Introduction of Pennsylvania Car Accident Laws, Lawyers and Lawsuits
Few states have as many historical and iconic landmarks as Pennsylvania. Some may consider Pennsylvania the birthplace of the United States because of the historical significance of Philadelphia and, more specifically, Independence Hall. Others may remember Pennsylvania because of the character Rocky Balboa’s famous jog through the streets of Philadelphia before his famous fight with the fictional boxer Apollo Creed. Still others may appreciate the foundries and steel mills in and around Pittsburgh. Between Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and other cities scattered across the state’s land, more than 12 million people call Pennsylvania home.
Roads and highways crisscross through Pennsylvania, carrying motorists to and from the Midwest and the East Coast. While this is convenient for many drivers, it also creates prime conditions for car accidents. If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident in Philadelphia, you may need legal assistance to help you in pursuing a claim for monetary damages against the person who caused your accident.
Fatal and Injury Car Crashes in Pennsylvania
Typically speaking, the more people that live within a state, the more fatal and injury car accidents that occur in a given year. Pennsylvania is no different: 1,200 people died in fatal traffic accidents in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This marks the tenth consecutive year in which more than 1,100 people died in fatal car crashes. For 2015, the location of these 1,200 fatalities was about evenly split between urban areas and rural areas. Philadelphia County had the highest number of fatalities (94), and even Lancaster County (famous for its Amish population) had 48 traffic-related fatalities on its roadways.
Many car collisions in Pennsylvania and elsewhere occur because one or more individual motorists are behaving in a careless or reckless manner. Examples of careless or reckless behavior include:
- Driving while talking on the phone, texting, eating, or engaging in any other type of behavior which draws your eyes and your attention away from the roadway;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – even if the drugs are prescribed to you or were legally purchased over the counter;
- Defective parts in your car that make your car’s systems defective (such as a braking system defect or steering system defect);
- Driving in violation of traffic laws and rules;
- Other careless or negligent behavior.
Negligent or careless behavior not only makes it more likely that a car crash will occur, but it may also subject the negligent or careless person to civil liability. It is highly advisable for individuals to drive defensively and avoid engaging in any reckless behavior in order to remain safe on Pennsylvania’s streets.
Pennsylvania May Be a “No Fault” Insurance State
Pennsylvania is one of about twelve states that generally follow a “no fault” policy with regards to insurance, and is one of three states that will allow drivers to choose a “fault based” insurance policy. Under a no fault system, after a crash each driver’s own insurance carrier is responsible for paying for the personal injury damages of their respective client regardless of which driver is responsible for causing the crash. In a more traditional fault based system, the insurance of the individual who caused the crash is responsible for paying for the damages and injuries that person caused. Pennsylvania drivers can choose either a no fault auto insurance policy or a fault based insurance policy depending on their needs and preferences.
Pennsylvania law allows an injury victim who is 50 percent or less responsible for causing the injury accident to pursue a claim of compensation against the at-fault party. If a judge or jury determines that the injury victim is more than 50 percent responsible for causing the accident and/or his or her own injuries, then the victim will not be able to recover any compensation whatsoever.
How to Timely File Your Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawsuit
It is important that your claim for compensation in Pennsylvania be timely filed. This means it must be prepared and submitted to the court within two years of the date of your car crash. Pennsylvania law – 42 Pa. Con. Stat. Sec. 5524 – requires car crash lawsuits to be filed within this time period. Failing to do so can be extremely detrimental to an injury victim’s lawsuit – specifically, violating this law (called a statute of limitations) can be grounds for the court to dismiss the injury victim’s lawsuit without ever reaching the merits of the suit.
Call Stern Law, PLLC for Experienced Counsel and Representation
If you or a loved one were injured in a motor vehicle accident, Stern Law, PLLC is available to assist you in putting the pieces of your life back together. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can evaluate your case, inform you of your legal rights, and assist you in pursuing damages from the party responsible for your injuries. Call our firm today at (844) 808-7529.