How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?

At some point in your life, you may experience a motor vehicle accident and one of the first questions you will have after the initial shock is determining who was at fault for the accident. It can be difficult to determine who truly caused the incident and sometimes it is not always the first person that says “I’m sorry” at the scene. However, determining fault is important, especially when you are filing an insurance claim or you need to file a personal injury claim for your accident.

Most states are either “fault” states or “no fault” states. These policies are important because they will determine which driver is legally at fault and how the insurance claims will be paid. Fault states, for example, hold the driver that is at fault legally responsible for all costs arising from the accident. No fault states will require each party in the accident to collect on medical bills and lost wages from their own insurance companies regardless of who was actually at fault. In Pennsylvania, the accident rules are unique and therefore, determining fault becomes much more complex.

Pennsylvania is one of the very few states that uses the choice no fault rule. This means that you can opt in or out of the no fault status rules in your case. The catch, however, is that you have to do this when you purchase your automobile insurance. So, if you choose no fault on your insurance plan, your own insurer would pick up the tab for medical bills and lost wages – regardless if you were not at fault for the actual accident.

How No Fault Rules Work in Pennsylvania

The law requires that you are provided with two options when purchasing automobile insurance:

  1. Full Tort
  2. Limited Tort

If you choose full tort, then you are opting out of the no fault system. If you choose limited tort, then you are opting in, which means you cannot file a lawsuit for accident situations unless certain requirements are met. Instead, you are limited to making a claim with your own provider for your losses. This claim will cover things like medical costs and lost wages, but you cannot receive compensation for your pain and suffering from the accident itself.

Limited tort coverage does allow you to save some money on your automobile insurance premiums at the time you purchase the policy. Generally, you should not purchase limited tort insurance, because then you are limited as to how much compensation you can receive – even when the accident was 100 percent the fault of the other driver.

Receiving Help for Your Pennsylvania Insurance Claim

After an automobile accident, the type of insurance you have will determine how you can file a claim and receive compensation for injuries, property damage and lost wages. First, you will need to assess your current policy and see if you signed up for limited or full tort coverage. Then, contact a personal injury attorney in the area to discuss your options for compensation. If you have been injured in an accident, contact the attorneys at The Slocum Firm, P.C. today. We can help you explore your options based on the type of coverage you have. If you have full tort coverage, we can hold those responsible for your injuries and damages via a car accident claim. Schedule a no obligation consultation today to get started at 888-367-4577 or fill out an online contact form with your legal questions.