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Motor Vehicle Accidents Attorneys
in Altoona,

A car accident can be devastating for your family and overwhelming to deal with. At Goldstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith, we can help you get through this difficult time by handling the case so that you can care for yourself or a loved one. With over 100 years of experience, our skilled attorneys have assisted victims in getting the compensation they need and deserve. Contact us today in Altoona, Pennsylvania, to set up your free consultation with our motor vehicle accidents attorneys. We also proudly serve those residing in Huntingdon, Cresson, and Tyrone, Pennsylvania.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents happen unexpectedly and for reasons that may be completely out of your control. There are two main issues in every car accident: liability and damages. If you can prove liability and that you suffered damages, you are entitled to compensation for your loss.

The insurance claim process can be extremely difficult to navigate and typically involves the following steps:

  • An investigation into the facts of the loss.

  • A determination of fault on one or more parties.

  • An evaluation of the damages suffered.

  • Negotiation of the appropriate amount of compensation for the damages incurred by the party who is not at fault.

  • Settlement of your claim or pursuit of litigation.

Liability and Damages


Each state has laws that determine the negligence standard for civil disputes. In Pennsylvania, if you are less than 51% at fault for an accident, you are entitled to recover your proportional amount of damages. For example, if you were 50% at fault for an accident, you can recover 50% of your total damages for both your motor vehicle damage and injuries.

Although liability may be clear to you, insurance adjusters gather information from both drivers and review photos and/or a police report when determining who is at fault. They were not there when the accident happened and may not be able to see the whole picture. They may also attempt to place partial blame on you for the loss. Our attorneys are able to assist with these liability disputes in order to make sure you are treated fairly and the responsible party is held accountable. Reach out to us today in Altoona for a free case consultation.


Damages from an auto accident include all of the damage to your vehicle as well as any injuries you and your passengers sustained. Damages may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Vehicle damage

  • Diminution of the value of your vehicle

  • Medical bills

  • Debilitating injuries

  • Lost wages

Proving your damages can be time-consuming and difficult. The insurance carrier may not offer to pay the full amount of your medical bills or the actual cost to repair the vehicle. They also may not be willing to fully compensate you for your pain and ongoing medical needs. Having legal counsel early in the process will provide necessary guidance when you have questions about the documentation needed to prove your damages.

Road collisions are often dangerous and traumatic. Let our attorneys help you with the healing process.

Settlement or Litigation

Determining Fault

If you are found to be less than 51% at fault for a loss, you are entitled to compensation for your suffered loss. The insurance carrier will place a value on your vehicle damage as well as your injuries and will then attempt to negotiate a settlement. Although your damages may seem clear, disputes most often occur at this negotiation stage of the claim process. The amount an insurance company is willing to pay you and what your actual damages are may be vastly different.

When is Litigation Necessary?

Although many claims are resolved through settlements, there are times when litigation is necessary. An insurance carrier may believe you have the majority of fault in the accident or may not be willing to compensate you fully for the damages you are owed. Our attorneys have experience negotiating with insurance carriers and will strive to get you the settlement you deserve. We can also advise you of the right time to pursue litigation and proactively handle your lawsuit.

Statute of Limitations

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is 2 years. This means that you have 2 years to resolve your claim or file litigation. Otherwise, you will no longer be able to continue with your claim and will lose the right to pursue damages. 2 years may seem like a long time, but it goes by fast. You don’t want to be left without a means of recovery, so be sure to seek legal counsel if you are concerned that your claim may surpass this limitation period.

How Our Attorneys Can Help You

  • Communication: We know the process and how to communicate with insurance carriers. Insurance adjusters can be hard to reach and may not explain what all you need to do to support your claim. We handle all communications with the insurance company to help you avoid any pitfalls in the claims process.

  • Evaluation: Our attorneys review the police report, interview any witnesses, and help you memorialize the facts of the loss. We also assist in gathering your medical records and bills and analyzing them thoroughly.

  • Negotiations: Insurance adjusters don’t know your unique circumstances and may not offer what is needed to make you whole. We are experienced negotiators who strive to get you what you deserve so that you can truly heal after this devastating time.

  • Litigation: Should the insurance company not properly evaluate fault for the loss or your damages, we will file suit to protect your interests.

Let Us Be Your Advocate Today

While you are dealing with doctor’s visits, medical bills, and ongoing pain, you don’t want to deal with an insurance carrier that may not have your best interest in mind. Our firm will work for you, handling your case so that you can get back to healing.

Contact us today in Altoona, Pennsylvania, to set up your free consultation with our motor vehicle accidents attorneys. We also proudly advocate for those who have been injured in the surrounding areas including Huntingdon, Cresson, and Tyrone, Pennsylvania.