Determining Fault in a Car Accident
Goodrich & Geist, P.C.’s Experienced Personal Injury And Accident Attorneys Can Help You With Determining Fault In A Car Accident And Filing A Compensation Claim
Pennsylvania is a no-fault state and requires no-fault insurance coverage. This means that you must file a claim for accident-related damages with your insurer irrespective of who or how your accident was caused. However, determining fault in a car accident is still an important part of the claims process because you may have suffered injuries or losses that exceed the coverage of your policy, and you may be entitled to compensation for certain losses and damages via a lawsuit. This usually only applies if you or a loved one suffered permanent, catastrophic, or life-changing injuries in the accident, such as disfigurement, paralysis, an amputation, or death.
Goodrich & Geist, P.C. and our team of experienced and empathetic personal injury attorneys can help you with your claim. Motor vehicle accidents cause hundreds of billions of dollars of damage every year, and it is unfair for you to have to suffer because of the actions of another party. In addition to recovering compensation that you are entitled to under your PIP and basic insurance policies, we will help you with determining fault in a car accident and will help you file your claim or sue for damages, as applicable. Contact us here to get started.
Using A Police Report When Determining Fault In A Car Accident
In many cases, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without first calling the police, so you should always contact the police after an accident and wait at a safe place for them to arrive. Once they arrive on the scene, they will write up a report containing their observations on what happened and how the accident occurred. This report is an important part of insurance, compensation, and litigation claims that you may be involved in after the accident. It will contain details on who was at fault for the accident, as well as the extent of the damage caused by the accident.
The police report will also include details on:
- When, where, and how the accident occurred
- The names and contact information of others who were involved in the accident
- Relevant details on the weather, road conditions, and lighting – any factors that may have had a role to play in causing or contributing to the accident
- Picture or diagrams of the accident and how it may have played out
- Pictures and video footage of the accident can be uploaded to a central repository as part of the report
- Eyewitness and bystander statements
- If any laws were broken by anyone involved in the accident, the police report will make a note of those citations
- The official opinion of the responding officer regarding who was at fault for the accident
When Determining Fault In A Car Accident, Many Parties Must Be Considered
Many different parties can be at fault for an accident. Consider the following:
- Another vehicle user can be at fault for an accident if he or she was drunk driving, speeding, driving recklessly, ignored driving rules and road signs, was texting and driving, or was driving while drowsy or distracted.
- Other drivers can be at fault for an accident for driving without the experience or training needed to operate their vehicle.
- A vehicle operator such as a commercial trucking company or the vehicle owner can be liable for damages after an accident.
- Road and vehicle service companies, teams, and individual technicians can be at fault for accidents caused by poor vehicle or road repair and/or maintenance.
- A government office such as the Department of Transportation or the Department of Civil Works can be at fault for accidents caused by the poor maintenance and upkeep of roadways that fall under their jurisdiction.
- Private companies such as Uber and Lyft can be at fault for ridesharing accidents. The rideshare driver can also be at fault, depending on when and how your accident occurred.
- Property owners can be at fault for an accident if, for example, private but dangerous installations of roadside fixtures such as mailboxes or landscaping cause or contribute to an accident.
- A vehicle manufacturer can be at fault for an accident if product defects or breakdowns lead to an accident.
Determining fault in an accident for each of the situations above can be tricky, but an attorney with Goodrich & Geist, P.C. can investigate the case for you to help you recover the compensation you are legally entitled to.
Contact Goodrich & Geist, P.C. Today For a Free Consultation
Contact our legal team here for assistance with your case. We provide free consultations and legal services on a contingency fee basis, so do not hesitate to reach out to our auto accident lawyers today. We will walk you through everything you need to know about your accident so that you can comfortably wrap up the case and get your life back on track as quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Cases In Pennsylvania
Mandatory coverages you should have are basic coverage, medical benefits coverage, bodily injury liability coverage, and property damage liability coverage. These policies provide between $5,000 and $30,000 in coverage, depending on the nature of your accident and the kinds of losses sustained therein. You can also opt to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, funeral benefits coverage, income loss coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. Each policy will have specific limits and requirements, and your attorney can help you understand which policy will apply and when they will kick in for losses and damages of different types.
This is why Pennsylvania has no-fault insurance rules. Even if you are at fault for an accident, you can use your PIP cover to pay for important losses and damages after an accident, such as medical treatment expenses and lost income, up to certain limits.