FAQs

what to do right after a car accident

If you or a loved one has recently suffered the shock and trauma of an accident, medical error, civil rights infringement, business dispute or other problem requiring legal advice, you will have many questions and concerns.

Gay, Chacker & Mittin attorneys are happy to meet with you, answer your questions, and start the process of supporting you and your family on your road to recovery.

We have been serving the people of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and surrounding areas since 1965, winning significant compensation and recovery for them and successfully representing them in court when needed. We are here to help.

Because Gay, Chacker & Mittin attorneys have a lot experience and a great track record, will it cost me a lot to hire your firm?

Our initial consultation with you is free. You can speak with our Philadelphia-based attorneys, whether by phone or in person.

After that, the only legal fees we receive are paid once your case or claim is settled. We only take a minimal percentage of the financial compensation you receive. If we are not successful for whatever reason in recovering losses for you, we do not charge you anything, at any point.

We will also not charge you while your claim or lawsuit is being processed. If we need to hire technical or medical experts to verify information and strengthen your claim, we will pay those costs out of our own pocket.

Whatever time and expenses your case requires, we will take on, without charging you. That is part of our commitment to you.

How soon after I am injured should I speak with a lawyer?

It is important to contact Gay, Chacker & Mittin call as soon as possible after an accident, medical error, infringement of your civil rights, business dispute, or any other important legal matter.

It is essential to call us right away. There may be time limits that apply to your claim or lawsuit, and we will need to submit all necessary documents and evidence before that deadline.

If you have been injured, you will be receiving medical bills while also missing work time, making timely action on our part all the more crucial. We will zealously protect your rights and interests and work to get you the best possible compensation as quickly as possible, right from the start.

How will my problem be resolved—by settlement or in court? How will I know what’s happening with my case?

Many cases are resolved by settlement. In those cases, both sides agree that the person or company at fault or their insurance company must compensate you for your injuries and/or losses. If no settlement agreement can be reached out of court, our skilled trial attorneys will go to court to fight hard for your right to fair and just compensation.

As our client testimonials state, our attorneys are very reliable in returning all calls and being in regular contact with you, while we gather and assess the evidence needed to build your claim or lawsuit. We will keep in touch regularly to keep you informed of all progress.

How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

In a personal injury case, you and/or your property will have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence or intent to harm. An actual physical injury is not necessary in a personal injury lawsuit, but you must have sustained some form of harm or loss. That might include a physical injury, mental/emotional trauma due to threats or harassment, a loss of your or your business’s reputation, or an invasion of privacy, for example.

If you or someone you love has been injured as a direct result of someone else’s negligence or intention to harm you, you have the right to file a claim for compensation. As long as you played no part in causing your injuries and other damages, you can recover compensation by establishing that the other person was at fault.

Our firm has handled hundreds of personal injury cases over the past five decades. We have the experience and legal know-how to successfully gather all necessary evidence, argue on your behalf, and hold those responsible accountable for your damages and losses.

Do I need to file a claim or lawsuit immediately after I’m injured?

Every state has its time limits (statutes of limitations) by which you must file a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim.

It is vital that you do not miss the deadline for filing your case! You can lose your legal right to recover losses and claim compensation for your injuries, if you wait too long to file. It is vital that you or a loved one contact us as soon as possible after you suffer or discover an injury.

What should I bring with me when I meet with one of your attorneys?

Bring any documents that might be relevant to your case. These can include eyewitness accounts, police reports, copies of medical reports, bills and receipts from doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. These will all help to show what injuries you have suffered and how serious they are.

Any information you might have about the insurer of whoever caused your injury would be very helpful. Photographs of the accident scene, of damaged property, and of your injuries, are also extremely helpful.

The more information you can bring to us, the easier it will be for us to determine if we can build a successful claim for you.

Don’t worry if you don’t have any documents to bring to your first meeting with your attorney. He will obtain all necessary documents as he begins to investigate your claim. If you cannot leave your home or hospital bed, we can easily visit you there instead of our offices.

What if my friend or family member dies before they are able to file a personal injury claim or suit?

If the injured person dies because of their injuries, their family may recover money through a wrongful death action.

If they die from unrelated causes, a personal injury claim can still be made on their behalf. The claim would be filed by the executor or representative of the deceased person’s estate.

What does it mean if someone has been “negligent”?

A person is negligent when they fail to act like an “ordinary reasonable person” would have acted.

Negligence is a failure to act with the level of care that any person of ordinary carefulness would have used under the same circumstances.

Negligence usually refers to actions, but can also refer to lack of action when there was a duty to act. This might include a person failing to stop someone from becoming injured because of some action or situation the negligent person created. That refusal to take responsibility, warn or help another person can apply to individuals, businesses, employees, and consumers.

What if I can’t prove someone’s negligence caused my injury? What else might cause personal injury?

Some companies or individuals may be held “strictly liable” for certain actions even if they have not acted negligently or with wrongful intent.

This applies if you were injured by a defective or dangerous product, for example. You may recover compensation from the manufacturer or seller of the product without having to show that one of them was acting in a negligent way.

For example, individuals or businesses that use explosives or store dangerous substances on their property can be strictly liable for harm caused to others, because of these actions.

I know how to fill out forms. Can’t I just try to settle my case or claim myself?

You can try to do this own your own, but you will be facing insurance companies who are expert at finding ways to pay you as little as possible, or nothing.

It will not matter how strong your claim is. Because you are not a lawyer who can sue them, they will not take your letters or emails very seriously. They will prolong the process and find the right loopholes to get out of paying you the money you have a right to receive.

Also, there are usually several different insurance policies to collect from—insurance companies will not tell you this.

Our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys are experienced in dealing with insurance companies. We know all of their tactics, tricks and arguments. We will deal with those arguments by using our proven skills and experience, and get you the highest possible compensation we can, from all eligible policies.

In the case of a workers’ compensation claim or DUI expungement, there are many legal twists and turns that require an attorney’s training and experience.

For example, you can ruin your changes for DUI expungement by not submitting legal documents according to the rules of civil procedure. In the case of a workers’ compensation claim, you could end up with a too small amount of compensation or none, if you miss deadlines or do not submit all necessary information. Put our experience to work for you, and avoid making costly mistakes.

What if I don’t win any compensation? Won’t you still charge me a fee?

We will charge you absolutely no fee unless we recover financial compensation for you.

I already signed up with another lawyer who is charging me a much bigger fee. Can I switch over to your firm?

Yes—you can switch over to another law firm at any time, even if you have signed a contract with your current lawyer.

We will simply reimburse your lawyer for any costs they might have taken on, from the fee we receive from your case. This means that you will lose no money in changing lawyers, and you will receive a larger percentage of your compensation, since our fee is lower than theirs.

Is my settlement tax free?

Wherever possible, our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers will structure the settlement so that it is completely tax-free.

How long will it take until I receive financial compensation?

We will work hard to get you your compensation as quickly as possible. If you were injured in an accident, we can sometimes get you a settlement check in a number of weeks.

Cases such as medical malpractice and product liability and more complex, and can take several months or longer. But we always work to get compensation to clients as soon as possible.

Will I have to go to court?

We are able to settle the vast majority of our clients’ claims without having to go to trial, but should your case come to trial, we will use our strong trial skills to powerfully represent your interests in court.

Our personal injury attorneys will work daily to push your state’s Workers Compensation Board and any insurance companies involved, until they pay you as large a settlement as possible.

In terms of auto insurance, what is the difference between full tort and limited tort in Pennsylvania?

Limited tort insurance generally prevents you from getting money for any pain and suffering you experience after an accident.

Full tort allows you to recover money for your pain and suffering. But there are many exceptions to this rule. Our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys can often get you fair compensation for your injuries, even if you don’t have full tort insurance.

What is uninsured motorist coverage in Pennsylvania?

Adding uninsured motorist coverage to your insurance policy means that the insurance company must pay your medical costs if you are injured in an accident where the other driver is uninsured.

What is underinsured motorist coverage in Pennsylvania?

With underinsured motorist insurance coverage, the insurance company must pay your medical costs if you are injured in an accident where the other driver has some insurance coverage, but not enough to pay for your medical expenses and other losses.

The insurance company already offered me a settlement, so why do I need a lawyer?

Insurance companies are expert at paying out the lowest amount possible—or nothing—to those who apply for compensation. They exist to earn large profits, not to help you or your family.

The insurance adjuster may seem very friendly and helpful, and might even provide a lot of detail about the compensation they say their company will pay you. But their main goal is to pay out as small an amount as possible. When they say they will pay for medical care, for example, they may only be referring to your first doctor’s appointment, not weeks or months of appointments.

Keep in mind that adjusters are usually rewarded and/or promoted for resolving claims for little or nothing, as quickly as possible.

Do not allow an insurance company to cheat you. Get an attorney who has the legal skills, knowledge and experience you need to settle your claim for the highest amount possible.

What kinds of personal injury cases does your firm handle?

We handle all types of personal injury cases, including:

We also handle injury cases, such as:

We also handle workplace injury cases, including:

If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, including a work site accident or due to medical error, we will represent your family by filing a wrongful death claim on your behalf. We will fight hard to protect your and your family’s rights and interests, in every case.

If I have a personal injury claim, what damages can I try to recover?

Personal injury cases can involve financial, physical, mental/emotional, and damages to property and business reputation.

Compensation can be paid to cover many areas, including:

  • Medical expenses, including medication, therapy, doctor’s office visits, hospitalization, assistive devices, and rehabilitation
  • Lost wages and benefits (current and future)
  • Gas mileage to and from the hospital or doctors’ appointments
  • Property loss or damage
  • Lost business income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of the injured person’s participation in family life, including loss of parental care
  • End-of-life expenses
  • Temporary or permanent disability
Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer?

You have a far greater chance of receiving full and fair compensation for your losses if you are represented by an attorney.

Those who turn to a law firm for guidance through the claim or lawsuit process recover far more compensation on average, than those who file a claim on their own.

A skilled attorney’s knowledge and ability will help immeasurably. You do not want to stand alone when dealing with insurance companies in a settlement or in the courtroom.

Defense attorneys and insurance companies know that the average person does not know the law sufficiently, or the loopholes they are skilled in finding. They will take advantage of that lack of legal knowledge at every turn—and you and your family will lose thousands of dollars you might have received if you had had a professional attorney guiding the process for you.

Why should I use the attorneys at Gay, Chacker & Mittin instead of those at another firm?

Our Philadelphia-based lawyers are known for reaching excellent settlements as quickly as possible, treating clients with the respect they deserve, and working as conscientiously and as hard as we can.

We have an excellent track record from serving clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and surrounding areas for the past five decades. We are here to help you and your family.

The lawyers at Gay, Chacker & Mittin are happy to speak with you and answer any questions you might have about your specific situation, and what we can do to help.

Call us today, or fill out our contact form to start things rolling. We have built a solid reputation based on caring, concerned service for our clients and winning results.

There is no risk or obligation. We charge you no legal fees unless we recover financial compensation for you. Call us today at 1-800-LAW-4030 for a free initial consultation. We are happy to answer any legal questions you may have, and to let you know that we are a law firm you can trust.