How Does Comparative Negligence Work in Pennsylvania Car Accidents?

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    When you file a car accident lawsuit, you do so with the intention of proving that the defendant is liable for your injuries. But what if your involvement comes into question? What happens if you’re blamed for part of the accident?

    Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws allow juries to reduce compensation paid to car accident victims in proportion to a victim’s negligence. For example, if a jury finds a plaintiff to be 30% at fault for an accident, the plaintiff will only recover 70% of their award. To work around comparative negligence laws, our lawyers will submit evidence that corroborates your telling of events and confirms that the defendant was the only party who acted negligently. What you say immediately after an accident could come back to bite you if you sue the at-fault driver in the future, so do not apologize for the crash and make it clear to all responding police officers that you are the victim in the situation.

    The Reiff Law Firm can review your case for free when you call our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at (215) 709-6940.

    Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Laws for Car Accidents

    When liability for a victim’s damages is on the line, the jury will consider the negligence of all involved parties, including the victim. Most states have some form of comparative negligence laws, and Pennsylvania is no exception. Because of these rules, some victims might recover fewer damages than they originally anticipated.

    Pennsylvania lays out its rules regarding comparative negligence in 42 Pa.C.S. § 7102. As it stands, car crash victims can bring claims against defendants so long as their negligence does not outweigh that of a defendant’s. If there is no evidence to suggest that you also acted negligently at the time of the accident, comparative negligence laws won’t impact your recovery.

    However, if the defendant in your case successfully argues that you contributed to the accident’s cause, you could walk away with less compensation than you might deserve. In Pennsylvania, a plaintiff’s percentage of liability will lower their recovery. For example, if the jury found you to be 10% at fault for the accident and the defendant to be 90% at fault, you would only recover 90% of your total award. Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws can be especially detrimental for victims at risk of being blamed for having an even larger role in an accident.

    Examples of Comparative Negligence in Pennsylvania Car Accident Cases

    Even the slightest mistake or slip-up could be construed as negligence, impacting a victim’s recovery following an auto accident. We can review the accident itself and the relevant evidence to determine if you could be held partially liable for your injuries.

    For comparative negligence laws to impact your case, you must have acted negligently, contributing to an accident. This might manifest in various ways. For example, driving over the speed limit might contribute to an accident, even if another driver negligently merged into a victim’s lane, hitting them.

    Certain actions, though irresponsible, do not constitute contributory negligence. For example, even if you were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, and your injuries were ultimately worse because of that, your damages won’t be reduced. That’s because your failure to wear a seat belt, though unsafe, did not cause the accident in question. If you are unsure whether or not comparative negligence laws could hurt your recovery in Pennsylvania, our attorneys can review the specifics of your case in detail to clarify the matter.

    Comparative Negligence and Pennsylvania’s No-Fault Car Accident Laws

    There are other laws pertaining to auto accidents that might impact victims in Pennsylvania. For example, since Pennsylvania is also a choice no-fault state for car crashes, victims may have to show that they meet the state’s serious injury threshold to sue a negligent driver for certain damages.

    Because of Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws, if you’re more at fault for an accident than another driver, you can’t sue. You will also need to examine the type of insurance you have to determine if you can file a lawsuit. If you have full tort coverage, you can claim both economic and non-economic damages, no matter how serious your injuries are. If you have limited coverage, you can only bring a claim for non-economic damages if you sustained any of the injuries defined in 75 Pa.C.S. § 1702.

    Our Abington, PA car accident lawyers will confirm if you meet the serious injury threshold before filing your lawsuit. We will also assess the available evidence to determine the likelihood that the defendant will question your involvement in the accident at any point throughout your case. Comparative negligence laws and the severity of your injuries could dictate whether you can sue for certain damages and the value of your final award. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the basics of these laws before attempting to file a car accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

    How Can You Work Around Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Rules for Car Accidents?

    In order to work around Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws, you have to show that they do not apply to your case. We can do this by submitting clear and compelling evidence proving that the defendant alone is liable for your injuries.

    Working around comparative negligence laws requires evidence. Our attorneys can begin investigating your accident right away by reviewing the corresponding police report, interviewing eyewitnesses, obtaining and analyzing security camera footage, and gathering evidence of your injuries and damages. Throughout this process, we can identify the parties involved in the accident and determine its root cause.

    People are most vulnerable to falling victim to comparative negligence rules immediately after an accident. During this time, shocked and hurt victims might apologize for a crash just to be polite. Unfortunately, if you do this, the true at-fault driver might note it and inform the responding officers or their insurance company. This could hurt your case, so it’s important only to exchange the necessary information with a negligent driver and defer to our attorneys for all future communications.

    Call Our Lawyers About Your Car Crash Case in Pennsylvania

    By calling (215) 709-6940, you can set up a free case review from The Reiff Law Firm’s Bethlehem, PA car accident lawyers.

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