In Pennsylvania, the answer to this question is, “It depends.” Personal injury laws require that you prove the other person is responsible for the accident that caused your injury and you suffered damages because of that accident to receive compensation for your damages.
The goal in a car accident claim is to prove the other driver is 100 percent at fault for the crash. You can only recover full compensation for your damages if you prove the other driver is 100 percent at fault under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence standard. If the insurance company for the other driver can prove you contributed to the collision in any way, your compensation may be reduced or completely eliminated.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is a legal theory used to assign fault between parties. In most car accidents, it is clear which driver caused the crash. However, some crashes are more complex and require a thorough accident investigation to determine fault. It is important to determine fault because your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. For example, if a jury assigns 20 percent fault for a collision to you and your damages are $100,000, you only receive $80,000.
Pennsylvania Is A Modified Comparative Negligence State
Modified comparative negligence is a stricter standard of comparison than pure comparative negligence. In a pure comparative negligence state, you can be 99 percent at fault and still recover one percent of your damages from the other driver. While it does not make sense to spend the time and money to recover one percent, it may apply in a case that is 60/40 and damages are substantial.
However, in a modified comparative negligence state, the other driver must be at least 51 percent at fault for the collision for you to recover compensation. If you are 51 percent at fault for the crash, you cannot recover any compensation from the other driver. Therefore, in a complicated car accident, proving fault becomes a critical step in the process of recovering compensation for damages. You want an attorney with experience and resources to represent you, especially in a contested fault case.
Insurance companies like to argue comparative negligence because, if successful, they can lower the amount of money they must pay to settle the accident claim. Be careful what you say to an insurance adjuster. Something you say could be used against you later. It is best to consult with an attorney before you provide any statements regarding the accident.
Call An Erie Car Accident Attorney For More Information
If you are injured in a car accident, it is in your best interest to contact an Erie car accident attorney, even if you believe you are partially at fault for the crash. You may be entitled to recover some compensation for your injuries. In some cases, you may not be as responsible as you believe for the car accident. An experienced Erie car accident attorney can sort out the facts and give you a straight answer regarding your car accident claim.
Contact The Travis Law Firm by calling (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free consultation with an Erie car accident attorney. Our law firm has the skills, resources, and experience you want on your side as you fight for your right to recover full compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages.