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What to Do When You Have Been in a Car Accident

Man feeling pain to the neck after car crash

If you’ve never been in a car accident, count yourself lucky…the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the average American is involved in four accidents during his or her lifetime.

When you’ve been hurt because of the carelessness or negligence of another motorist, it’s critical that you take specific steps to protect yourself. Here’s a checklist:

  • Step #1 — Get the Medical Treatment You Need

This is far and away the most important thing to do after a motor vehicle accident. It’s important to remember, too, that it’s not the time to be strong or stoic—it’s the time to accept and acknowledge your injuries and get all the treatment you need. If you can’t move around under your own power, or if you are in significant pain or discomfort, wait until emergency medical technicians arrive. Don’t try to diagnose your injury—they are the professionals and know how to do that. They also know what you need to do to avoid making your condition worse.

Get medical treatment as soon as possible, even if it’s not at the site of the crash. Immediately take yourself to the hospital, an urgent care facility or set up an appointment with your doctor. The longer you wait, the greater the risk of two things—that you’ll have an intervening accident or injury that will allow defense attorneys to shift blame; or that it will appear to a jury that your injuries were not that serious.

  • Step #2 — Gather Information

The more information you can get, the better, particularly if you need to file a personal injury claim to get full and fair compensation for your losses. Get contact information for anyone involved in the accident, as well as all witnesses. Take pictures of everything, including the damage to all vehicles, any injuries suffered, road markings (skids or gouges), weather conditions or roadway defects. The camera on your phone is fine…just get the pictures.

  • Step #3 — Hire an Experienced Lawyer

You want an attorney who has successfully handled motor vehicle accident claims, who knows what to expect from insurance companies and defense counsel, who can accurately determine the value of your claim. You also want to hire a lawyer as soon as possible, so that you can preserve all relevant evidence.

Contact Our Experienced Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

Send us an e-mail or call our office to schedule an appointment to learn how we can help with a motor vehicle accident claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

Veterans Health Care Benefits – An Overview


If you have served your country, you are entitled to a wide range of benefits. Some benefits may be based on financial need and the benefits available to you can vary based on when, where and how long you served. One of the most important benefits available to former service members is health care.

Health Care Benefits for Veterans

If you have been honorably discharged from active service, chances are good that you are eligible for health care at one of the VA hospitals or clinics across the nation. If you served before September 7, 1980, there’s no minimum service requirement. However, if you enlisted after that date, you will only be eligible for health care benefits if you served a minimum of 24 months of uninterrupted duty (unless you were discharged for a service-related disability).

To receive health care benefits, you normally have to apply. There are circumstances, though, where you will be entitled to health care benefits automatically:

  • If the care you are receiving is exclusively for a service-related disability, injury or illness
  • If your service-related disability has been rated at 50% or higher
  • If the Veterans Administration has determined that your disability is service-related, but has not issued a disability rating

Veteran’s Access to Health Care

Because the VA lacks the resources to provide the necessary care to all who require it and qualify, a priority system has been established to determine who gets treated first. As a general rule, the higher your disability rating, the higher your priority for treatment. In addition, if you have been a prisoner of war or have received certain medals or honors for your service (a Purple Heart or Medal of Honor, for example), you’ll be given special priority. Veterans who have been discharged within five years of enrollment are also eligible for enhanced health care access.

Contact Our Experienced Veterans Benefits Attorneys

Send us an e-mail or call our office to arrange a meeting to discuss your rights to veterans benefits. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

The Elements of a Personal Injury Claim Based on Negligence

Personal injury law book on a table.

In the aftermath of a personal injury, you can face serious physical and financial challenges. You may be unable to work because of your injury, and have no disability insurance or other means of income. Under those circumstances, it’s common to want your personal injury claim resolved fairly soon. Unfortunately, it’s a process and there are specific things you must demonstrate to a court before you can succeed with a personal injury claim.

Though you can always seek compensation for the intentional or reckless acts of another person, as a practical matter, most personal injury claims are based on a legal theory of negligence. To successfully prosecute a personal injury claim based on negligence, you must show three things: that the defendant breached the duty of care; that the breach caused the accident; and that, because of the accident, you suffered actual loss.

The Standard of Care

Under the law of negligence, as it has developed over the centuries, every person is considered to have a duty to use reasonable care in all daily actions. Accordingly, when you are driving a motor vehicle, designing or manufacturing a product, maintaining real property, using a power tool, or engaging in any activity, you must act as a reasonable person would. The law, however, does not specifically identify what qualifies as reasonable behavior. Instead, the standard of care (and whether it was breached) is determined by the jury on a case-by-case basis, with attention paid to prior decisions.


There are two types of causation that must be proven in a successful personal injury claim: actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause, also known as “but for” cause, simply asks the question whether the accident would have occurred “but for” the defendant’s breach of the duty of care. Proximate cause is a somewhat higher standard, and requires that the accident or injury be “reasonably foreseeable” based on the breach of the duty of care.

Actual Loss

There are situations where you can show that the defendant did not act reasonably and that the breached caused an accident, but you may still be unable to recover damages (monetary compensation for your losses). For example, if all your losses are covered by insurance, you won’t be able to recover compensatory damages, as the law does not allow you to recover twice for the same loss. In addition, if your car had little or no value and the damage caused in an accident did not reduce its value, you have no loss for which you are entitled to be compensated.

Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

Send us an e-mail or call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss any legal issue affecting your business. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.

What to Do Immediately after You’ve Been in a Motor Vehicle Accident

 injured in a motor vehicle

When you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, you have a right to pursue damages for all your losses, including income and wages, unreimbursed medical expenses, loss of companionship or consortium, and physical pain and suffering. But the steps you take immediately after you’ve been in a crash can have a significant impact on your legal rights. Here are some ways you can protect your interests.

Get the Medical Care You Need as Soon as Possible

You want to seek medical attention immediately, and for a couple reasons. First, the sooner you get medical care, the better chance you have of a full financial recovery. But waiting to be treated can put you at risk. The longer you wait, the more ammunition you give defense attorney to argue that your injuries were not serious, or that your injuries were actually caused by some intervening event.

In addition, remember that this is no time to be strong or be a hero…it’s the time to take maximum precautions to avoid further injury. If you don’t think you can move under your own power, or if you are in significant pain, wait until emergency medical technicians arrive. They’ll know what’s best for you. Go to the hospital, if necessary. If, however, your injuries don’t require hospitalization, make a trip to an urgent care or your family doctor as soon as possible.

When you are treated, make certain you mention everything that has happened. Don’t focus on the obvious injuries and neglect to mention the twists and sprains in your neck or back. And ask that doctors and nurses document everything in writing.

Gather Information

If possible, you want to use the moments after the accident to gather information to assist your attorney. Ask for contact information from anyone involved in the accident, including name, address, phone number and insurance provider. You also want contact information from any witnesses.

Take pictures of everything, from the conditions of the road to the damage to all vehicles, from your injuries to the weather. Your camera on your phone should be sufficient.

Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

Send us an e-mail or call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss any legal issue affecting your business. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request.


  • B&D Law Group 1110 Kennebec Dr, Chambersburg, PA 17201

  • Call for consultation (717) 264-5194