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How to determine liability in a Pennsylvania car accident

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Pennsylvania drivers are no strangers to car accidents. In 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) estimated that nearly 1 in every 44 residents of the Keystone State experienced a reportable car accident. Those not involved themselves likely know someone who has gone through a traffic collision and the reporting process.

Pennsylvania is a “choice no fault” state, meaning that determining liability in an accident is not always necessary. However, there are several situations unique to Pennsylvania that drivers may benefit from understanding.

What is “no fault” insurance?

Pennsylvania is a “choice no fault” state, meaning drivers have options when purchasing car insurance. A driver may buy traditional liability insurance, allowing them to sue drivers at fault for an accident for economic and non-economic damages. Drivers also have the option of purchasing no fault insurance, which not only prohibits them from suing an at fault driver but makes them immune from a lawsuit themselves.

When a driver with no fault insurance gets into an accident, they file a claim with their own insurance company to reimburse them for economic damages. Regardless of fault, these drivers will not face a lawsuit unless the crash involves “serious injury,” like death, disfigurement or permanent impairment.

In situations when a driver can seek legal recourse, Pennsylvania uses the modified comparative negligence standard. Even if a driver is partially at fault for an accident, they may still receive damages. With comparative negligence, a court will determine partial fault based on a percentage and assign rewards proportionately. For instance, if a driver is 20% responsible for an accident, they may only receive 80% of rewarded damages.

Review a claim with a local attorney

Those involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania may have questions about liability, insurance and potential claims. A lawyer experienced with motor vehicle accidents can help navigate the often complicated legal landscape of Pennsylvania liability.

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