While the causes of car accidents may vary, the basis of nearly all accident cases is the same: Negligence. After a car accident, you may be wondering who is liable for your injuries and damages. Even if there is a person who is at-fault for the incident, his or her level of liability can be reduced, or even eliminated, based on the circumstances of the case.
Like most states, Pennsylvania practices the comparative negligence law – which allows individuals who have been injured to recover compensation for their damages, even if they were partially at-fault for the incident. If you have been injured in an accident – whether in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, etc., and you may be at-fault, contact a personal injury attorney right away to explore your options.
The Concept of Negligence
Negligence is a type of wrongdoing that results in a person being injured. The injured party, under tort law, has the right to file a civil claim and seek compensation from the at-fault party. Things like injuries, and their associated damages, can be compensated. All personal injury lawsuits, regardless of the type of accident, are based on the concept of negligence.
Negligence is essentially a breach of the duty of care. Duty of care refers to the responsibility that everyone in society has to not cause harm to another person(s). Drivers, for example, have a duty to obey the rules of the road in order to avoid accidents with other drivers. They must conduct their driving in a safe manner, and take caution to not injure someone. This also holds true for physicians, who are required to treat their patients with a duty of care.
Negligence occurs when that person has breached his or her duty of care – such as driving while under the influence, and endangering others on the road.
Determining Fault in an Accident
The courts (or insurers) will examine the evidence presented, and determine which party or parties contributed to the accident. Fault is typically assigned to the party that has acted negligently or recklessly. There are a few factors that will be used to determine fault in a car accident. Some evidence that may be required to establish fault include:
- Police accident reports
- Witness statements and testimonies
- Photographs of the scene
- Cell phone records
- Surveillance camera footage
How Comparative Negligence Works
A victim could be partially at-fault for his or her injuries, and still recover compensation under the law. You can hold a specific level of fault in these types of incidents, which is the 51 percent comparative fault rule. This means that, if you carry 50 percent or more fault, you cannot seek compensation. If, however, you carry less than 50 percent fault for the accident and injuries, you can receive compensation. But, it is important to note that your compensation amount will be reduced by your at-fault percentage. So, if the courts decide that you were 30 percent at-fault, then your total settlement awarded would be reduced by 30 percent, to account for your own actions.
Speak with an Accident Attorney to Determine Negligence, and Your Percentage of Fault
After a car accident, you will be dealing with emotions, pain, and plenty of headaches. Instead of trying to decipher the comparative negligence laws or negotiate with insurers, contact The Slocum Firm, PC, today. We can assist you with your car accident claim, and will work to ensure that you receive compensation for your injuries. Get started with a no-obligation consultation by calling 888-367-4577, or filling out our online contact form with your questions.