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Protecting Your Rights After a Somerset, PA Car Accident

Have you suffered serious injuries as a result of a car accident that was someone else’s fault? Knowing what to do and understanding your legal rights after a car wreck are important for your well being. For the past 15 years, Matthew R. Zatko has helped accident victims deal with insurance companies so they receive fair compensation. He is glad to answer your questions and explain how our firm can help.

What are the causes of car accidents?

A variety of factors can cause auto wrecks. Some of them include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Traffic law violations
  • Reckless driving
  • Defective autos or auto parts
  • Dangerous road designs
  • Poorly maintained roads

Today, distracted driving is a major concern. It often involves talking on cell phones, texting, adjusting CD or MP3 players, grooming, eating or drinking or, in general, any action that takes the drivers attention off of the road.

What to do after being in a car accident

For most people, an auto accident is a shocking and frightening event. You can be mentally rattled and unsure about what to do. Some steps to take following an accident include:

  • Remain at the accident scene. Leaving the accident scene violates PA law and can result in losing your driver’s license.
  • Get medical attention. For serious injuries, call 911 and get emergency medical treatment. Even when injury seems minor, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. When your body goes into shock, there may be delay in experiencing the pain. Treatment prevents injury from worsening and from a legal standpoint it documents your injury as caused by the accident. Such documentation is necessary later on when dealing with insurance companies to recover compensation.
  • Take safety precautions. After the accident, if your car’s location could potentially cause further accidents, if possible, pull your car off the road.
  • Exchange information. With any other drivers involved, exchange information – driver’s licenses, insurance, license tag number and contact information. Also obtain contact information from any witnesses to the accident.
  • Report the accident to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT). If your accident involved either of the following, you must report it to the PA DOT within five days:
    •   Death, injury or severe vehicle damage
    •   No police investigation of your accident
  • Report the accident to your insurance company. Insurance policies often have terms that stipulate reporting the accident within a certain amount of time and some policies state that failure to report the accident could result in loss of compensation for the accident.
  • Contact a lawyer. While you may not need a lawyer for a minor accident, for serious injuries or death of a loved one, it is vital to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Auto accident settlements and settlement payouts

In Pennsylvania, when you suffer serious injuries, you can sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering. However, insurance companies often negotiate settlements with accident victims outside of court. Having an experienced lawyer enables you to evaluate whether the settlement offer is fair and whether it will cover the extent of your injuries and damages.

The settlement payout is the determined time period established for paying agreed-upon compensation in full. When insurers fail to pay within the established payout window, then interest begins to accrue, which the insurance company must also pay.

Attorneys often take cases to trial when settlement offers are inadequate, but even so, cases can settle before the trial goes to verdict. You need a lawyer to protect your rights to fair compensation.

Get legal help with your car accident case

Seasoned legal guidance can give you peace of mind that you are obtaining the compensation you deserve. Call the law office of Matthew R. Zatko at 814-701-4861 or contact me online for a free consultation.

“Attorney Zatko handled my complex case in a very professional, courteous, and competent manner. He was able to obtain a settlement for me that was far in excess of what the insurance company was originally offering me. I would HIGHLY recommend him for your case!”
Anonymous5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Avvo

“I was having no success locating a lawyer to help me with what I felt was an unfair speeding citation on the PA Turnpike. My Dad found Mr Zatko through the Bar Association and suggested I talk to him. From the first contact, he was professional, friendly and honest about my situation. To make a long story short, he was able to resolve the situation for me in a most favorable manner. And I feel at a very reasonable fee. Many thanks are due!”
Jolene5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Avvo

“Mr. Zatko took the time to answer all of my questions thoroughly and kept me well informed of the process. I live out of state so he was able to represent me without requiring me to drive 5 hours to appear in court. He successfully negotiated the best possible scenario for my case and I couldn’t be more happy with the result. If you are looking for an Attorney that truly knows every subtle nuance of the law and has strong working relationships to ensure that your case is treated objectively and fairly, then the only choice is Matthew Zatko. I typically never take the time to write reviews, but when someone goes above and beyond my expectations to achieve a successful outcome for me, I am compelled to share that information with other people that are in need of solid representation.”
Scott5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Avvo

“Attorney Matthew Zatko’s management and personal assistance in the administration of the completion of the family estate legal matters was greatly appreciated.”
Anonymous5.0 Rating ★★★★★ Review From Lawyers.com