Do You Really Need Rental Car Insurance?

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 26, 2016 3:35:42 PM

The optional loss damage waiver is often expensive when you rent a car, but it limits or eliminates your financial liability for damage to the vehicle you rent. While the decision might have once been more cut and dry, choosing whether to purchase this additional insurance coverage has become “… significantly complicated by the fact that many rental companies are now charging their customers for diminished value and administrative charges when they crash a rental car,” a State Farm spokesperson said.

The first step when deciding whether you need the added insurance and expense is to find out what kind of coverage you already have through your auto insurance and credit cards.

Personal Auto Insurance Policy

Your regular auto insurance is your first line of liability protection in the event of a rental car crash according to the organization Consumer Reports. To protect a rental car, your personal auto insurance must also have collision coverage and/or comprehensive. If you have this coverage, find out if your policy:

  • Extends coverage to rental cars
  • Includes coverage for business travel
  • Pays for rental-agency fees
  • Pays the rental car’s “full value”

It’s always a good idea to speak with an insurance representative if you have any questions about the specific coverage you have. If your car insurance provides good protection but you still have gaps in coverage, your credit card might help fill in those gaps.

Credit Card Benefits

Rental protection benefits are provided by certain credit card companies. To find out which card in your wallet has the best coverage, contact your credit card companies. Ask each company:

  • What type of benefits they offer
  • Which vehicles are included/excluded
  • What kinds of losses are not covered

Credit card coverage is typically secondary insurance, so an auto policy with collision and/or comprehensive will typically pay for the actual vehicle damage or theft, and the credit card company will cover some or all of the balance – subject to its own limits.

If You were Injured in a Rental Car Accident

Rental car accidents can get complicated quickly, especially when they involve injuries and other drivers. If you were involved in an accident with another motorist, the same rule of thumb applies when dealing with insurance companies: victims and their families should under no circumstances talk to the other driver’s insurance company without speaking with an attorney first.

Contact the car accident attorneys at Anapol Weiss if you or someone you love was hurt in a crash. They can investigate the situation and answer your legal questions.

For more tips to remember after an auto accident, download our free guide below.

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Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

Tread Carefully with Insurers and Others after an Auto Accident

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 20, 2016 3:30:00 PM
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It’s important to be 100 percent honest when you’re involved in a car or truck accident. That being said, how much you say and who you talk to about the accident can cause detriment to your case. This point is especially true with insurance adjusters and other key parties involved. Below are five tips to remember if you’re in an auto collision.

1. Do Not Make Statements to Insurance Companies

Do not give any written or verbal statements concerning your accident or injuries to an insurance adjuster without first consulting with your attorney. Insurance adjusters will commonly contact injury claimants to record a statement before the victim has a chance to talk to a lawyer. Though it may be by mistake, giving a damaging statement can allow the insurance company to deny or minimize your claim.

2. Do Not Admit Fault

Anything you say immediately after an accident can be used against you later. According to the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence, an admission of fault is admissible in court.

3. Document Every Injury and Medication Resulting from the Crash

Even if you don’t think you were seriously injured, it’s important to seek medical help immediately after a crash. Adjusters will look for ways to devalue a person’s car accident insurance claim, which begins with reviewing medical records to assess the documented injuries. Having an official record of all accident-related injuries is necessary when seeking compensation.

Always be honest with doctors and never leave out prior injuries when discussing your past medical history. As a basic rule, there should be a record of every medical issue following the crash – from the initial doctor's visit to the last.

4. Avoid Signing Medical Releases or Other Waivers

Although victims in Pennsylvania may accept a property damage settlement offer from their insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, they should never sign releases or waivers of any kind until obtaining legal advice. A “general release” essentially forever resolves all causes of action – including personal injury claims.

5. Obtain Legal Representation

A qualified car accident attorney can redirect all correspondence about the accident away from you to keep you from making damaging statements. They will navigate the complex legal process so you can focus on recovery.

Contact the auto accident attorneys at Anapol Weiss if you or a loved one was injured in a crash. They can investigate the situation, determine if the other driver was to blame, and answer your legal questions.

Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

Three Important Questions about Auto Accident Insurance

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 18, 2016 11:30:00 AM

There are so many options when choosing insurance coverage for a motor vehicle. On top of the pressure to make good coverage choices, understanding what they mean and how the claims process works can be overwhelming. Anapol Weiss Partner Chris Marzzacco answers three common questions below.

1. What is the minimum vehicle insurance coverage required in Pennsylvania?

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Anapol Weiss Partner Chris Marzzacco

According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, the minimum required car insurance coverage in Pennsylvania is:

  • Medical Benefits: provides compensation for medical bills for you and others covered on your policy regardless of fault. The state minimum limit is $5,000 of coverage.
  • Bodily Injury Liability: pays for medical bills, rehabilitation expenses and damages for those injured in a car accident for which you are found liable. The minimum limit is $15,000/$30,000, which compensations up to $15,000 per person injured up to a total of $30,000 per accident.
  • Property Damage Liability: covers damage to another person’s property in an accident for which you are at fault. The minimum limit is $5,000 of coverage.

2. What is the difference between full- and limited-tort?

Tort selection is the single-most important concept for any vehicle owner in Pennsylvania to understand. While limited-tort coverage saves owners on their annual insurance premium, it also relinquishes their rights to recover non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) if they are injured by another driver in an auto accident. Full tort costs more each year in premiums, but car owners can recover all economic and non-economic damages if injured. Without full tort, the chances of the other driver’s insurance company denying or limiting an accident claim increases.

Why do adjusters sometimes deny insurance claims after an accident?

Insurance adjusters may deny a car accident insurance claim if:

  • You could have avoided the crash or you did something that led to it, such as driving drunk
  • There was no complaint or record of an injury or treatment at the time of the injury, which presents the argument that the injury happened after the car accident
  • There was a pre-existing health condition, which could allow the insurer to argue the injury and pain is related to the condition rather than the crash

It’s important to contact your insurance company right away if you receive a notice of denial. A representative can tell you exactly why your claim was denied and what you can do.

3. Do I need a lawyer after an accident?

Insurance adjusters know time is on their side when one of their drivers caused an auto collision that hurt someone. While an injured victim is still recovering, the other driver’s insurance company has likely already begun investigating and responding to the accident – and they do not have a legal obligation to inform injured victims of their legal rights.

Don’t let anyone pressure you to sign documents or make a quick settlement if you were injured in a car or truck accident. Victims benefit from hiring an experienced Pennsylvania car crash attorney, because he or she will speak directly with the insurance companies and pursue the details of your case to maximize recovery.

Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance if you were injured in a crash. Our car accident lawyers can navigate the legal process and answer your questions.

Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

Understanding How Insurance Applies to Your Car Accident

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 4, 2016 3:30:00 PM

After an auto collision, it’s critical to understand your insurance policy and the coverage to which you are entitled. The most common categories of auto insurance coverage and how they may benefit you are named below.

Bodily Injury Liability

All Pennsylvania drivers must carry a minimum amount of $15,000 in auto liability insurance to pay for bodily injuries they cause to others in an automobile accident. It’s important to understand that the insurance company’s obligation to pay any accident claim is limited to the amount of coverage purchased per person and per accident. When there are injuries that exceed this amount of coverage, you will be responsible for those damages.

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Property Damage Liability

Property damage liability is similar to the concept of bodily injury liability, except that it covers damage caused to another person’s property rather than physical injuries. Again, the insurance company’s obligation to pay is limited to the amount of coverage purchased.

Comprehensive

This type of protection covers damage to your car that resulted from something other than an auto collision, such as fire or theft. The insurance company’s obligation to pay is limited by the amount of any deductible in the policy.

Collision

Collision covers damage to your car caused by a crash. The company’s obligation to pay is limited by the amount of any deductible purchased.

Medical Payments Coverage

Regardless of fault in a car accident, the insurance company will pay the reasonable medical expenses of anyone who was injured in your car. Under Pennsylvania law, this coverage also pays medical bills when you or a family member is injured by or while in or near another motor vehicle. Vehicle owners must carry a minimum of $5,000 in medical coverage as part of their personal injury protection (PIP). Owners can also purchase extraordinary medical expense coverage.

Income Loss Coverage

This coverage is optional in Pennsylvania and provides compensation when an injury renders you incapable of working. Income loss coverage does not cover the first five days of missed work.

Tort Selection

Tort selection is the single-most important concept for any vehicle owner in Pennsylvania to understand. While limited-tort coverage saves owners on their annual insurance premium, it also relinquishes their rights to recover non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) if they are injured by another driver. Full tort costs more each year in premiums, but car owners can recover all economic and non-economic damages if injured. Without full tort, the chances of the other driver’s insurance company denying or limiting an accident claim increases.

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers for Assistance

A complex legal matter often follows a car or truck accident, especially when injuries are involved. If you or a family member was hurt in a crash, we can help. Our auto accident attorneys have decades of experience standing up to insurance companies and at-fault drivers to obtain compensation for injured victims. We can begin investigating your case today.

 

Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

Why are Auto Accident Insurance Claims Denied?

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Apr 19, 2016 3:30:00 PM

People who were injured in an auto accident are likely expecting compensation from an insurance claim to cover medical bills and other expenses after the crash. Unfortunately, certain circumstances lead claims to be sometimes denied.

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Common reasons insurance adjusters may deny a car accident insurance claim include:

  • The accident was avoidable: if you could have avoided the crash or you did something that led to it, such as driving drunk
  • There was no complaint or record of an injury or treatment at the time of the injury: the insurance adjuster could argue the injuries aren’t connected to the accident
  • There was a pre-existing condition: the insurer may argue the injury and pain is related to the condition rather than the crash

It’s important to contact your insurance company right away if you receive a notice of denial. A representative can tell you why your claim was denied and what you can do.

Avoiding an Insurance Mess after a Car or Truck Accident

Keep in mind that insurance adjusters – especially from the other driver’s insurance company – act quickly after an auto accident, because they know time is on their side. Recognizing the advantage of immediately investigating accident sites, most insurance companies use their experience, power and financial resources to get a jump on you. The result can be inadequate or no compensation for the injured victim.

It is for this reason that people who were hurt in a truck or auto collision should obtain legal representation right away. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to speak with insurance adjusters to ensure victims receive the compensation they deserve. A lawyer can also obtain justice and hold the responsible driver accountable for his or her negligence on the road.

Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance if you or a family member was injured in a motor vehicle accident. Our Harrisburg and Philadelphia car accident lawyers can help.

 

Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

Will a Gap in Medical Treatment Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 25, 2016 11:30:00 AM

gaps_in_medical_treatment.pngIt’s important to seek medical help right away when you’re involved in a car or truck accident – even if you don’t think you were seriously injured. Aside from the fact that the pain will likely increase in the coming days, having an official record of all car accident injuries is necessary when seeking compensation.

Insurance adjusters will look for ways to devalue a person’s claim, and this begins with reviewing medical records to assess the documented injuries. It is therefore necessary to describe to a physician every pain and injury immediately following an auto accident – no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. If that small pain turns into a bigger health problem down the road, its progression will have been documented since the accident occurred.  As a basic rule, there should be a record of every medical issue following the crash, from the initial doctor's visit to the last visit.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

Be sure to follow all of your doctor’s instructions with regard to treatment, rest, medication and other orders. Failure to follow medical advice will not only prevent you from getting well as quickly as possible, but it could also hurt your personal injury claim.

Make Appointments and Keep Them

Your physician should always have up-to-date information on your condition as you recover, which means numerous appointments are necessary. There are very few good reasons to miss a doctor’s appointment, especially because an insurance adjuster will try to use a gap in treatment to prove your injuries are not as severe as you have claimed. Be sure to communicate the details of any gaps in treatment to your attorney if you know you will miss an appointment.

We can help if you believe you have grounds for a car accident lawsuit. Our highly skilled legal team can investigate the accident and find out if another driver’s negligence was to blame. Contact Anapol Weiss today to discuss your situation with a PA or NJ personal injury attorney.

 

Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

The Surprising Liability of Carpooling: What Parents Should Know

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 2, 2016 3:30:00 PM

carpooling_accident.jpgArranging a carpool to get the kids to and from school and activities can be a huge timesaver for parents, not to mention the environmental benefits. Before agreeing to transport other people’s children, however, it’s extremely important to take a look at your car insurance to ensure your family is protected.

Drivers can be sued for acting negligently on the road and causing an injury to another person – and that includes parents driving a carpool. As in any car accident case, if the driver was negligent and in turn caused an injury to a passenger, he or she would be liable for any damages caused. Carpool drivers should consider getting significant liability coverage – $500,000 or more – to cover the expenses of any passengers injured in the event of an accident.

Auto insurance policies are either split-limit or single-limit. For example, a split-limit could be $100,000-$300,000, which offers $100,000 coverage as a maximum amount per-person in an accident with a limit of $300,000 total paid per accident – even if there are 10 injured people making claims. A driver with a single-limit policy has a set amount of coverage per accident regardless of how many people were injured, and there is no per-person maximum.

For parents of a child riding with another student or parent to work, it’s important to have very good underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage on their own policy. UIM coverage could protect the child should he or she get injured by a carpooling driver who was not properly insured. An example would be a child with an injury claim worth $500,000 who could only recover the $15,000 liability policy from the at-fault driver. That child’s parents could then make a claim to any applicable UIM policy for further compensation. If the only applicable policy was the parents’ $100,000 UIM policy, that child would receive $100,000 in additional coverage. If the injured child’s parents purchased “stacking” for the UIM amounts and had three cars in the household, for example, they would have $300,000 of coverage ($100,000 per car, times three cars) for that child and he or she would receive a total settlement of $315,000.

A carpooling accident can quickly become a complex legal situation. It is for that reason that carpooling parents should always carry adequate liability to protect them from personal loss in the event of an automobile accident.

 

Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

Seeking Medical Treatment after an Auto Accident

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Feb 26, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Immediately following an automobile accident, those who were involved should go to the hospital or see a doctor right away – even if they don’t think they were injured. It’s important to avoid assuming you have not been seriously injured just because you don’t feel immediate pain.

Failure to seek medical help after a car or truck accident could be detrimental to a victim’s case if he or she files a personal injury claim. Adjusters could make the argument that if a victim was really hurt in the accident, he or she would have sought medical attention immediately. An adjuster could also indicate that the injury might have resulted from an unrelated event after the accident. The longer a victim waits to receive medical treatment, the more difficult it will be to connect the injuries to the accident.

Capture-1.jpgCertain injuries are not apparent until some time has passed, after which a person could begin to suffer excruciating pain. However, it’s important to tell the doctor during the initial visit about every injury that bothers you, no matter how minute the pain may be. Making a list helps to ensure all concerns are covered in each visit. Insurance adjusters will likely note anything victims did not complain about right away, even though months later, a little ache could have developed into a serious problem.

In order to make a financial recovery for your injuries, you must prove them. Always be honest with doctors and never leave out prior injuries when discussing your past medical history. As you continue to recover, it is very important to go to every medical appointment.

For more information and tips for those who were involved in an auto accident, download a free copy of 7 Fatal Mistakes Victims of Accidents Make in PA and How to Avoid Making Them.

 

 

Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

Avoid this Insurance Mistake After an Automobile Accident

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Feb 16, 2016 11:02:18 AM

Whether an accident includes only one car or a multi-vehicle pileup involving a tractor trailer crash, deaths and injuries result in a complex legal situation.

A rule of thumb for those injured in car and truck accidents is to avoid giving written or verbal statements to anyone concerning the crash without first getting their lawyer’s approval. Discussing the accident with insurance companies or other parties involved could hinder a person’s ability to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses related to the accident.

The Dangers of Giving a Statement

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Click here to download a free guide for Pennsylvania automobile accident victims.

It is common practice for insurance adjusters to call injury claimants and try to record a statement before the victim has an opportunity to talk to an attorney. While adjusters may be friendly and sympathetic, making a statement can result in the insurance company denying or minimizing the claim. In order for victims and their families to preserve their legal rights, under no circumstances should they talk to the other driver’s insurance company without an attorney.

Even with regard to a victim’s own insurance, it’s important to avoid giving statements unless coverage is completely understood. Even victims’ own insurance companies have been known to attempt to deny coverage or limit the amount of recovery for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits and Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) claims.

Signing Releases or Waivers

Although victims in Pennsylvania may accept a property damage settlement offer from their insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, they should never sign releases or waivers of any kind until obtaining legal advice. A “general release” essentially forever resolves all causes of action – including personal injury claims.

Getting Legal Representation

It is for these and other reasons that car and truck accident victims benefit greatly from hiring a lawyer right away. As they focus on recovery and getting life back to normal, an experienced attorney can navigate the complex legal situation to follow and ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.

Contact our firm for assistance if you or a loved one was injured in a vehicle accident. Our highly skilled attorneys are prepared to answer your legal questions. For more tips, download a free copy of 7 Fatal Mistakes Victims of Accidents Make in PA and How to Avoid Making Them.

Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

Dealing with Insurance Companies after an Automobile Accident

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Feb 5, 2016 3:30:00 PM

After an automobile accident occurs, speaking to insurance companies without a lawyer could mean the difference between obtaining justice and compensation and having no legal recourse at all.

Insurance adjusters and investigators know time is on their side when one of their drivers caused an automobile accident that hurt someone. While an injured victim is still recovering, the other driver’s insurance company has likely already begun investigating and responding to the accident. Unfortunately, adjusters do not have a legal obligation to inform injured victims of their legal rights.

Insurance company representatives are trained to take advantage of claimants’ limited knowledge about the fair value of their claims in order to save money for their company.

Capture-1.jpgAs a result, an adjuster will often try to get victims to minimize their pain or the impact of their injuries in a “statement” given over the phone or in person. They may also attempt to persuade victims to take responsibility for the accident, when in reality the other person is at fault.

What You Can Do

If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident, never let anyone pressure you to sign documents or make a quick settlement. Hiring an experienced attorney will make the phone calls stop, as your lawyer will begin speaking directly with the insurance companies. He or she will navigate the complex legal process so you can focus on recovery.

For more tips for avoiding mistakes after an accident, download a free copy of Seven Fatal Mistakes Victims of Accidents Make in PA and How to Avoid Making Them.

 

Topics: Auto Insurance Claims, Auto Accidents

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