Automobile and Car Accidents
A traffic collision can be a life altering event. When a vehicle collides with another vehicle, a pedestrian, an animal, road debris, or a stationary object, the resulting damage can cause serious injuries. Blunt force trauma caused by a traffic accident can lead to broken bones, permanent scarring, paralysis, and even death.
Even after receiving medical treatment, individuals involved in car accidents may suffer psychological trauma, such as a fear of driving or riding in a motor vehicle again, which can negatively impact their ability to work and resume their life as it was before the event.
Yet, transportation by a motor vehicle is a necessary and common part of life for most people. Consequently, it is also one of the most dangerous activities undertaken on a regular basis.
Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Accident Laws
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is among just a few states that allows licensed drivers to choose either no-fault or traditional motor vehicle insurance.
The driver that is found to be responsible for the event must pay for the damages they caused via their insurance company.
Regardless of who is at fault in the accident, an injured person’s own insurance company pays for medical and other expenses (such as loss of income while they recover). Injured passengers are covered by the driver’s insurance.
This type of insurance lessens a driver’s liability should they cause an accident but limits their ability to sue in cases when they were not at fault.
Pennsylvania also imposes a statute of limitations on all personal injury and property damage claims — which include those involving a car or other motorized vehicle. In the vast majority of cases, plaintiffs must file their claim within two years of the event.
A negligence standard is used to determine who is at fault and to what extent. Negligence is a legal term for failing to use reasonable care given the circumstances. Every state establishes rules of the road (e.g. speed limits, bans on texting while driving, and bans on driving while intoxicated), and failure to abide by those rules creates a presumption of negligence.
Additionally, Pennsylvania will only allow a liability claim to be filed against a driver if their actions caused “serious injuries.” That term is somewhat vague and often a point of contention in legal negotiations, but a good sign that an injury was serious is that it required significant medical care (and medical costs) to treat, or that it caused permanent, disabling, or disfiguring harm.
If an individual dies in an automobile accident, their family may file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf and damages can be awarded to compensate them for their loss.
The Pennsylvania legal system understands that in some vehicular accidents, no party is completely at fault. In multi-car pileups, it can be very challenging to figure out exactly which cars behaved in a negligent or reckless manner.
That is why Pennsylvania uses a standard called modified comparative negligence, which means that once a determination has been made as to who was at fault and to what degree, the damages are adjusted accordingly. So, if a driver was involved in an accident and found to be 20% at fault but won a judgment of $100,000, their total payment would be reduced by 20% to $80,000. Judgements can award compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
- The cost of medical care to treat the injury caused by the accident
- Lost wages while the injured party cannot work
- The cost of repairing or replacing the injured party’s vehicle
- Compensation for pain and suffering incurred during the accident and its aftermath
- Loss of affection and companionship due to injuries, both physical and psychological
- Compensation for the emotional distress caused by the accident and the medical treatment it required
In Pennsylvania there are no caps on monetary damages between citizens filing liability claims. The only limitation on the amount of money a person injured in a motor vehicle can receive applies to accidents caused by local municipalities, which are capped at $500,000, or the commonwealth itself, which is capped at $250,000.
Get the Help You Need to Navigate Your Vehicle Accident Claim
The unique laws of Pennsylvania can make an already daunting and complex task that much more difficult.
Whether you were involved in what seemed to be just a minor fender-bender or a multi-car accident, the sooner you speak to an experienced auto accident attorney, the sooner you can begin the process of determining if you are entitled to compensation and payments for the care you need to recover from your accident.
Pond Lehocky Giordano helps you every step of the way. We can help you recover financial compensation for your injuries and the property damage you incurred, collect evidence that proves your case (including medical records from your healthcare providers), negotiate with insurance adjusters and defense attorneys, and communicate with police officers and witnesses.
We offer a completely free consultation to discuss your case and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and assets.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact Pond Lehocky Giordano for a free consultation to determine if you qualify for compensation. Call 1-800-568-7500 or fill out the contact form.
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