If you have questions about what to do after an accident, what Pennsylvania laws relate to your car accident claim and settlement, this page will answer them. Pennsylvania has no-fault rules and statues of limitations to file a lawsuit when the claim is outside of the no-fault rules. For more details on how claims are valued and how car accident cases are settled, contact an attorney.
The ‘Choice No-Fault’ System in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania operates with a choice no-fault system where you can choose to carry no-fault or insurance or a traditional insurance policy. Which you choose is going to determine whether or not you can file a lawsuit when you’ve been in a car accident. The no-fault rule means that your own insurance company will cover your compensation needs for medical expenses and non-medical expenses and losses after a car accident, no matter who was at fault. There are some situations where you can still file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. For example, if your injuries are very serious (including broken bones, permanent injury, disfigurement, disability, etc.) then the claim may fall outside of the no-fault rule and you may be able to make a claim against the person responsible for these injuries. You can learn more about the car insurance laws in Pennsylvania by contacting an auto accident attorney.
Statutes of Limitations in Pennsylvania
Whenever a claim does fall outside of the no-fault rule in Pennsylvania, a claim can be filed against the at-fault driver within a certain timeframe, or statute of limitations. These statutes can vary according to the details and facts of the case. Generally, the applicable statutes of limitations in Pennsylvania car accidents are determined by 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5524(2) and § 5524(3). These state that you have two years after the accident to file a lawsuit for personal injury or property damage.
Pennsylvania’s Comparative Fault Rules
In many cases, both of the drivers share fault in an auto accident. The rules for handling shared or comparative fault vary from state to state. Pennsylvania is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that if another party is more at fault than you are, you can recover damages, but they will be reduced by the percentage of your liability. It can be difficult to apportion fault, and the final allocation will be determined by the judge or the jury in your case. The insurance adjuster who is valuing your claim will take this rule into account as well. Contacting an attorney is the best way to handle a claim where you hold some percentage of liability.
To see how this rule works, imagine that you’ve been in a car accident that caused $10,000 worth of medical bills, property damage, lost wages, etc. If the jury finds that the other driver is primarily at fault for driving irresponsibly and that you share some liability for speeding, then they may apportion 70% of the fault to the other driver and 30% to you. In this case, your recovery of $10,000 would be reduced by your liability of 30%, meaning that you would ultimately recover $7,000. However, if you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, you cannot recover any damages in Pennsylvania.
Requirements for Pennsylvania Car Insurance
Another important factor of any car accident in Pennsylvania will be the requirements for car insurance that apply within the state. The stat’s no-fault rules and minimum coverage amounts have to be taken into account with claim. To learn about the specific requirements for your situation and how they apply to your car accident claim, contact a Pennsylvania auto accident attorney.