How the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule Can Affect Your Pittsburgh Car Accident Case

How the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule Can Affect Your Pittsburgh Car Accident CaseIf you suffer injuries in a Pittsburgh car accident and file a claim, one of the questions that will probably come up is whether you might be blamed for the crash. If they think that you shared fault in the car accident, this can affect the compensation you might get for your injuries.

Regardless of whether you believe you were at fault or not, you should speak with a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer about your case as soon as possible.

What is modified comparative negligence in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that you can recover damages only if you are 50 percent or less at fault for an accident. Once they determine that you are less than 51 percent at fault for the accident, the amount of money you receive will be reduced by the same amount of your liability. For example, if you are found 35 percent at fault for a crash, your compensation will be reduced by 35 percent. If you are found 51 percent at fault for the accident, you will get zero compensation.

Even if you think that you were at fault for the accident, you should talk to an attorney. You might not know everything that happened to cause the crash, meaning that you share less fault than you think (or it’s not even your fault at all!). If you don’t talk to an attorney, you might not get the money you need to cover your damages from the accident.

What to do if the insurance company refuses to cooperate

Oftentimes, insurance companies will refuse to cooperate or delay the settlement process. The insurance adjuster may investigate the accident and say that you are partially at fault. As a result, they may become difficult to work with. However, the good news is that there are legal professionals who can help. If you hire a lawyer, they can handle talks with the insurance company, show them that you are serious about getting a settlement, and increase your chances of getting compensated for your accident regardless of sharing fault.

Should I admit to my insurance company that I am at fault for the accident?

You should never admit any type of fault to your insurance company, even if you think that you are to blame for the accident. Instead, you should keep the conversations as shortand to the point as possible. Even if you say something as innocent as “I knew I shouldn’t have been looking in that direction,” this could be twisted to show that you were distracted at the time of the accident, which could result in more blame being put on you.

In today’s screen-heavy world, it is also important to remember to avoid making any mistakes on social media. A simple post apologizing, venting about the other driver, or writing about how guilty you feel about the accident could be found by insurance companies and used to say that you are at fault. Your claim could be jeopardized, reducing the amount of compensation you receive.

Can I still file a personal injury lawsuit if there is comparative negligence?

Yes, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit if there is less than 51 percent of comparative negligence. Even if you and the other driver were both 50 percent at fault for the accident, you can still file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.

However, to successfully file a personal injury lawsuit, prove negligence, and minimize your degree of fault, hiring a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney is essential. Once your attorney files a lawsuit on your behalf, they may need to prove negligence by establishing these four elements:

  1. Duty of care: The defendant had a duty to keep you and other road users safe while operating a vehicle and sharing the roads.
  2. Breach: They breached this duty of care by behaving in a reckless or careless manner.
  3. Causation: Their actions directly caused the car accident to occur.
  4. Damages: Due to the accident, you suffered injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

While it is important to prove negligence, you still want to minimize your degree of fault. This can mean more compensation for you. However, it can be extremely difficult to do this on your own, which is why it is critical to have a lawyer by your side. Your attorney can minimize your degree of fault by providing strong evidence and arguments to prove your side of the story. Some evidence your lawyer may use to do this are photos, videos, surveillance footage, police reports, eyewitness statements, expert witness testimonies, and more. As long as your attorney can show that the defendant shares more fault than you do, you have a high chance of getting the money you need.

Do you need help determining or proving fault in a car accident? If so, the Pittsburgh car accident attorneys at Carmody & Ging Injury & Accident Lawyers can help. Our team has the experience and resources needed to help you with the stress of a car crash, and carefully review your car accident case. We know Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence rules and how to get the justice and compensation you deserve. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a meeting at no cost to talk about your case today.