Brian Lafferty joined Laffey, Bucci & Kent in May 2014. Mr. Lafferty is licensed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and concentrates his practice on car accidents in the greater Philadelphia area, including Montgomery County (Norristown) and Delaware County (Media). He also handles auto accident cases in New Jersey. Brian Lafferty brings 10 years of litigation experience to the firm’s auto accident law practice.
Mr. Lafferty is a life-long resident of the Philadelphia-Camden area. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Kutztown University which is located in Berks County, just outside the Allentown city limits. He graduated from Rutgers University School of Law (Camden) in 2004.
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The Firm’s Auto Accident Practice
Auto Accident Lawsuits
Drivers, passengers and pedestrians who are injured in auto accidents have civil legal rights to seek financial compensation for their injuries under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law. This usually requires taking the at-fault driver to court, i.e., filing a car accident lawsuit.
However, auto accident law is one of the most complex areas of personal injury and accident law. That’s because of the multiple types of auto accidents and various laws which apply. There are two laws which cause a great deal of confusion in auto accident cases: 1. the no-fault principle, and 2. tort elections (limited tort in PA or verbal threshold in NJ).
More: Bodily Injury Car Accident Insurance Coverage in Pennsylvania
PA & NJ – No-Fault Insurance
In addition, both Pennsylvania and New Jersey are no-fault states. This means that auto accident medical bills are paid by your own car insurance company, up to the amount purchased. This is regardless of fault. Most people who are injured in auto accidents caused by others believe that their medical bills get paid by the at-fault drivers’ insurance companies. This is a very common misconception. If you’re injured in an auto accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and you have a PA or NJ auto insurance policy, you make a claim for medical bills (known as PIP) with your own car insurance company.
PA & NJ – Tort Elections
Pennsylvania and New Jersey have similar tort election laws which apply to the vast majority of auto accident cases. The tort elections are known as limited tort in Pennsylvania and verbal threshold in New Jersey. Tort election laws limit an injured auto accident victim’s right to sue for pain and suffering (non-economic damages), unless the injury falls within certain legal exceptions defined under the law. For instance, in PA, one of the legal exceptions to limited tort is the DUI exception. If an at-fault driver is ultimately convicted of a DUI or otherwise accepted into an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, the injured victim is not bound by the limited tort election.
Brian Lafferty Limited Tort Case Result: $900,000 for a 40 year old Pennsylvania woman injured in a car accident.
Most residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are completely misinformed about the implications of the tort election when they purchase auto insurance. When most people buy car insurance, they are mostly concerned with the cost of their premiums and will therefore choose limited tort/verbal threshold. Then, when an auto accident happens and they are seriously injured, they are often surprised to learn that the limited tort or verbal threshold election acts as a filter, limiting their ability to obtain full financial recovery for their injuries and damages.
Basically, these tort elections filter serious injury cases from non-serious injury cases. Most auto accident lawsuits in PA and NJ are fought over whether a given auto accident injury is serious and permanent.
Need more legal info about car accident law in Philadelphia? Visit our car accident law library.
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Page last updated: October 7, 2016