Photo of Edward P. Shaughnessy
Photo of Edward P. Shaughnessy

How is fault determined following a Pennsylvania car accident? 

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2023 | Car Accidents |

No one sees a car wreck coming. Unfortunately, thousands of accidents happen on U.S. roads every day. If you are involved in a car accident, one of the most immediate concerns you will have is who to hold accountable. 

If you are involved in a car accident that is not your fault, you may be eligible for financial restitution for the resulting damages – but how is fault determined during a Pennsylvanian car accident case?

Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state

When a car accident happens in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a specific statute is used to determine the circumstances that led to the accident and who acted negligently. This statute is known as modified comparative negligence

Under modified comparative negligence laws, you can only claim damages if your contribution to the accident was less than 50%. However, your damages will be reduced in proportion to your contribution to the accident. 

For instance, if the investigators establish that the other driver was 70 percent at fault, meaning that you were 30 percent at fault, then you will be entitled to compensation because you were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. However, you will only be entitled to 70 percent of the resulting damages. In other words, if the court awards $100,000, then you will only be entitled to $70,000. 

It usually comes as a surprise to most accident victims that negligence is assigned by the insurance adjusters rather than the courts or law enforcement. A police report may be helpful when understanding how the accident happened, but that doesn’t mean the insurance company will agree. As such, you may find claiming compensation difficult. 

Being involved in a car accident can be traumatizing, to say the least. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while pursuing damages.