You are exercising sound judgment when you call the police after a car accident. Filing an official police report is one of the best ways to ensure your safety and legal interests. Police officers, however, do not determine who is at fault in a car accident. Insurance companies ultimately make the final determination in who is at fault.
It is important to note that Pennsylvania has a no-fault car insurance system. This means that drivers and passengers who get injured in an accident must first turn to their own personal-injury protection (PIP) through their own car insurance coverage to get compensation for medical bills, lost income, and any other out-of-pocket losses after a crash, no matter who may have been at fault.
The no-fault system limits an accident victim’s rights to sue for pain and suffering, except for in the case of the most serious injuries. For this reason, it is important to hire a Delaware County car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC to help recover compensation you may be due.
How At-Fault Insurance Practices Work
The first step in deciding who is at fault starts with a claims adjuster. A claims adjuster investigates insurance claims by interviewing the claimant and witnesses, consulting police and hospital records, and inspecting property damage to determine the extent of the damages.
This investigation is sometimes conducted with the assistance of a team of professionals.
It is important after a car accident to exercise caution and be aware of anything that might be construed as an admission of fault. Polite gestures like apologizing to the other individual or individuals involved in the car crash may be perceived as an act of admission, and could weigh heavily on the decision of the claims adjuster.
State Traffic Laws and Negligence Definitions
To aid in determining car accident culpability, claims adjusters, like car accident lawyers, review and interpret state laws, which can be found in state driver handbooks.
Additionally, they review negligence definitions. The three most common types of negligence explanations include:
- Comparative: Defines the percentage of fault for each party and allows each party to seek damages that correlate with the percentage of fault
- Modified Comparative: Allows each party to seek damages that correlate with the percentage of fault; however, damages are limited based on the percentage of fault for each party
- Contributory: One party is completely blameless, and the other party is barred from recovering damages
Liability for Damages
In states that do not have no-fault car insurance, the car insurance company of the at-fault party usually pays damages to the injured party. That is, unless there is no-fault car insurance or PIP insurance in that state, usually in addition to liability insurance. This allows the insurance company of each party to pay for their own damages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
However, if your injuries exceed your own PIP coverage, the insurance provider of the at-fault party might be required to cover additional costs through liability insurance.
There are, in addition to Pennsylvania, another 11 states with no-fault car insurance: Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, and Utah.
Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers of McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Recover Compensation for Car Accident Victims
If you have been injured in a car accident, proving fault is one of the most important steps in recovering potential additional compensation. Contact a Delaware County car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC for legal representation.
To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call our office at 215-569-8488. We represent clients throughout Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Delaware County and Chester County.