Whether you experienced whiplash after a fender-bender or a life-altering disability in a high-speed crash, any injury stemming from an auto wreck could allow you to pursue monetary damages.
If you were seriously injured in a crash and would like to file a civil action against a negligent third party, it may be wise to talk to an Elk County car accident lawyer first. An experienced personal injury attorney in your area could help support you during your case.
The No-Fault Car Insurance System
Pennsylvania adheres to what is known as a “no-fault” car insurance system with regard to medical bills arising from auto accidents. This means that regardless of who caused the crash, your automobile bills will be paid by your own automobile insurance company, until your medical benefits under that policy have exhausted.
State law establishes minimum requirements for how much insurance coverage each licensed driver in the state must carry:
- $5,000 in “medical benefits” coverage, as well as $5,000 for property damage
- $15,000 for injuries caused to a single other person through negligence
- $30,000 for all injures in any one accident stemming from the policyholder’s negligence.
An injured victim may also be entitled to pursue a claim for other losses, such as lost wages, unpaid medical bills, and pain suffering.
Based upon 75 P.S. §1705, car crash victims who have chosen the limited tort option cannot pursue compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, unless one of certain exceptions is met. One exception is met if the victim suffered a “serious injury”. This typically requires showing an impairment of some bodily function. A car crash attorney in your area could offer further clarification about your legal options.
One such exception is if you suffered a “serious injury” as defined by state law.
Determining Liability for a Car Crash
In order hold someone else liable for a car wreck, a victim must prove that the third party was legally negligent and primarily responsible for causing the wreck in question. This entails demonstrating that the defendant violated a duty of care he or she owed to the plaintiff and, in doing so, directly caused the accident that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.
If both the plaintiff and defendant are found partially liable for a wreck, the plaintiff can still recover some compensation as long as he or she was not more than 50 percent at fault. However, any percentage of fault a plaintiff does bear would result in a proportional reduction of his or her recoverable damages. For example, a plaintiff found 25 percent at fault for an accident would only be able to recover for 75 percent of his or her total damages. On the other hand, a plaintiff found 51% at fault could not make any recovery.
Regardless of liability, a car accident case in your community may become time-barred if a plaintiff does not adhere to the applicable statute of limitations. According to 42 P.S. §5524, a plaintiff who waits longer than two years after the date on which his or her injuries occurred before filing suit may be ineligible to recover any compensation at all.
Learn More from an Elk County Car Accident Attorney
The process for recovering car accident compensation can vary depending on the circumstances, including the severity of injuries and damages.
An Elk County car accident lawyer could help you understand your legal options and take full advantage of them both in and out of court. Call today to set up a free initial consultation.