Anytime there is a car accident, there is going to be a lot of so-called finger pointing. No one wants to be blamed for a car accident and when there are multiple people and vehicles involved this is even more apparent. However, if you have been involved in an auto accident and have suffered injuries to you or your vehicle, you probably want to know who can be held liable, or who you can file a case against.
Call the Wieand Law Firm to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who is dedicated to helping clients hurt in auto accidents. We understand the serious problems you will face after a collision. That’s why we fight so hard for you. For a free consultation as to your rights after a car accident, call the Wieand Law Firm at 1(800) 481-5206.
Elements of Negligence Cause of Action
Most car accidents and personal injury claims are negligence claims. This is indeed why most car accidents happen; someone was not paying attention and this lead to an accident. The traditional formula for a cause of action in negligence:
- Duty – When a driver gets behind the wheel of a car, he/she has a duty to follow the laws and driver in a reasonable manner.
- Breach of Duty – A driver may breach his duty by driving carelessly or recklessly. An example of a breach of duty would be running a red light.
- Causation – To succeed in a claim for personal injury, you will need to prove that the car accident was the cause of your injuries. A typical defense to personal injury claim is that the accident was not the cause of the injury. For example, if you had a bad back before an accident, you cannot recover for that pain. However, if your injury was aggravated by the accident, you can recover from the new or increased symptoms caused by the accident.
- Damages – You must have suffered damages to file a negligence lawsuit. If you were hit by a car but suffered no physical, mental or economic damages, you cannot be awarded compensation simply because the accident occurred.
However, some car accidents are not the result of a single act, but rather of multiple acts that all come together in an instant and cause an accident. When there are multiple vehicles in an accident this means that there may have been multiple people who all had some degree of negligence.
The Pennsylvania Comparative Negligence Statute
If multiple people are involved in an accident then the jury has the tough task of determining how much at fault each driver was. In all actions brought to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or injury to person or property, the fact that the plaintiff may have been guilty of contributory negligence shall not bar a recovery by the plaintiff or his legal representative where such negligence was not greater than the causal negligence of the defendant or defendants against whom recovery is sought, but any damages sustained by the plaintiff shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff.
Pennsylvania is a Comparative Negligence jurisdiction, which tends to be very plaintiff-friendly. Comparative Negligence means that a plaintiff can be up to 50% responsible for an accident and still collect damages in a Pennsylvania personal injury claim. If a plaintiff is more than 50% responsible for an accident, the plaintiff is not able to recover compensation for his or her accident expenses.
Two Year Statute of Limitations
All states limit the time you have to file a claim for injuries after an accident occurs. With limited exceptions, in Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations on negligence and wrongful death actions is two years. If you do not file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations you will lose your right to file a lawsuit. Even though two years may seem like a long time, you should not wait to consult with a lawyer if you are injured in a car accident. It takes time to investigate an accident and file a claim. Call an experienced Philadelphia auto accident injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident so he/she can investigate your claim and begin preserving evidence for litigation.
Injured in a Multi-Vehicle Accident? Call a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
To discuss your vehicle accident claim call Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Brent Wieand of the Wieand Law Firm today at 1(800) 481-5206 or fill out a description of your claim in the online contact form.