Pursuing a personal injury claim is rarely a simple process. Claims seeking compensation for damages caused by auto accidents tend to be especially complicated in Pennsylvania. State law sets several limits on when injured people can file suit after a crash and what types of compensation they may recover.
Making sense of these regulations and maximizing your recovery is much easier with support from a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer. Whether you want to get the most out of your insurance claim, pursue compensation through a third-party lawsuit, or settle outside of court, a qualified personal injury attorney from Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers can help.
Founding Partner Jon Ostroff is known throughout western Pennsylvania for recovering substantial compensation for auto accident victims. In one previous case filed in Allegheny County, we won $10 million for a driver struck by a truck after running out of gas on I-79, a major PA interstate. Our team of attorneys is ready to help you assess your case and fight for fair compensation on your behalf.
Understanding Auto Insurance Laws
Under Pennsylvania’s “no-fault” system for car accident claims, your first source of insurance coverage for accident-related medical bills must be your own auto insurance policy. If your financial losses exceed your policy limits for your medical coverage, you can file a claim with the at-fault party’s car insurance.
If you are suffering from further economic or non-economic harm, you can file a lawsuit directly against the negligent party. However, you may face certain restrictions on recovery depending on whether you have “full tort” or “limited tort” insurance.
Anyone with full tort insurance can file a lawsuit for non-economic damages. If you have limited tort insurance coverage, you may only be able to file for non-economic damages if you suffer from severe injuries. There are other exceptions to these limited tort restrictions, so it is vital to speak with a seasoned lawyer familiar with motor vehicle accident claims.
Proving Negligence After a Car Crash in Pittsburgh
When you file a car accident lawsuit, you must prove that the at-fault person or entity named in your claim was directly responsible for causing the wreck their own negligence. This involves demonstrating the other party’s negligence through a “preponderance of evidence.” In other words, you must show it is more likely than not that your accident would not have happened if the at-fault party did not act recklessly or carelessly.
In the context of car accidents, negligence usually takes the form of an illegal action like running a red light or driving while intoxicated. However, it can also be something as simple as losing focus on the road. A knowledgeable Pittsburgh attorney can help build a compelling car crash claim based on available evidence.
What Impact Could Comparative Fault Have on Recovery?
Another important aspect of civil law is the modified comparative fault system defined in 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §7102. Under this system, an injured person who is more at fault for their own accident than all the other parties combined is ineligible to recover any compensation.
If you bear a lesser percentage of fault than the defendant(s), the court can reduce your final damage award by that same percentage. For example, if you are 20% at fault for causing a crash, you will only recover 80% of the total damages award. A car wreck lawyer can explain how this system works in greater detail during your initial meeting.
A Pittsburgh Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Achieving a positive outcome to a car accident claim in Pennsylvania can be challenging. Aside from the numerous legal and procedural obstacles you might face, you also have to deal with insurance companies and defense attorneys who know you are unrepresented by counsel and will try to pressure you into accepting a low settlement offer or even dropping your case altogether.
A Pittsburgh car accident lawyer can make all the difference in your ability to secure the compensation you are due. Call Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers today to learn more.