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October 23, 2015

Laws Involved in Car Accident Claims

PA Car Accident Law

A car accident claim can involve complicated laws and procedures set out by the legislature and courts in Pennsylvania. To ensure your claim is successful, it is critical to have an attorney on your side who thoroughly understands every relevant law and how to best apply these laws to your case. The following are only a few examples of important Pennsylvania statutes that may be at issue in your car accident case.

No-fault insurance

In many states, if someone else causes your car accident, you will file a claim with that person’s auto insurance. However, under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), [1] every driver is required to carry their own insurance policy that will cover their own medical expenses and lost income following an accident, even if the accident was caused by another person or party. This means that initial negotiations will go through your own provider.

However, in many cases involving serious injuries, your losses may exceed the amount of your no-fault policy. In such situations, you will have to make a claim against the other party’s liability insurance. You may also have the right to file a lawsuit against the negligent party for damages such as pain and suffering depending on the type of coverage you have. For example, if you have “full tort” coverage, you have the right to recover for pain and suffering. If you only elected to have a “limited tort” policy, your right to sue is limited to cases in which you can prove you sustained serious impairment or disfigurement from your injury. You rights and options for recovering will depend on many factors involving Pennsylvania law and an auto accident attorney can advise of your best course of action depending on your situations.

Comparative negligence

In many situations, the other party’s insurance company or attorney will try to limit their liability by claiming that you were also at fault for the car accident. However, even if you did somehow contribute to the cause of the accident, you may still be able to receive substantial compensation toward your losses under the Pennsylvania comparative negligence statute. [2] The law states that as long as you are less responsible for the accident than the other party, you still maintain the right to recover, though your amount of recovery may be reduced.

For example, imagine the following scenario:

·         A driver runs a red light and you crash into them, suffering $100,000 in losses.

·         There is evidence that you were sending a text message at the time and did not see the driver in the intersection.

·         The court finds that the other driver was 80 percent responsible but that you were also 20 percent responsible due to distracted driving.

·         You would only be able to receive 80 percent of your losses (the amount of the other driver’s responsibility), so you receive $80,000.

Even if you believe you were partially at fault, you should always discuss your case with an attorney because it is likely you can still receive a significant amount toward your losses under the law.

Statute of limitations

Another law that is extremely important in auto accident cases is the Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations. The law gives an accident victim two years from the date of the accident and injuries to file a legal claim. If you fail to file within that two-year time period, your case will likely be dismissed and you will lose your right to seek compensation for your losses. Many individuals make the mistake of waiting too long to consult with a lawyer following their collision because they believe that two years is a long time. However, car accident cases take time to investigate and prepare, so you should always consult with an experienced auto accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident.

Consult with a qualified Philadelphia car accident attorney today

If you have sustained serious injuries, you want an attorney handling your case who fully understands all of the applicable laws in Pennsylvania and how they relate to the different issues in your case. At The Levin Firm, we have successfully helped numerous injured car accident victims receive the full amount of compensation to which they were entitled under Pennsylvania laws. Whether your case involves an insurance settlement or a legal claim in civil court, we understand how to maximize your recovery. Please call a Philadelphia auto accident lawyer at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation as soon as possible.

[1] http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=75&div=0&chpt=17

[2] http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.071.002.000..HTM

[3] http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/42/00.055.024.000..HTM

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