if a Crash Impacts Your Quality of Life?

If a crash keeps you from doing what you could before the event, you may be eligible for damages. These might include compensation for the loss of your quality of life. The type of insurance coverage you have can impact whether you get this form of legal damages. Those with full tort coverage may be able to pursue compensation for a decrease in their quality of life. But those with limited tort coverage may not unless they have a serious injury. 

Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC: Dedicated Car Crash Attorneys Serving Pennsylvania

Even minor motor vehicle accidents can keep you from doing what you enjoy. Legal action can empower you to stand up against wrongdoing and pursue the compensation you need to move forward. 

For nearly 20 years, Lawrence Kalikhman has been the voice for the injured throughout Pennsylvania. His tireless advocacy has earned him much praise from past clients and recognition amongst his peers. From 2016 to 2023, he has made the distinguished Super Lawyers list. If you were in a car accident in Pennsylvania, contact Lawrence today by calling 267-489-2204 to schedule a consultation.