How Do You Decide Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?

How is fault determined in a car accident? Although who is liable is often obvious, determining fault after a car accident is not always an easy task. When there is any doubt as to who is to blame, insurance companies often exploit that doubt to escape from paying car accident injury victims what they owe.

Why Choose Us?

Experience and Results Matter

At Wapner Newman, our experience representing car accident victims is unmatched, as are our results. For decades, we have fought hard to hold insurance companies and negligent parties responsible for the compensation they owed our clients.

When you choose Wapner Newman, you get a firm with:

If you have been in a car accident, you deserve to be represented by a firm with a track record of success and a reputation for caring. At Wapner Newman, we are ready to fight for you and help you get the funds you need for the future.

We are happy to meet and discuss your options for compensation. Call (215) 569-0900 to schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney who will listen and explore your next steps. 

How Our Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

We Handle Everything So You Can Recover in Peace

Our No. 1 goal at Wapner Newman is maximizing the compensation payouts of our clients. We accomplish this goal by diligently managing every aspect of your case and handling every issue that arises, including determining how to decide who is at fault in a car accident.

Some of the tasks we accomplish during the claims process include:

  • Thoroughly investigating your accident
  • Managing all aspects of your paperwork and documents
  • Determining which insurance company should pay you compensation
  • Negotiating with insurance adjusters for a proper settlement
  • Representing you at trial when necessary.

You deserve to have time to heal from your injuries without having to worry about fighting for compensation. Let Wapner Newman fight for you; experience the peace of mind you need during this difficult time.

How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?

Determining fault in car accident cases begins by investigating the circumstances of the crash and analyzing the evidence. The types of evidence your attorney might use in determining fault after a car accident include:

  • Police and accident reports
  • Traffic cam footage
  • Surveillance footage
  • Witness statements
  • Testimony from accident reconstruction experts.

The strength of the evidence is always key when determining how to decide who is at fault in a car accident. The stronger the evidence, the better. In the face of weak or absent evidence, an insurance company or defendant can avoid paying what they owe.

Because of this, car accident injury victims should never delay in speaking with a car accident attorney after their accident. The longer someone waits, the more problems with evidence tend to arise, which ultimately makes determining fault in car accident cases more difficult.

Determining Fault in Car Accident Cases and Seeking Compensation

If you suffer injuries in a car accident, you will most likely be seeking compensation. But before doing so, it is important to understand that Pennsylvania is a choice no-fault insurance state. Choice no-fault means drivers can choose between a no-fault (limited tort) system of insurance or one based on fault (full tort).

Under no-fault rules, drivers who are injured in a car accident will seek compensation from their personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. It also means that the question of fault is irrelevant, at least initially. Benefits from PIP policies are paid out regardless of fault.

On the other hand, drivers who opt for full tort insurance file a claim against the insurance company of the driver who caused them injury. When doing so, the issue of how to decide who is at fault in a car accident becomes paramount.

The differences between the two types of insurance can have a big impact on how much compensation you ultimately get after your accident.

Limited Tort Compensation

Limited tort insurance is cheaper than full tort insurance and for good reason. With limited tort coverage, you have access to less compensation should you suffer an accident.

Limited tort covers only certain economic losses up to the policy limit. These economic or financial losses include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Lost wages (only 80% of your weekly wage is covered under limited tort)
  • Property damage
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
  • Death and funeral benefits.

However, these are not the only losses that you could suffer in a car accident. Typically, car accident victims must also deal with a whole host of non-economic losses. But these are not available with limited tort compensation unless you are seriously injured or there is an exception to limited tort.

Injuries that qualify as serious in this context include:

  • Amputations
  • Permanent disfigurement or scarring
  • Injuries that prevent you from gainful employment
  • Severe impairments, such as blindness or paralysis.

Suffering any of these above-listed injuries means you are no longer bound by limited tort rules and have the option of seeking full compensation. You may also seek full compensation if one of the following exceptions to limited tort applies:

  • The driver who injured you was drunk or on drugs.
  • The driver was driving a car that is registered out of state.
  • The driver intended to hurt you or someone else.
  • The driver lacks insurance.

Keep in mind that you must request limited tort insurance. If not, you will be given full tort insurance as a default. Many experts advise against limited tort. Although it is cheaper, it may not provide you with the compensation you need to weather the consequences of serious injuries.

Full Tort Compensation

With full tort insurance coverage, you have the right to pursue all damages typically available to personal injury victims, including both economic and non-economic damages. In contrast with limited tort insurance, you can seek to recover 100% of your lost income when you seek compensation under full tort insurance rules.

Non-economic damages cover the emotional and psychological losses you experience after an injury, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Discomfort and inconvenience
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disability
  • Loss of consortium.

In some cases, you may also be entitled to seek punitive damages, which are intended to punish a defendant for wanton and reckless behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

We are ready to answer any questions you have about determining fault after a car accident and pursuing compensation. Please peruse the following Q&A and do not hesitate to call our office if you have any further questions.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

You have two years to take legal action from the date of your car accident injury.

How Much Does a Car Accident Attorney Charge?

Our car accident lawyers take cases on a contingency basis, meaning you pay only at the end when we recover money for you. There are no upfront costs to get started.

How Long Will My Car Accident Claim Take to Resolve?

Because every car accident case is unique, how long it takes to resolve your case depends on the circumstances of your case. Although many straightforward compensation claims based on car accidents may be resolved in a few months, some simply take longer because they are more complex.

How Much Money Can I Get for My Car Accident Claim?

How much money you receive for your car accident claim depends heavily on the losses you have suffered as well as whether you have limited or full tort insurance. Under full tort insurance, you can seek economic and non-economic damages for your injuries, whereas under limited tort insurance, you are limited to abridged economic damages only.

What Happens If the Other Driver Is Uninsured? 

If you are harmed by an uninsured motorist, you may find it difficult to collect compensation if you do not carry uninsured motorist coverage. If you have PIP, you can seek compensation for some of your losses. However, to get full compensation against an uninsured driver, you will have to sue them directly, which will likely produce subpar results; uninsured drivers tend to have limited assets and resources.

Do you have more questions? Call Wapner Newman today. An experienced car accident lawyer is ready to provide you with answers.

Contact Wapner Newman Today for Representation

An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Is Ready to Discuss Your Case

If you have been in a car accident and are wondering, “How is fault determined in a car accident?” reach out to Wapner Newman for answers and potential representation. We have represented thousands of injury victims in need of answers and compensation and are ready to meet with you.

Contact our office for a free initial consultation and review of your case. A car accident attorney from our team can explore your options for moving forward. Call (215) 569-0900 today.