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Does It Matter Who Was At Fault?

Many states have no-fault laws, meaning your right to recover compensation after a car accident does not depend at all on who caused the accident. Pennsylvania is different.

In Pennsylvania, your right to recover compensation after motor vehicle accidents depends, in part, on the decisions you made when you purchased your car insurance.

Under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), every driver in the state is required to purchase insurance to cover their own medical expenses and lost wages in the event of an accident. However, you do have the choice to choose either limited tort or full tort coverage.

If you chose Limited Tort you have limited rights to sue for damages after an accident. You will still be able to obtain reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages, but you will only be able to sue for pain and suffering if you sustained a serious injury.

If your chose Full Tort you have the right to seek compensation for all of your injuries - including pain and suffering - after an accident.

So, How Does Fault Come Into Play?

If you are able to sue the other driver(s) for pain and suffering and additional damages above and beyond your medical expenses and lost wages, fault will be examined. Pennsylvania uses a system called "comparative negligence." When determining the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive, each party's level of fault will be established. In other words, the amount each party's actions contributed to the accident. If you were less than 50 percent at fault, you have the right to recover damages. However, your compensation may be reduced.

For example, if you suffer $100,000 in pain and suffering, and it is determined that you were 30 percent at fault, your damage award may be reduced to $70,000.

Your right to compensation after a car accident depends on a lot of things, your insurance elections, the severity of your injuries, and your level of fault. The best way to maximize your compensation is to work with experienced personal injury attorneys who understand Pennsylvania's laws and will dedicate themselves to your case.

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