If you are in an auto accident, then you need to understand how the no-fault auto accident law works in Pennsylvania. This law could prevent you from suing the other driver even if you were not at fault. Learn more about the law, as well as the exception for filing suit. There is no reason to let this law catch you off guard and prevent you from receiving compensation after an accident.
How the No-Fault Auto Accident Law Works
Pennsylvania is considered a hybrid state. Residents can choose at-fault or no-fault insurance policies. Those with no-fault insurance receive compensation from damages through their insurance companies. Victims of auto accidents do not have to prove fault to recover these damages.
Personal Injury Protection
People who choose no-fault insurance have personal injury protection as part of the policy. Personal injury protection reimburses people for financial losses after an accident. This reimbursement includes medical bills. The insurance pays the damages even if the insurance holder is at fault.
While no-fault insurance pays for financial losses, it does not cover property damage. This law does not consider property damage a no-fault claim. The person who caused the accident must pay for the property damage. For instance, if someone runs a red light and hits a car, the at-fault driver must pay to repair the vehicle. The person’s insurance company will cover the damages.
Sometimes, the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to pay for the full damages. The victim’s underinsured motorist coverage will make up the difference. However, if the person does not have enough uninsured motorist coverage to pay the remaining repairs, the victim can try to recover the rest of the balance from the at-fault driver. Otherwise, the victim will have to pay for the repairs.
Serious Injuries with No-Fault Insurance
No-fault insurance holders normally cannot recover damages for pain and suffering due to a car accident. However, auto accident law does allow those who suffer serious injuries to sue for pain and suffering. Basic soft tissue injuries do not qualify as severe in the state of Pennsylvania. Also, head injuries are not always considered serious. The injury must be significant and critical for the person to recover non-economic damages.
Reason for No-Fault Insurance
No-fault insurance is used to avoid costly and lengthy litigation after car accidents. People with at-fault insurance often have to take people to court to recover damages after minor accidents. This process is burdensome enough that people prefer no-fault insurance. Also, it is easier to recover financial damages since fault does not have to be proven.
Recovering Damages After an Accident
The no-fault accident law means you do not have to prove fault to recover economic damages after an injury. However, the at-fault driver will have to pay for property damage. You also might be able to recover pain and suffering damages if you have a serious injury. If you are unsure of your next step after a car accident, speak to an attorney.
Call us for more information from Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law or to schedule a consultation in our office in Pittsburgh.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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