Page 1


Car Accidents in Erie, PA KNOW YOUR RIGHTS


Table of Contents WHAT’S INSIDE

Introduction 3

The benefits of working with a car accident attorney


Types of Erie vehicle accidents


Seven things to do after a Pennsylvania car wreck


The importance of insurance


Damages available to Erie car crash victims


The cost of hiring a lawyer




Car Accidents can affect anyone


o matter how careful you are when driving, there is always a chance that you might get into a car accident. All it takes is another distracted driver or someone driving too fast to crash into you,

causing serious injuries. Being involved in a Western Pennsylvania car wreck is often a traumatic experience. Most accident victims suffer physical injury from the effects of a serious crash, but the damage caused by an auto accident doesn’t stop there. Many car wreck victims must take time off of work while they recover, and then once they finally can recover face seemingly endless medical bills. Victims must also deal with the lasting effects of the pain and emotional stress and anxiety caused by the accident.



Insurance companies have an army of adjusters, investigators and lawyers on its side all working to make sure you get as little money as possible. You can level the playing field. If you are injured in automobile accidents, you may think you can deal with the insurance company on your own and get a fair settlement. However, the insurance company has an army of adjusters, investigators and lawyers on its side all working to make sure you get as little money as possible. At the Erie Pennsylvania car accident law firm of Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we represent personal injury victims in cases against negligent drivers. Our team of skilled car wreck lawyers has decades of experience handling a wide range of claims, and has a track record of success at trial and the negotiation

The benefits of working with a car accident attorney

table. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients in which we will explain the recovery process in detail and how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation. If you retain the lawyers at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini we will immediately begin to do whatever is necessary to bring your case to a successful conclusion and to get you the fair compensation that you deserve.


Traffic accidents in Pennsylvania Pennsylvania is a large state with over 120,000 miles of roadways. Each year, motorists travel over 100 billion miles on Pennsylvania roads. While most motorists take their driving responsibilities seriously; unfortunately, that isn’t the case for all drivers. For example, in 2017, there were over 128,000 Pennsylvania car crashes. Of those, over 80,000 accidents resulted in injury and 1,137 resulted in death. Of course, nobody gets behind the wheel thinking that they are going to be involved in a Pennsylvania car accident. However, given the statistics, it stands to reason that no matter how many precautions a driver takes, Pennsylvania car wrecks are inevitable.

Pennsylvania car accident statistics: In 2017, there were 128,188 reportable car accidents, resulting in 80,612 injuries and 1,137 fatalities. Each day in Pennsylvania there are:



3 5


Types of Erie Vehicle Accidents While every Pennsylvania car crash is unique, there are several common types of accidents.

Fixed-object collisions


Nearly 30 percent of all Pennsylvania motor vehicle crashes involved a stationary object. While it may be tempting to assume that a driver who collides with a fixed object is to blame, that certainly isn’t always the case. Often, if an attentive driver takes evasive action to avoid a collision with another vehicle, they end up crashing into a utility pole or other stationary object.

Head-on collisions


Collect and maintain any evidence at the scene of the accident that might be relevant and make sure to ensure the “chain of custody” of the evidence is secure so that it can be used in court without claims of evidence tampering. Some types of physical evidence could be pieces of the various vehicles involved as well as dash camera footage.


Rear-end accidents


While rear-end accidents often involve low speeds, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be injuries. Establishing that another driver is at fault in an Erie rear-end collision can be difficult, and requires a thorough understanding of Pennsylvania traffic laws as well as accident law. Rear-end accidents account for nearly 23 percent of all Pennsylvania car wrecks.

Sideswipe crashes


The most common cause of a sideswipe collision is a motorist’s failure to yield the right-of-way at an intersection. Often, this comes as a result of the driver running a red light or a stop sign, and crashing into another motorist as they travel through the intersection. Sideswipe accidents account for about 6.5 percent of all Pennsylvania motor vehicle collisions.

Pedestrian accidents


Pennsylvania pedestrian accidents are the deadliest type of collision. While pedestrian-involved crashes only account for 3 percent of the total number of accidents, they are responsible for 12 percent of the state’s trafficrelated deaths. Recovering after an Erie pedestrian-car accident can be tricky because drivers routinely try to shift fault from themselves onto the pedestrian.

Recovering compensation


At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we represent clients in all types of Erie car wreck cases, even in situations where you may have shared in the responsibility for causing the accident.


While some crashes are solely the fault of one party, it is not uncommon for an accident victim to share some responsibility for causing an accident. In Pennsylvania, the fact that you are partially at fault for an accident will not prevent you from bringing a case against other at-fault drivers. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative fault rule, an at-fault motorist can still pursue a claim for compensation as long as they are less than 51 percent responsible for the crash. It is essential to keep in mind that an injury victim who is partially at fault will have the total amount of damages reduced by their own percentage of fault. For example, assume you are involved in an accident that resulted

Given the nature of how the comparative fault rule works, Erie car wreck victims must work with a reputable injury lawyer to minimize the chance that a defendant can shift any liability away from themselves.

in $500,000 in damages; however, the jury determined that you were 30 percent at fault. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative fault analysis, you would receive $350,000 ($500,000 less 30 percent).

Many questions can arise as to who is at fault and what insurance will be available to help compensate you for your serious injuries.

Our attorneys are here. Our attorneys have decades of experience dealing with insurance companies on behalf of clients injured by the negligence of others. We know how they work, and we know how to beat them.

You deserve answers




Seven things to do after a Pennsylvania car wreck

Victims of Erie car crashes know how stressful it can be in the moments after the accident. The atmosphere is chaotic, adrenaline is at a high, and many accident victims describe the aftermath as a blur. It is common for crash victims to “zone out.” However, the moments immediately following a serious Western Pennsylvania motor vehicle accident are crucial, and there are certain things motorists should keep in mind. Many drivers find it helpful to print this list and place it in their glove compartment or some other convenient location; that way, they don’t have to worry about committing these important steps to memory.


Seven things to do: 01

Stop the car Even if the accident seemed minor and you do not believe that you or anyone else was hurt, you should stop the vehicle. Aside from the fact that leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, you may not be immediately aware of any injuries. Often, adrenaline masks the pain we usually associate with an injury.


Check for injuries After stopping, you should exit the vehicle and instruct all passengers who can do so on their own to do the same. Conduct a visual check for injuries, but do not move injured passengers. If you are injured, try to restrict your movement as much as possible, as this can worsen your injuries.


Do not admit fault Admitting responsibility for an accident does nothing but reduce your chances of being able to recover for your injuries because the other party can use your statements against you in a subsequent case. At the same time, refrain from arguing about whose fault it was and focus on gathering information.


Call the police Except in the most minor of accidents, those involved in a motor vehicle collision should call the police and report the accident. The responding police officer will generate a police report and take down some basic facts about the accident. This information can be helpful in an Erie personal injury case.


Protect the scene Do not move your vehicle or clear the road of any debris, and allow the responding police officers to handle the scene. Not only do you put yourself at risk by being on the highway, but you also make it more difficult for police officers to determine what occurred in the moments leading up to the accident.


Seven things to do: 06

Create a record One of the most important things to remember is to document what happened. This includes obtaining identifying information from the other drivers involved, as well as from any witnesses who saw the accident. If you have a camera, take pictures of the accident before anything changes. You can also look around to see if any surveillance or traffic cameras may have documented the accident.


Follow-up with an attorney Once the initial stress of the crash has worn down, be sure to reach out to an experienced Erie personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights and how you can pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you sustained in the accident.

Keeping the above things in mind after an accident is a good way to ensure that you protect your rights following an Erie motor vehicle accident.



1 IN 44


1 IN 159


1 IN 11,263




The importance of insurance Insurance companies play a significant role in Western Pennsylvania car wreck cases because they often defend the atfault driver. An insurance policy is a contract under which the motorist pays a monthly or annual premium and return the insurance company agrees to cover certain costs if the motorist causes or is involved in an accident. Some insurance is mandatory, while other types are optional.



Bodily injury liability: Minimum coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident

Property damage liability: Minimum coverage of $5,000

Medical benefits: Minimum coverage of $5,000

Motorists have the choice between limited tort or full tort insurance. Limited tort insurance is less expensive; however, insurance companies will not compensate for any pain and suffering resulting from the accident. Full tort coverage, while more expensive, allows motorists unrestricted rights to pursue a claim against the insurance company. Pennsylvania’s car insurance requirements do not include mandatory underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM) protection. This leaves many accident victims in a precarious position. UIM protection is crucial if an at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have enough coverage

All drivers must obtain the following coverage

to compensate the accident victim fully. For example, if another driver hits you and you suffer $100,000 in medical expenses, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is only responsible up to the policy limit. If the at-fault driver only purchased the minimum amount of required insurance (as many drivers do), then you would only be able to recover $15,000. If you had a UIM policy, however, you could then file a claim with your own insurance company seeking compensation up to the policy limit.



What is my case worth?

What damages are available to Erie car crash victims? In Pennsylvania, there are three basic types of

One thing is true: people who employ the

damages awards that are available to the victims

services of an accident attorney see better

of Erie car accidents. Determining which types of

results. Only with a lawyer fighting for your rights

damages are appropriate in an Erie motor vehicle

will you be most successful.

lawsuit is a complex and lengthy process, and best handled by an experienced Western Pennsylvania personal injury law firm.




Special Damages: Also called economic damages, special damages provide victims with compensation for financial expenses they incurred as a result of the collision. Special damages often include medical expenses, lost wages and property damage. These damages also allow victims to recover certain attendant costs such as modifications that you need to make to your home as a result of your injuries.


General Damages: Sometimes called non-economic damages, general damages are those without an easilydetermined monetary value. General damages may include compensation for your physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of companionship or permanent disfigurement.


Punitive damages: Unlike the other two types of damages, punitive damages are focused on the conduct of the defendant, rather than on any loss suffered. Courts

What is my case worth?

award punitive damages to punish a defendant for especially egregious conduct. For this reason, courts award punitive damages only in situations where the defendant exhibited a reckless disregard for your safety.



That is the great thing about hiring the lawyers at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, it will not cost you anything. No fee until you win. If you or someone you care about was recently the victim of a Western Pennsylvania motor vehicle collision, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for your injuries. At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we represent Erie accident victims and their families in all varieties of car accident claims. We also handle Pennsylvania wrongful death claims related to fatal car accidents. The lawyers at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini have been selected as Top 10 Attorney for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys awarded to attorneys demonstrating exceptional and outstanding client service. Our dedicated Erie injury lawyers have been selected by Super Lawyers on multiple occasions and are rated as 10 out of 10 by

How much will it cost to hire a lawyer?

AVVO, an independent lawyer rating service. With more than 70 years of combined experience and an exceptional track record o success, you can be confident in our ability to handle your case. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation, call us at (814) 459-5557.


The lawyers at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini have been selected as Top 10 Attorney for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys awarded to attorneys demonstrating exceptional and outstanding client service. The lawyers have been selected by Super Lawyers on several occasions and are rated as 10 out of 10 by AVVO, an independent lawyer rating service. We will take as long as it takes to help you determine if you have the right to file a lawsuit to compensate you for your injuries.

(814) 459-5557

Profile for Melaragno, Placidi & Parini

Car Accidents in Erie, PA No matter how careful you are when driving, there is always a chance that...

Car Accidents in Erie, PA No matter how careful you are when driving, there is always a chance that...