Driving is risky business with the constant possibility that you will be involved in a car accident. It is not easy to determine who is at fault and who has the responsibility to pay for damages and injuries. The at-fault driver’s insurance company usually pays compensation so state insurance laws dictate how losses will be recovered in the event of a car accident.
Fault-Based Accident States
Most states have fault-based automobile insurance laws in place. If you have been determined to be legally at fault for an automobile accident, then your insurance company will help pay for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, any other losses under your insurance policy’s liability coverage. However, this can greatly vary per person and insurance company. Being found at fault can increase the cost of insurance rates.
No-Fault Accident States
There are some states that have no-fault insurance laws. In those states, drivers are required by law to carry personal injury protection (PIP). Regardless of who is at fault, your insurance will cover your medical expenses. The driver at fault is still liable to pay for property damage repairs. Pennsylvania, along with fifteen other states, is a no-fault accident state. In seven others, no-fault insurance is optional.
No-fault insurance states base the settlement of automobile accidents upon how they define negligence. In general, a driver is negligent when they fail to observe their duty to drive safely or disobey a traffic law. Compensation is determined by the amount the driver is at fault, which varies from state to state.
What is Negligence?
Pure Contributory negligence
A handful of no-fault accident states allow pure contributory negligence and will only grant you compensation if you are 100 percent blameless in the accident. If you are deemed to have contributed to the auto accident in any way, you will not be entitled to any compensation for injuries or damages.
Some states determine compensation based on the degree to which you are at fault in the accident compared to the other driver. For example, you and another driver get into an accident in an intersection. The police determine that you are 70 percent at fault for failure to yield, but the other driver was 30 percent at fault for speeding. You can recover 30 percent, and the other driver can recover 70 percent of the cost of losses incurred.
Most no-fault accident states use a modified form of comparative negligence to determine the amount of your compensation in an auto accident. Generally, you can be compensated for your losses if you are less than 50 percent at fault for the auto accident.
For example, if you are found to be 30 percent at fault in a car accident, you can collect 70 percent of the cost of losses incurred.
If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are steps you should take to protect yourself from financial liability or a lawsuit.
Consult a good personal injury attorney well versed in the nuances of the law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They can help you sort through the evidence and facts of your case, negotiate with your insurance company and provide legal representation for you in court if need be.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with us, fill out the contact form here. Our office is located in Pittsburgh. Call Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law today.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.