How Understanding Accident Fault Determination Rules Could Earn You Thousands in Philadelphia
If you have been injured in a Pennsylvania car accident, hire a champion to help you fight for all the money you deserve. Insurance companies have teams of attorneys working against you. They seek to avoid paying you for your injuries. Don’t let their unfair behavior get in the way of your compensation.
To get paid, you must prove that you do not bear the majority of fault according to Pennsylvania’s accident fault determination rules.
How Is Fault Determined After a Car Accident?
Most states, including Pennsylvania, determine fault based on who is negligent. Negligence occurs when someone fails to act as a reasonable person would act under similar circumstances.
If a driver is found negligent, that driver will be at least partially responsible for the accident.
Determining who is at fault is simple in some cases. Take, for example, a situation where one driver runs a red light. Determining who is at fault can be relatively easy.
In many cases, however, it may not be so easy. Both drivers could bear some of the fault for the accident. Drivers may disagree as to who is at fault.
Pennsylvania’s Modified Comparative Negligence Rule
In Pennsylvania, liability and any damages from that liability are awarded using a modified comparative negligence rule.
Under this rule, you must be no more than 50% responsible for the accident to receive compensation. If a court decided you were even 51% responsible, you could not succeed in a claim against the other driver.
If the court finds that the other driver was responsible for most of the fault, but you were partially responsible, it will reduce any damages you may recover.
For example, if the court awards $100,000 in damages, but it also decides that you were 30% responsible for the accident, you would receive $70,000.
What Evidence Will Help Prove Your Case?
Insurance companies and the courts use evidence to determine who is at fault. This evidence can include testimony from the following:
- Both drivers,
- Accident witnesses,
- The investigating police officer,
- Accident reconstructionists, and
- Medical experts.
This testimony and documentation, such as photographs, medical bills, and diagrams, can help prove your version of events.
How Can an Attorney Help Build Your Case?
Hiring an auto accident lawyer is critical if you dispute fault in an accident. A lawyer can help you:
- Gather the evidence necessary to prove you were not at fault;
- Gather evidence to show that the other driver bears substantial responsibility for the accident;
- Collect evidence to help you calculate your damages;
- Negotiate your auto accident settlement; and
- Represent you in court, if necessary.
Your attorney will pursue the investigation and gather the evidence necessary to prove your case.
How Does Auto Insurance Work in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania’s “choice-no-fault” system allows drivers to choose between limited tort (no-fault) and full tort (at-fault) coverage. Pennsylvania drivers may select either type of policy.
Limited Tort Coverage
No-fault insurance is also known as limited tort coverage. Limited tort coverage is generally less expensive, but there are limitations.
No-fault insurance coverage includes personal injury protection (PIP) and liability property damage. PIP provides payment for personal injuries, regardless of which driver was at fault.
PIP coverage, however, rarely provides enough coverage for serious accidents.
Drivers with limited tort coverage are typically unable to file lawsuits and cannot recover pain and suffering damages. However, there is an exception if you suffer a serious injury, such as permanent disfigurement or impairment.
Full Tort Insurance
Liability coverage, or full tort insurance, is also a choice for Pennsylvania drivers. With this coverage, drivers can recover for all losses caused by an at-fault driver, including pain and suffering.
Full tort coverage allows accident victims to file claims against the drivers responsible for their injuries, regardless of the severity of the crash.
Claims under full tort insurance can have significantly higher settlement values because of their ability to recover noneconomic damages. This type of insurance is, however, more expensive.
If an accident occurs and a driver has full tort coverage, the driver can pursue noneconomic damages that include the following:
- Physical pain and suffering;
- Discomfort, inconvenience, and distress;
- Mental anguish;
- Embarrassment and humiliation;
- Loss of the enjoyment of life; and
Drivers who select limited tort coverage may not be able to receive these damages.
Whether you have limited tort coverage or full tort coverage, you should seek legal guidance if you have been injured in an auto accident. An attorney can help explain how the type of insurance can impact your ability to recover damages after an accident.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
The statute of limitations for a personal injury action in Pennsylvania is two years. In most cases, you have two years after an accident to file a lawsuit. If you don’t meet this deadline, you can lose the ability to bring the case. You should contact an attorney to explore your legal options as soon as possible.
Speak with a Philadelphia Auto Accident Attorney
If you suffered injuries in an auto accident, we understand that you need compensation fast. But it’s critical that you hire a lawyer to handle your claim. If you proceed without an attorney, the insurance company will likely present you with a lowball offer—or deny your claim altogether.
With over 75 years of service, Rosen Justice Injury Lawyers is here to help you resolve your case. We always seek the maximum compensation possible.
Our legal team will provide an honest assessment of your legal options. We will fight for you even if you’re the underdog. We will go after the money you deserve without wasting time.
We know your financial struggles, so we don’t require you to pay any legal fees or out-of-pocket expenses unless we win your case.Call or contact us now to get started on your auto accident claim.