Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?
Even though Pennsylvania is a “no fault” car insurance state, there is still value in determining who is at fault in a car accident. If a person’s car accident injuries exceed certain thresholds, that person can opt out of the state’s no-fault system and file a lawsuit directly against an at-fault driver and that driver’s insurance company.
At Chaffin Luhana, our lawyers have extensive experience in determining fault in car accidents. We work with a large network of investigators, including professional crash reconstructionists, to show what really happened and who is responsible. We put all of our resources into play to build the strongest case for our clients and fight to make sure they receive the maximum damages available to them under the law.
Determining Fault in Car Accidents
Although the circumstances of each auto accident are unique, here are a few general rules that apply when establishing fault for a crash:
- The person who is at fault in a rear-ending car accident is most often the driver that rear-ends a second vehicle. When multiple vehicles are involved, each driver that rear-ends another vehicle will bear some portion of the fault.
- A driver who makes a left turn into oncoming traffic is most often at fault for the accident. Likewise, drivers that do not signal before changing lanes or making turns are more likely to be at fault.
- Drivers who are determined to have been speeding or violating other traffic laws will more frequently be deemed to be at fault.
Determining Fault Apart from Default Rules
Further evidence that can be used to determine fault in a car accident includes:
- Police statements filed by drivers involved in the accident and any final police report
- Statements from witnesses who observed the crash
- Photographs of the accident scene, including pictures of tire skid marks and debris
- Video from CCTV and surveillance systems that were in operation near the accident scene
- Records of traffic and weather conditions around the time of the accident
If you are physically able to do so, gather as much of the above information as possible immediately after the accident. If your injuries prevent you from doing this, you or an acquaintance should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will then work to preserve evidence of the accident scene to begin the process of assessing which party was at fault.
Why Determining Who Is at Fault Matters
In addition to being a no-fault insurance state, Pennsylvania also applies a modified comparative negligence standard to injury cases. Under this standard, the damages that you can recover will be reduced by your own contributory fault for causing the accident.
Moreover, if you are deemed to have been more than 50% responsible for the accident, you will have no right to collect damages from the other at-fault party.
Consider Other Parties That May Be at Fault
When you suffer injuries in a car accident, suing the at-fault driver is the most common path to recovering damages for your injuries. An experienced car accident lawyer will know to look for other parties whose fault might have contributed to the accident:
- The manufacturer of faulty components or systems in the car
- Local municipalities that ignored known unsafe roadway conditions, including deep potholes and blocked sightlines
- Third parties that toss objects into roadways
- Speeding or reckless drivers that cause a motorist to veer into another car
Contact Chaffin Luhana to Collect Maximum Damages
Our highly-skilled car accident lawyers are dedicated to helping our injured clients recover significant damages from at-fault drivers and insurance companies.
Please call today to schedule a free consultation and see how much your case might be worth!
- esurance.com: The Blame Game: How Fault Is Determined After A Car Accident. https://www.esurance.com/info/car/how-fault-is-determined-after-a-car-accident
- automobile.com: How Is Fault Determined After An Accident? http://www.automobile.com/how-is-fault-determined.html