Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney

I’m Stuart A. Carpey, and my firm, Carpey Law, is a leading personal injury law firm in Philadelphia, PA. We also have offices in Plymouth Meeting, PA. As a Car Accident Attorney, I’ve always been on the side of injured car accident victims. Our team works to maximize our clients’ recoveries at the settlement table and at trial in order to get them the compensation they need. This compensation can include a number of factors:

  • Loss of income due to being unable to work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Property loss
Stuart Carpey an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall attorney

The Carpey Law Advantage

Why choose Stuart Carpey as your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania?

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Why Not Choose One of the Best Car Accident Lawyers In Philadelphia?

No one plans for or can anticipate a car accident. That first second after the accident, when you hear the squeal of tires and crunch of metal or glass, you know you are in for a difficult time. Car accidents can mean medical bills, lost wages as you recover, car repairs, and other headaches. Sometimes you will need help fast, especially when dealing with the insurance company. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, don’t hesitate. Let Attorney Stuart A. Carpey help you. Mr. Carpey is an experienced car accident attorney in Philadelphia, with another convenient office in Plymouth Meeting, PA. He can handle extremely delicate cases and will work hard to win you justice after your ordeal. See what our clients say about how easy it is to work with Stuart and how they feel about the outcome of their car accident cases.

What Clients Say About Carpey Law

Thank you so much for settling my case. I would recommend you to anyone in need of an excellent personal injury lawyer. Your staff was also great to work with. Thanks again.

– Rebecca Bielawski New

“They Fight and Fight and Fight… Until the End.”

Table of Contents

Schedule A Free Consultation with Our Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today!

Timeline of a Philadelphia Car Accident Case

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and have never filed a personal injury claim before, the process may seem intimidating. With your medical expenses piling up, as well as dealing with pain and suffering and time off work, you’ll most likely have questions about the process of a typical case and how long the claim process takes. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from filing your claim. Instead, educate yourself on the process of a personal injury case and consult with an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer like Stuart Carpey to ease your anxieties, prepare yourself for what you can expect, and make the overall claim process smoother.

Note: Not every step will be applicable in every case.

Timeline of a Personal Injury Case

Typical Consultation Questions to Ask a Car Accident Attorney

If you’re confused about what to do after being injured in a car accident, our best advice is to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer in Philadelphia, PA. If you have never needed to hire a car accident attorney before, you may be unsure of what kinds of questions you should be asking. Below are some common questions that car accident victims frequently ask.

  • What is your legal experience in this area of the law?
  • Have you handled matters like mine before?
  • Do you have any similar cases now?
  • What is the personal injury legal process like?
  • How will my medical bills get paid during the legal process?
  • What are the possible outcomes of my case?
  • What are my alternatives to resolving the matter? (Settlement negotiations, trial, mediation, arbitration, etc.)
  • What kind of approach will you take to resolve the matter?
  • Approximately how long will it take to resolve this matter?
  • What specifically does a lawyer and his staff do for personal injury cases?
  • What are my responsibilities as the client? What do I need to do?
  • What are your fees? What does contingency fee mean?
  • What other legal expenses might there be?
  • How will you keep me informed of progress?
  • How often will you contact me?
  • Do I need to call/e-mail to check up on things?
  • Who else in the office will be working on my case?
  • What about my property damage claim?
  • What about my wage loss?

Secrets to Success in Your Car Accident Case

Pursuing a personal injury case can be challenging and confusing without the help of an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney like Stuart Carpey. Carpey Law has an established reputation as one of Pennsylvania’s top personal injury firms (just check our accolades!).


Six Costly Errors Car Accident Victims Often Make

Since 1987, Carpey Law has represented thousands of car accident victims who have obtained compensation for their injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Over the course of more than 30 years, we’ve seen a lot of mistakes car accidents victims can innocently make during doctor visits that can easily ruin their own cases. Learn how to avoid making these simple mistakes that could potentially ruin your car accident case.

  1. Fail to report an accident immediately, either to the police, your insurance company, or your employer (if your accident happened while working).
  2. Delay, even for one day, obtaining medical evaluation and treatment.
  3. Fail to disclose previous injuries or pre-existing medical conditions.
  4. Misunderstand medical-care options.
  5. Believe an insurance company will be on your side.
  6. Fail to obtain a consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.

Schedule A Free Consultation with Our Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today!

If you have been injured in a car accident in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, your case will be resolved in one of two ways. Either it will be settled or it will go to trial. Those are the choices. Statistically, most cases settle, probably 95%. That does not, however, mean your case will settle.

There are a multitude of factors that determine whether a case will settle. Each case is different.

Car Accident
  • The amount of damage to the vehicles
  • Type of injury or injuries the parties have sustained
  • Whether the injured party or parties required surgery
  • Are there liens involved in the case?
  • Are there unpaid medical bills or wage losses?
  • Who is the opposing insurance company?
  • Do you, the client, want to settle, or do you want to go to trial?
  • What is the settlement offer?
  • Is the settlement offer high enough?

It is your car accident lawyer’s job to advise you in the decision-making process of whether to settle or to go to trial. The risks of trial can outweigh the risks of settling your case. If you settle, you know the amount of money you are receiving as compensation for your injuries. Going to trial means that you are leaving that decision to twelve people you do not know, and who don’t know you. In addition, the costs of going to trial are usually much greater than the costs on your case before trial. Of course, by settling, you risk the unknown of “what would the jury have awarded me.” Ultimately, the decision is yours.

Car Accident Resources You Might Find Helpful

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, the following articles may help you by providing steps you can take to protect your legal rights. Stuart Carpey, an experienced car accident attorney in Philadelphia, has written about his first-hand experience working with car accident victims and outlined what to expect when you hire an accident lawyer in Philadelphia.

Car Accident FAQ’s

If I am in an auto accident, how do I know if I need an attorney?

After an auto accident in Philadelphia or a nearby area, consulting a Philadelphia car accident attorney is always a good idea if for no other reason than to make sure the insurance companies involved give you the compensation you deserve. Because insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind, an auto accident attorney can help you deal with all the medical bills, property damage, and other damage that may have resulted from the accident, as well obtaining compensation for your injuries. Before signing any documents, or before giving a recorded statement to an insurance company, you should absolutely speak to an attorney qualified in the field of personal injury law. The insurance company is not entitled to get your medical records. The insurance company is not entitled to know your version of the events. And the insurance company may try to have you sign a release which would give up all of your rights to proceed with a case.  This is not something that you would want to happen, thus the reason to consult with an attorney.

What is my car accident case worth?

In Pennsylvania, your car accident case is worth a certain amount of money depending on what your injuries are. The characteristics that come into play when evaluating your personal injury case, in particular a car accident case, are:

  • What are your injuries? And how serious are they?
  • How much wage lost have you had? How much time did you miss from work and what did that cost you and your family?
  • What are your medical bills?
  • What are your future medical bills?
  • Will there be lost earnings into the future as a result of your injuries?
  • What’s the degree of pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your injuries?

All of these factors come into play. These factors are evaluated by the opposing insurance companies and the jury. While there’s no definite number for how much your case is worth, these factors come into play when determining what your personal injury case is worth.

In a rear-end collision, is the driver in the rear always at-fault?

There is usually no question about liability in a rear end collision. But we have seen on many occasions where the at fault driver’s insurance company will claim the driver of the car in front “stopped short” , or will try to avoid responsibility for the accident in some other way.  The insurance company is not on your side, and their “job” is to protect their insured and to delay payment to you, deny responsibility, and defend a lawsuit filed against their insured. So, even in what seems like the simplest of cases, insurance companies can make resolving your case difficult.

Should I obtain a copy of the police report following my car accident? How should I go about doing that?

It is often a good idea to have a copy of the police department’s report if you have been injured in a car accident. This is especially useful if you plan to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. There are multiple ways to go about obtaining a police report:

  • Request the report in person at the police station.
  • Put a request in writing and mail it to the police station

Make a request for the report on the police station’s website.
To help the process along, you should have some of or all of the following information: the of the car accident, the accident number, the name of the other driver(s), the license number of the other driver(s). Also, know that there is sometimes a fee your obtaining a copy of your accident report.

How do I get a police report and what do I do with it?

Obtaining a copy of your car accident police report is important if you plan to pursue a personal injury case. You’ll need the police report for your car accident attorney and your insurance company. This report contains facts that will ultimately help to resolve your claim with the opposing insurance company.

Does it actually help if I take photos of the car accident scene?

Photos of the crash site help a lot in a car accident case. Of course, your injuries may prevent you from returning to the scene of the crash. In such a situation, see if a friend or family member can take photographs for you. If so, have them keep the following in mind:

  • Photograph the scene from all angles, including from high angles and low angles. Do your best to visually recreate the scene.
  • In each photo, include as many of the objects involved in the crash as possible. This means all cars, street lights, traffic lights, STOP signs, debris, and other objects.
  • Stand back and take some photos of the whole scene, including surrounding traffic and other landmarks.

Also, use a camera which will time stamp the photographs so that there is no disputing when the photos were taken.

How Can I Reduce My Car Insurance Premium?

In order to reduce your car insurance premium, consider paying a higher deductible on the collision coverage portion of your policy. Increasing your deductible from $500 to, for example, $1000 would reduce your premium.

How Can I Get a Discount on My Car Insurance?

Some car insurance companies offer discounts for degrees, such as a master’s degree in education. Others may offer a discount simply for being a longtime customer, or for being a good driver. Get in touch with your car insurance provider to see what kinds of discounts they offer.

Is it a Good Idea to Have My Auto and Homeowners’ Insurance with the Same Carrier?

Yes, most insurance carriers will offer a discount by grouping the two coverages together.

What does “Full Tort” Mean? What does “Limited Tort” Mean?

This applies in car accident cases. Full tort coverage means that you and your family members have unlimited access to the court system to seek compensation for personal injuries from a car wreck. Limited tort means that for a lower premium, usually about $100-$200 less per year, you and your family members have very limited access to the court system if you are claiming compensation for personal injuries following a car wreck. In real terms, if a person who has purchased limited tort coverage does not have debilitating and disabling injuries, for instance, broken bones requiring surgical repair, herniated disks in the spine requiring surgical repair, then they have no claim. There are very few exceptions to limited tort. Full tort coverage is not limiting at all. Full tort coverage is far and away from the better coverage and should be the only choice when purchasing auto insurance in Pennsylvania.

If a Friend Borrows My Car and is Involved in an Accident in Pennsylvania, Does My Insurance Company Pay for any Damages?

Yes, unless your friend had his own insurance coverage, in which case his/her insurance coverage will be used. Also, your insurance company will not pay for any damages unless your friend had your permission to use your car.

Car Insurance Coverage and Savings

If I have full coverage on my car insurance policy, am I protected?

No. Full coverage is a misnomer. It means nothing. All you can be assured of if you purchased full coverage is that your insurance agent sold you the cheapest coverage he or she could. It does not mean you purchased full tort coverage. Ordering a policy from an insurance company online is also fraught with dangers. Full tort coverage means that if you or a family member are in any kind of car accident, and any kind of accident having to do with a “motor vehicle” (like a bus, truck, motorcycle, or even if you are pedestrian or on a bicycle and hit by a car), you have unrestricted access to proceed with a claim against the at-fault driver. Limited tort means that you and your family are much more restricted in your ability to get compensated for your injuries. There are exceptions to the limited tort problem, but generally, if you have a limited tort policy your injuries must be quite serious to have access to the court system to protect your rights. Also, full coverage does not mean that you purchased uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage. These kinds of coverage protect you in the event the at-fault driver failed to insure his or her car or failed to carry enough coverage.  The point is that buying an auto insurance policy can be somewhat complicated. It is best to get as much information as you can about the kinds of coverage you need before agreeing to any policy.

If a friend borrows my car and is involved in an accident in Pennsylvania, does my insurance company pay for any damages?

Yes, unless your friend had his own insurance coverage, in which case his/her insurance coverage will be used. Also, your insurance company will not pay for any damages unless your friend had your permission to use your car. This is known as “permissive use” in insurance jargon. The kinds of damages the insurance company has to pay can vary as well. If your friend was at fault in the accident, then the insurance company may have to pay out of the liability portion of your policy for physical damages to anyone injured. So too, if there is property damage to the other driver’s car, by way of example, your insurance company would have to pay for that.

Can a car insurance company who represents the driver of a car who hit me deny payment to my doctor for my whiplash injury, when they accepted responsibility for their insured by paying for the repairs to my car and by paying for a rental car while my car was in the shop?

Insurance companies in Pennsylvania injury cases often try to save money by not paying accident victims. But here’s the real story: the insurance company for the other driver is not obligated to pay you anything! If they make an offer to settle your injury case, and how much they offer depends on a multitude of factors.

In a Pennsylvania car accident case, the other guy’s insurance company does not have to pay you medical bills. Your insurance company pays your medical bills. The other insurance company is required to defend their insured in any lawsuit that you file against the other driver, and “indemnify” their uninsured up to their insured’s policy limits-that means they will pay a verdict up to the amount of insurance coverage that their insured purchased. They do not have to settle your injury case before trial, although in many cases insurance companies may be willing to settle personal injury cases, including whiplash cases. If you would like more information on this subject, you should consult an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer in your area (read the article on our website also) and decide whether it is best to settle your Pennsylvania personal injury case or whether it is best to go to court against the other driver.

Liens and Lienholder’s Rights

What is a Lien?

A lien is a property interest that a health insurance company, or the state or federal government, has against the proceeds of a personal injury settlement or verdict. Various governmental entities can also assert liens for money previously paid to individuals who later obtain a settlement or verdict. Those entities can be, for instance, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for child support, cash assistance, or medical assistance. Other entities can include Medicare and Medicaid. Worker’s compensation carriers always have a lien against the proceeds of a settlement or verdict. There are specific rules that apply to all liens, including how they can be asserted in a personal injury case, and how they can be resolved.

What are Medicare liens? What are my rights of reimbursement?

First of all, attorneys are obligated to communicate with the Department of Public Welfare to find out what they claim they paid on behalf of our clients. An attorney then has to distinguish what The Department of Public Health says they paid vs. what is not related to the cause. For example, The Department of Public Welfare may provide a list of 10-20 medical providers and the bills correlated with those medical providers that the Department of Public Welfare says they paid on behalf of the injured client. The attorney then should look through the medical records and bills to determine what was related to the accident and inform the Department of Public Welfare. The attorney should then wait until the Department of Public Welfare responds to the information that was provided to clarify that the bills were in fact unrelated. Once they do that, they also send an updated list that both sides agree was paid on behalf of the client. The attorney is then obligated to provide the Department of Public Welfare with all of the information that they ask for about the case. They are obligated to inform them what the litigation expenses are. The Department of Public Welfare then goes through a calculation by which they reduce their lien or the amount of money they say they’re entitled to be paid back. Attorneys have to get that approval from the Department of Public Welfare before they are permitted to disburse funds to the client following the case.

Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident

Following my Pennsylvania car accident, I could only return to work part-time. Am I eligible to recover money for lost wages?

Yes. If injuries from your Pennsylvania car accident have caused you to take time off from work, then it may be possible for you to recover damages for the difference between your normal, full-time hours and your current, part-time hours. It is important, however, to prove that your injuries were responsible for your time off from work. To prove this, you will need a note from your doctor which offers insight into why you needed to take time off.

How much time will it take for me to recover damages in my Pennsylvania car accident case?

It is understandable that you want to know when to expect your case to end. You have mounting medical expenses, lost wages to worry over, and property damage to pay for. To be compensated to the fullest, and as soon as possible, the best idea is for you to speak to a Pennsylvania car accident attorney immediately. Every personal injury case is unique, and the time it takes to complete a case and recover damages depends on many factors, all of which you will discuss with your attorney. Throughout the process, be honest and detailed in your account of your accident.

Can I get money back for prescriptions that I’ve paid?

Yes. Payment for prescription medicine and devices are reimbursed directly to you if you’ve paid the pharmacy directly. The bills get submitted to your own insurance company and they will issue a check to you for reimbursement.

Repairing Your Car After an Accident

The insurance company gave me a list of their Direct Repair Shops. Do I have to use one?

No. You are the vehicle’s owner and can choose any repair facility. Your insurance company cannot require you to go to any particular shop.

The insurance company told me if I use a shop of my choice, I may have to pay more for repairs and may not get a lifetime guarantee. Is that true?

No. All repair shops work with the insurance company to negotiate the proper repair of your vehicle.

Are there differences in repair estimates from one shop as compare to another?

While you may expect the cost of repairs to be very similar from one shop to another, estimates may vary greatly. Estimates between repair shops may vary for the following reasons:

  • The difference in the parts that are used in the estimate
  • A lower initial estimate may not have included all the necessary work. Once the car is taken apart during the repair process, the insurance company is called to look at the vehicle in order to authorize the payment of additional work.
  • Differences in labor rates between repair shops

What are some important points I should look for in a repair facility?

Make sure the shop has the proper equipment:

  • Unibody frame repair bench;
  • Three-dimensional measuring system;
  • Compression resistance spot welder to duplicate factory welding techniques;
  • Computerized four-wheel alignment machine to complete the repair by discovering damage to the suspension system that was caused indirectly by the accident;
  • Proper paint mixing that is able to color match your vehicle; and,
  • Factory, ASE, certified or I-CAR trained technicians.

Will the insurance provider for the other driver cover the cost of my car repairs?

Sometimes the other driver’s insurance company will cover the cost of repairs to your car or another automobile. However, this does not always happen. For example, if the cause of the accident is disputed the other driver’s insurer may not want to pay for your repairs.
You can, however, have your own insurer cover the cost of repairs if you have purchased “collision coverage” as part of your insurance plan. It could work out better this way. Your insurance provider may actually offer a better repair service than the other guy’s.

Will the insurance provider for the other driver cover the cost of my car repairs?

Sometimes the other driver’s insurance company will cover the cost of repairs to your car or another automobile. However, this does not always happen. For example, if the cause of the accident is disputed the other driver’s insurer may not want to pay for your repairs.
You can, however, have your own insurer cover the cost of repairs if you have purchased “collision coverage” as part of your insurance plan. It could work out better this way. Your insurance provider may actually offer a better repair service than the other guy’s.

Choosing a Car Accident Attorney

How should I prepare for my first meeting with my Pennsylvania car accident attorney?

To best prepare for your first meeting with your Pennsylvania car accident attorney (which is a very important meeting) you should gather anything and everything pertaining to your case. This includes:

  • Medical reports describing the injuries you sustained during your accident
  • Police reports (if you have them)
  • Estimates regarding damage to your property
  • The names/addresses of people who witnessed the accident
  • Any photos you took at the crash site
  • The name of the doctor(s)
  • A privacy waiver which allows your attorney to speak with your doctor about your injuries

Car Accident Settlements

A friend of mine was in a car wreck and broke her arm. She said she got a lot of money. Will my case be worth as much as hers?

Each case is different and must be evaluated from a point of view of what the medical records say about the injuries, and what your doctor can say about your injuries when asked to do so in court. It is extremely important in an accident case to know how the injury affected the injured person’s life, and whether the injured person missed time from work or was debilitated in some other way. All of these factors go into evaluating a case. Since everyone is different, and not all injuries are exactly the same, the value for each case has to be different.

Liability in a Car Accident

I was recently involved in a car accident which was caused by an equipment failure on the other driver’s car. Would this accident be considered the fault of the driver (car owner) or the car manufacturer?

Often, equipment failure is found to be the fault of the car owner as he or she likely did not provide adequate maintenance to the car. However, equipment failure sometimes occurs spontaneously and did not result from inadequate maintenance. In this case, specifics are necessary and you should contact an attorney to discuss the situation.

Something flew from a truck and struck my vehicle. Are there laws against improperly securing loads?

Yes. Truck drivers are required by law to secure their cargo, as well as all other equipment on the truck. They must also perform periodic inspections of the cargo to ensure that is still secure. If you have been in any way injured in an accident due to a truck driver’s failure to secure his or her load, you may be entitled to compensation.

The driver who hit me failed to stop at the red light / stop sign but is saying that he did stop. How do I prove that he is lying?

If the situation devolves into finger-pointing, it is best to be as detailed about the accident with the police and let them make their assessment of the accident. Crash site investigators are trained in determining the cause of an accident. They should be able to weigh in. However, if for some reason the crash site investigators cannot determine conclusively who caused the accident, you should seek the advice of a Pennsylvania accident attorney. Your attorney can do some leg work, interviewing witnesses, obtaining any surveillance footage, and hiring more crash site investigators.

Protecting Yourself During a Car Accident Case

What is a medical release? Should I sign one offered by the other driver’s insurance company?

When the other driver’s insurance company asks you to sign a medical release following a Pennsylvania auto accident they likely want to pore through your medical history and find any reason why your injuries were caused by something other than the accident. It is generally not a good idea to sign a medical release — especially not before consulting with an attorney. Signing a medical release can also be problematic if, after signing the release, more injuries develop that are related to your Pennsylvania auto accident. It is a good practice to never sign a medical release from the other driver’s insurer without first seeking advice.